Daily News: MANHATTAN, New York – New Jersey residents are heading inside just in time for Labour Day weekend.
Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday that indoor dining, movie theaters and other “performance venues” will reopen Friday, a major step forward from the coronavirus lockdown.
Restaurants can open at 25 percent capacity with social distancing between tables and a maximum of eight-person parties. Masks will also be required before and after eating.
Diners will also have to provide their phone number in case officials need to do contact tracing.
Movie theaters will also be restricted to 25 percent capacity or a maximum of 150 people, per showing.
The summer’s blockbuster, Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” is scheduled to open in theaters this weekend.
“Reopening responsibly will help us restore one of our state’s key industries while continuing to make progress against COVID-19,” Murphy tweeted.
Indoor dining was initially supposed to reopen in early July, but Murphy stopped the plans after a spike in coronavirus cases.
More than 190,000 New Jersey residents have tested positive for coronavirus so far, with at least 1,780 deaths, but numbers have continued dropping steadily.
Gyms and indoor amusement parks were reopened Sunday.
Much of New York state has already reopened for indoor dining, but not New York City, where Mayor de Blasio has been reluctant to invite people to eat inside.
Governor Cuomo said Monday that his office is still “calibrating” the situation, the same phrasing he used last week.
“I want as much economic activity as quickly as possible. We also want to make sure the transmission rate stays under control,” he told reporters.
NYC Hospitality Alliance, a non-profit representing restaurant and nightlife establishments across the boroughs, said Monday that New York City is being “locked out from participating (in indoor dining) at significant economic peril.”
“The situation is at a boiling point and our government leaders must immediately develop a plan to reopen indoor dining across the five boroughs, like what’s been provided to restaurants throughout the rest of the state,” executive director Andrew Rigie said in a statement.
“Otherwise, our city’s economic crisis will reach a point it cannot come back from, with thousands of more restaurants permanently closing and likely more lawsuits filed against the government.”