Neptune City Prepares for Outdoor Dining

By PETE WALTON

The Neptune City Borough Council has cleared the way for the conditional reopening of restaurants for outdoor dining.

By unanimous vote at a special meeting earlier this week, the council allowed restaurants which are not usually permitted to offer outside dining to do so as long as they comply with state guidelines and obtain all required permits.

Mayor Andrew Wardell said restaurants will be able to use parking lots for tables to provide outdoor seating.

“They’re trying to recoup what they’ve lost,” Wardell said.

Restaurants which serve alcohol will have to apply to the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control for a special permit to operate under temporary conditions.

Borough Clerk Tammy Brown said the ABC has already contacted restaurants to advise them about what they need to do to comply with the new state guidelines.

Borough Administrator Chris Cherbini said Neptune City Chief of Police Matthew Quagliato or his designee will enforce whatever conditions are imposed by the state or under the new municipal policy.

Brown said she is mailing the restaurants information concerning the procedures. Cherbini said the borough paperwork will be available on the recently redesigned Neptune City web site.

The borough clerk said that the ABC has already extended liquor licenses which were scheduled to expire this summer through the end of September.

State guidelines require the posting of signs that no one with a fever or symptoms of the virus should enter. Seating is limited to eight customers per table, with tables set six feet apart. There will be no buffets, salad bars or self-service drink stations.

All tables, chairs and shared items such as menus, condiments and pens are to be disinfected after each use. Frequent sanitization is required at high-touch areas such as credit card machines, keypads and counters. Partitions are to be installed at cash registers, bars and host stands. Six feet of physical distance is required between workers and customers, except at the moment of payment and when employees are servicing the table.

Customers are required to provide a telephone number if making a reservation to facilitate contact tracing. Patrons will be asked to stay in their cars while waiting for a table if the outdoor area cannot accommodate social distancing. Customers should be alerted via calls or texts to limit touching and the use of shared objects such as pagers and buzzers.

Persons who need to enter the indoor portion of an establishment must wear a face covering except for medical reasons or if the person is a child under two years of age.

Also at the special meeting, the council approved by a 6-0 vote an agreement with Monmouth County to receive federal reimbursement for expenses incurred because of the coronavirus fight.

Cherbini said the reimbursement will come in three phases. The initial payment of $11,000 will include $7,000 for cleaning costs and $4,000 for personal protective equipment.

The administrator said required coronavirus cleaning twice a day costs the borough $2,400 every two weeks. Cherbini expects the frequency of cleaning to be cut back over the coming weeks.

The council is on its summer meeting schedule with the next meeting set for Mon., June 22 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be accessible online and by phone.

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