Senate Majority Conference Leader Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) has joined the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association in calling on Gov. Murphy to immediately lift the statewide prohibition on outdoor commercial dining and issue a concrete roadmap toward permitting indoor dining within the coming weeks.
“I stand with all the restaurateurs today who are making their voices heard. Out of respect in making sure this press conference by restaurants stays non-political, I will not attend but am issuing my strong support in this statement.
“New Jersey’s restaurant industry has worked hard to promote social distancing in their kitchens, design plans for reopening, and find new ways to keep staff and customers safe from COVID-19. As the Governor’s recent executive order expanding outdoor gatherings shows, and as broad amounts of medical data have indicated, this virus is far less dangerous when it’s not confined by four walls and a ceiling. New Jersey is making real, measurable progress on expanding testing and implementing contact tracing, and once we lift the ban on outdoor dining, I strongly believe that we can keep our infection curve flattened by keeping clear social distancing safeguards in place.
“Hundreds of restaurants have already gone out of business, and it is clear that we must make real, swift moves forward to allow those remaining to open up before it’s too late. These small businesses deserve our support and guidance, and we cannot afford to let them wait any longer. I’ve previously called for municipalities to provide additional room for customers by allowing restaurants to use public spaces for outdoor dining; with the proper precautions, outdoor dining is one of our lowest-risk opportunities for reopening. Governor Murphy and the Department of Health have done important, life-saving work to break the back of this virus, but with New Jersey’s curve flattened and a robust testing apparatus in place, it is time for us to look toward recovery where it is safe to do so.”