If you can’t eat or drink inside a restaurant this holiday weekend, don’t blame the knuckleheads. Phil Murphy clarified that on Thursday.
We take the governor at his word, but in truth, a few days ago he said, or at least suggested, something else. It was on Monday when Murphy used his regular briefing to say he was delaying plans to allow indoor dining with restrictions beginning July 2.
At the time, the governor spoke of irresponsible behavior at some restaurants that have been open for outdoor dining since June 15. He talked about overcrowded bars and no social distancing. And he even showed that infamous photo of the very congested pool in the Ozarks over Memorial Day weekend. His point seemed clear – he was pausing the reopening because of what he likes to call knucklehead behavior.
Turns out it wasn’t that clear at all.
The governor said on Thursday that the pause in indoor dining was driven by two factors not directly related to poor behavior.
One is that the virus is more lethal indoors.
The other is, “look what’s happening in other states” that reopened indoor dining weeks ago. We know the answer; the virus is spiking.
Now, the governor did say he still has no patience with knucklehead behavior, but that was not the determining factor in delaying indoor dining.
He also admitted that he had gotten some criticism from those who thought the indoor dining pause was because of a few bad apples. Not the case, the governor said on Thursday.
Now that we got that straight – presumably – it is worth mentioning that Murphy said that flags in New Jersey can be raised to their normal height this weekend in honor of the Fourth of July.
They’ve been at half-staff for 90 days to honor the more than 13,000 New Jerseyans lost to COVID-19.
But Murphy said he wants the flag flown high to symbolize the nation’s birthday and “rebirth.”
But he said raising the flag should not be construed to mean the pandemic is over.
“This is not a moment of closure,” the governor said.