(AP) New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday postponed the resumption of indoor dining.
Murphy said he acted because of a lack of compliance over the use of face masks and social distancing as the coronavirus outbreak continues to rage in many parts of the country. Indoor dining was originally set to begin on July 2.
Murphy cited the spike in other states as well as reports in New Jersey of people not correctly wearing, or failing to wear, face masks as well as maintain distance.
“Unfortunately the national scene compounded by instances of knucklehead behavior here at home are requiring us to hit pause on the restart of indoor dining for the foreseeable future,” he said. Asked about a time frame, he replied, “I don’t think it’s a matter of days, but a matter of weeks. We have enormous sympathy but the alternative here is worse and unacceptable.”
NJ aquariums, libraries, museums to reopen
Aquariums, libraries, museums, water parks, playgrounds, and some indoor recreation were scheduled reopen from their coronavirus pause July 2, Murphy said last week. Masks will be required and capacity must be limited to 25%.
The indoor recreation businesses cleared to reopen are bowling alleys, batting cages and arcades, the governor said, though they must also limit capacity to a quarter and require masks for patrons and workers. Gyms and fitness centers were set to reopen July 2, but only for individual training sessions, he said. Murphy also said New Jersey Transit’s rail and light rail will resume weekday service July 6. New Jersey’s indoor shopping malls reopened on June 29.
Murphy’s announcements came the same day the Democratic governors of New York and Connecticut joined him to require people traveling to those states from others with high coronavirus rates to isolate for two weeks. Anyone coming from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington will have to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in New Jersey.
Technical problem delays MVC reopening
The resumption of some in-person transactions at New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission offices will now be delayed until to July 7 due to a problem with a new text message system that’s intended to prevent overcrowding.
However, student driver road tests resumed Monday as planned, and inspection stations will also reopened that day.
MVC officials had planned to resume the in-person transactions on Monday as well, but an unspecified technical issue with the new texting system forced a delay. The system will allow customers to check in and then leave those offices until they get an alert to return and complete their transactions.
Officials also announced that MVC agencies will be closed on Mondays during July so they can perform health and safety assessments of facilities following each week of expanded activity. Capacity in agencies has been cut by as much as two-thirds to allow for social distancing.
Transactions that can be done online will not be available in person until further notice, officials said.