Citing too speedy and too seemingly cavalier behaviors as squirmy, cabin fever-beset New Jerseyans emerge into daylight with greater frequency, Governor Phil Muphy this afternoon hit pause on the resumption of indoor dining.
“We do not wish New Jersey to see a similar spike,” he said, referring to COVID-19 surges in other states.
Thursday was supposed to be the reopen date for indoor dining.
It won’t happen.
“Under our revised plan indoor dining will now be set to resume at a later date, to be determined,” said Murphy, who noted that dining is a sedentary activity. Indoors presents to many opportunities in cramped spaces for the virus to breed.
“We do not believe it is prudent to proceed,” said the governor. “This virus moves differently indoors than out, which makes it more deadly.We have seen spikes in other states in part due to indoor dining.”
Murphy sounded grim and a little subdued as he delivered the news, wearily referencing weekend scenes of revelers crowding outdoor dining spaces without masks and in defiance of social distancing constraints.
“We have all seen the scenes,” he said. “Certainly, we reconize there are many more establishments who have been responsible. …But other scenes cannot continue and we cannot move forward unless there is complete compliance.” The carelessness of one establishment can undo the good work done, he added.
So “The national situation compounded by knucklehead behavior here at home compels us to hit pause.”
The governor said overall the state continues to trend in the right direction, after weathering a brutal COVID-19 surge that has left a total 13,138 dead. New Jersey now has 1,000 people in hospitals due to the coronavirus, and 200 on ventilators.
He reported 18 more deaths today.
“This war is not over. We are still fighting it. We have to keep pulling together. We have to keep up our best practices,” Murphy said.
A reporter asked the governor about whether he had himself dined indoors, which prompted him to nearly rise out of his chair. “Not only have I not eaten indoors, other than in my house… we sat in the driving rain [Saturday night] and I ruined everything in my pockets, including my wallet, which I have cherished for many years.”