New Jersey senator wants an increase in indoor dining capacity

A view of the sign for The Metuchen Inn, a popular eatery in Metuchen, N.J., in October 2017.
A view of the sign for The Metuchen Inn, a popular eatery in Metuchen, N.J., in October 2017. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

A New Jersey state senator wants Gov. Phil Murphy to increase the capacity limit on indoor dining to 66 percent, and he wants the change immediately.

“We’ve been months behind surrounding states reopening indoor dining and our economy has suffered greatly for it,” state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, said in a statement. “At this point, we are facing our first ‘colder’ weekend with only 25% indoor dining allowed.

“The Governor said it would be 10 days before they could determine the impact from our Labor Day weekend reopening,” O’Scanlon added. “Well, here we are twelve days later and no significant increase in cases or RT. We need to go to 66% indoor dining immediately. Without doing so we’ll just see yet another weekend pass – this one with chilly weather – and dozens of businesses fall victim to the Governor’s Timidity Tax.”

Meanwhile, in neighboring New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced indoor dining in New York City will be allowed to resume starting Sept. 30 with a 25 percent occupancy limit.

“The New York City restaurant industry has been financially devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a safe return to indoor dining is critical to help save these vital small businesses and jobs,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said in a recent news release.

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