Customers order to-go drinks outside a restaurant in New Jersey. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that the state will indefinitely postpone indoor dining — originally set to resume Thursday — as coronavirus cases surge in states that moved quickly to reopen their economies.
What he's saying: "We have been cautious throughout every step of our restart," Murphy said. "We’ve always said that we would not hesitate to hit pause if needed to safeguard public health. This is one of those times."
- "We’re also moved to pause indoor dining because of what we’ve seen in some establishments across the state," he continued. "Overcrowding. A complete disregard for social distancing. Very few, IF ANY, face coverings. The scenes we see in our newspapers and on social media CANNOT CONTINUE."
- "The carelessness of one establishment can completely undo the good work of many others. We will not tolerate outlier bars and restaurants – and, frankly, patrons – who think the rules don’t apply to them. They are the ones who ruin it for everyone else."
The big picture: As new infections surge in states around the country, Texas and Florida — two of the new hotspots — have reversed reopening guidelines centered around bars and restaurants.
- This is in part because the number of new infections in young people has increased significantly.
- Indoor dining has been shown to pose more risks compared to restaurants with outdoor seating.
Earlier Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will decide Wednesday whether to halt the reopening of indoor dining in New York City.
- "One of the issues we're working on in New York, indoor dining has shown that it has been problematic. That a virus spreads in closed, indoor areas that have air-conditioned systems. We know that indoor dining has been problematic," Cuomo said at a press conference.
By the numbers: New Jersey was one of the original hubs of the coronavirus in the U.S., but successfully flattened its curve after months of restrictions.
- The state is now reporting a seven-day moving average of around 350 daily new cases, compared to a peak of nearly 3,700 in April.
- As of Sunday, New Jersey reported 978 coronavirus hospitalizations and 225 patients in either critical or intensive care.