As COVID-19 continues to affect everyday lives, cities are doing their best to adapt and come up with innovative ways to support local businesses and keep residents safe. On February 3rd, Jersey City Mayor Fulop and Hoboken Mayor Bhalla released the following joint statement regarding the restaurant and bar curfew as well as other things to note about COVID-19 regulation, followed by updates from Governor Murphy:
“Based on guidance provided by Governor Murphy and the State of New Jersey, we have made the joint decision to allow bars and restaurants to operate during normal, regular business hours without a local curfew. Businesses must continue to follow the capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements put forward by the State. We trust that if Governor Murphy believed a curfew was necessary, it would still be in effect. But a recent analysis from our health departments, as well as information provided by the New Jersey Health Department, suggests that a curfew at this time may no longer be necessary. This time around, we believe that a coordinated regional approach is the best way to implement safety measures, when necessary. Our public safety officers and City staff will be aggressively monitoring all bars and restaurants during overnight hours to ensure COVID-19 safety precautions are being taken at all times. If not followed, any bar or restaurant will be subject to immediate penalties, including but not limited to closure. We thank the large majority of business owners for continuing to take the necessary precautions to keep our residents and visitors safe when patronizing their establishment.”
The statement explains that there will no longer be a curfew in place for Hoboken and Jersey City restaurants and bars, as they feel that the recent analysis’ from both the Hoboken and Jersey City health departments show that it is not necessary.
However, on February 4th, Governor Murphy updated the following regulations:
- Normal hours of operation can begin on Friday, February 5 according to Executive Order 219.
- The prohibition on seating at indoor bar areas will remain in effect, as it creates the danger of close and prolonged proximity between patrons, bartenders, and servers.
- Indoor dining capacity is expanded to 35%
- All other rules, regulations, and safety measures remain in effect.
With this, the city officials are expecting these local establishments to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols that are in place and if they are not, they can expect to see “immediate penalties including being shut down and being fined,” according to the press release.