TRENTON, NJ — Although he planned to loosen restrictions on indoor dining in New Jersey on July 2, Governor Phil Murphy announced at his daily COVID-19 press briefing today that he will delay the reopening.
“After coronavirus spikes in other states driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining, we have decided to postpone indoor dining indefinitely,’” he said during his June 29 briefing.
"We have been cautious throughout every step of our restart. We’ve always said that we would not hesitate to hit pause if needed to safeguard public health. This is one of those times," he said. “We have enormous sympathy but the alternative is worse.”
In response, Jon Bramnick, Republican minority leader in the New Jersey State Assembly, criticized the governor for not consulting with the Legislature before making his decision. "I am very disappointed that the governor without any consultation of the elected legislature stopped reopening of indoor dining scheduled for this Thursday," he said. "This should not be decided by one person. No transparency, no discussion and no debate."
Murphy noted the state’s rate of transmission of COVID-19 has increased — as predicted — since more businesses and activities have returned, climbing from 0.70 from the beginning of Stage 2 to 0.86 on June 25.
With 329 new cases per day — or four new cases for every 100,000 residents — the state is also losing ground in terms of its national ranking in this category, he said. New Jersey now ranks 39th, falling from 42nd place.
New Jersey reported 156 positive cases of the coronavirus on June 29, bringing its total to 171,272. Deaths climbed to 12,138 with the addition of 18 more lives claimed by the virus.
Below is the video of Gov. Murphy’s June 29 briefing: