Murphy Says He has No Plans to Close Indoor Dining

Three peas in a pod: Murphy, Coughlin and Sweeney.

What better place for the latest news than the barbershop?

And at Walt’s Barbershop in Flanders over the weekend, the discussion was about whether the governor would once again shut down indoor dining.

“Murphy usually follows Cuomo,” said one man. And Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, just shut down indoor dining in New York City.  Left unsaid was the fact indoor dining also has been shut down – at least until Jan. 4 – in Pennsylvania.

Notwithstanding a perceived need for unity, Gov. Phil Murphy said again today that he has no plans to close indoor dining in New Jersey, which began in early September at 25 percent capacity.

Reiterating a previous position, the governor asked himself if state officials are seeing any evidence that indoor dining is causing the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

“The answer is we don’t,” the governor said, replying to his own question.

Further explaining, Murphy said, “We’re not going to do something that makes us feel good if we don’t have data to support it.”

One understood his point, but in truth, closing indoor dining is unlikely to make anyone feel good.

He agreed with a need for a common front with New York and Pennsylvania, but said, “that does not mean we move in lockstep.”

So, indoor dining in New Jersey, albeit with limited capacity, will continue. You figure this could be great news for struggling Garden State restaurants, especially for those located right across the river from Manhattan and Pennsylvania.

But all the news was not great.

Murphy said a federal stimulus is still needed and that the 10 p.m. curfew for indoor dining and drinking will remain – even on New Year’s Eve.

“I don’t see it,” the governor said, referring to suspending closing time for one night.

“You’ve got to stay small for the holidays,” he said, dumping cold water on large bashes to begin with.

On a more upbeat note, the governor was excited about plans tomorrow to administer the first batch of the COVID vaccine to health care workers.

This, of course, is only the beginning, but that didn’t stop Murphy from proclaiming tomorrow “as a day of hope and optimism.”

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