TRENTON, NJ — Although he planned to loosen restrictions on indoor dining in New Jersey on July 2, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that he will delay the reopening. He provided no timetable of when indoor dining — even at reduced capacity — would resume.

Murphy pointed to packed crowds at outdoor bars and restaurants — with people not wearing masks and ignoring social distancing — as reasons for postponing the return of indoor dining indefinitely, under Executive Order 158.

The order also applies to wedding venues and banquet facilities, and prohibits the consumption of food or beverages on casino gaming floors. 

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"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. After COVID-19 spikes in other states driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining, we have decided to postpone indoor dining indefinitely," said Murphy, during his June 29 press briefing.

"We have enormous sympathy (for small business owners) but the alternative is worse," Murphy said, shortly before reporting 18 new coronavrius-related deaths and downward trends of key measures. "Keeping up the fight is even more important now to prevent us from backsliding."

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 via Twitter. "This should not be decided by one person. No transparency, no discussion and no debate."

Click here for Executive Order 158. 

Click here for the Department of Health’s updated executive directive for restaurants.

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.

Monmouth County reported, as of June 29, 10 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County, bringing the total to 9,249. There were no new deaths, keeping the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in Monmouth County at 712.

The breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by municipality is as follows:

  • Aberdeen: 246
  • Allenhurst: 8
  • Allentown: 9
  • Asbury Park: 314
  • Atlantic Highlands: 36
  • Avon-by-the-Sea: 12
  • Belmar: 44  (Belmar officials reported there are 10 current cases after recoveries and individuals who live in other municipalities but share the Belmar 07719 zip code were removed from the borough’s total.)
  • Bradley Beach: 59
  • Brielle: 36
  • Colts Neck: 85
  • Deal: 37
  • Eatontown: 303
  • Englishtown: 49
  • Fair Haven: 29
  • Farmingdale: 13
  • Freehold Borough: 417
  • Freehold Township: 695
  • Hazlet: 338
  • Highlands: 33
  • Holmdel: 312
  • Howell: 677
  • Interlaken: 4
  • Keansburg: 199
  • Keyport: 103
  • Lake Como: 17
  • Little Silver: 40
  • Loch Arbour: 1
  • Long Branch: 625
  • Manalapan: 497
  • Manasquan: 36
  • Marlboro: 499
  • Matawan: 211
  • Middletown: 752
  • Millstone Township: 88
  • Monmouth Beach: 21
  • Neptune City: 66
  • Neptune Township: 625
  • Ocean: 363
  • Oceanport: 66
  • Red Bank: 255
  • Roosevelt: 7
  • Rumson: 45
  • Sea Bright: 12
  • Sea Girt: 15
  • Shrewsbury Borough: 57
  • Shrewsbury Township: 11
  • Spring Lake: 19
  • Spring Lake Heights: 24
  • Tinton Falls: 228
  • Union Beach: 49
  • Upper Freehold: 66
  • Wall: 411
  • West Long Branch: 75
  • Unknown: 10

Below is the video of Gov. Murphy’s June 29 briefing:

 

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