NJ expands definition of 'outdoor dining' to include establishments with two open sides

New Jersey has expanded its definition of "outdoor dining" in order to allow more restaurants to reopen for in-person service.

Areas of restaurants with at least two open sides are now considered outdoor, including in establishments with fixed roofs.

Governor Murphy says at least half of the wall space must be able to open in order to be considered outdoor dining.

"I'm pleased that many of our peer states are following our lead in pushing back the resumption of indoor dining. We have made many difficult decisions based on the metrics and public health guidelines and this certainly was one of the most difficult," Murphy said during his press conference on Wednesday. "I have nothing but sympathy for the businesses and employees impacted, but we are just not ready to open indoor dining."

During the same press conference, Murphy formally announced that he had signed an executive order requiring masks or face coverings be worn both indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

In a tweet, Murphy laid out the exceptions to the mask requirement which include:

  • Children under two-years-old 
  • While eating at outdoor establishments
  • When wearing a mask would inhibit health or safety

The mask requirement order would also come just a day after New Jersey added three more states to their mandatory self-quarantine list, including Delaware. People who have traveled to or from 19 states are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in New Jersey.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut had previously restricted access to travelers from 16 states including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. Kansas and Oklahoma were also added to the list on Tuesday. 

Earlier this week Murphy said the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in New Jersey had exceeded 1.0 for the first time in a month and a half. That’s the average number of people infected by each infectious person.




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