With new cases of coronavirus surging in New Jersey, the health department revised its guidelines for restaurants, bars, and indoor sports.
According to Gov. Phil Murphy’s emergency order, which went into effect on Nov. 12, all restaurants, bars, clubs, and lounges that serve food and drink must close their indoor premises by 10 p.m. each day and remain closed until at least 5 a.m. the following day. Outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery services may continue past 10 p.m.
Food and beverage establishments are no longer be permitted to provide bar seating to customers. Standing in the bar area is also prohibited. Tables must be at least six feet away from the bar.
Occupied tables should be six feet apart in all directions from other occupied tables. Where this distance is not feasible, establishments must put up physical barriers, from five to six feet high, between tables. The barriers must not be within 18 inches of a sprinkler head or block emergency or fire exits.
Barriers may be made of plexiglass or other non-porous material. They must not restrict air flow throughout the restaurant.
Establishments must continue to limit the number of patrons in indoor areas to 25 percent of capacity, excluding employees.
Structures, such as domes, may be used for outdoor dining. No more than eight people are permitted to dine together at a time. The structure should be ventilated for at least 15 minutes and cleaned and sanitized between seatings.
As of 5 a.m. on Nov. 12, indoor interstate youth sports competitions – including those operated by schools, clubs, and recreational programs — are suspended in New Jersey.
The suspension applies to sports across all risk levels. Collegiate and professional sports are not affected.
Those engaging in sports must cooperate with local health departments on contact tracing, according to the updated guidance. Coaching staff must enforce social distancing and masking. Athletes must remain six feet apart when seated on the bench or on the sidelines. Masking and social distancing requirements also apply to spectators.
Athletes, coaches, parents and others who test positive for COVID-19 or were told to quarantine after exposure must follow instructions from their local public health department.
“We know the risk of COVID-19 infections is already higher in indoor settings. With COVID-19 cases growing in New Jersey and throughout the country, we must work to minimize the spread of the virus here as much as possible,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “In addition, contact tracing is a primary tool in our efforts to combat the virus, and it is incumbent on all New Jerseyans to answer the call and share their contacts to help protect their families, friends and communities.”