TRENTON, NJ — The state has stopped Asbury Park for now from allowing indoor dining at food and drink establishments beginning June 15.
Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy on June 12 granted the state's request for preliminary injunction relief against the city for its decision to allow indoor dining — in violation of executive orders imposed by Gov. Phil Murphy, who earlier spoke on the issue at his daily press briefing.
“We have worked with the governing body of Asbury Park to try to amicably resolve the issue of their resolution regarding indoor dining. Unfortunately, they have not done so,” Murphy said during his June 12 press briefing. “"We have one set of rules, and they are based on one principle and that is ensuring public health."
In response to the judge’s temporary injunction, Asbury Park officials are advising businesses not to open indoors because it would violate the court order and could jeopardize liquor licenses, and subject violators to fines and other penalties from the state. The next court date is scheduled for July 10.
Outdoor dining will begin as planned starting on Monday — as it will throughout New Jersey with state-imposed restrictions.
“We hope our position will encourage the State of New Jersey to outline guidelines for indoor dining in the upcoming weeks. We invite Gov. Murphy to our city next week to meet with the local restaurant community and discuss alternate opportunities to support these businesses who rely heavily on the summer months, according to a press release posted on its Facebook page.
The Asbury Park Council on June 10 voted to permit city restaurants and bars who are struggling to survive under coronavirus constraints to open their doors — at capacity and other limits set by the state for indoor gatherings.
While New Jersey’s transmission rates continue to show positive steps toward recovery, with fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for 14 consecutive days, Murphy warned that attempts to usurp the state's multiphase reopening plan could spell disaster.
“There is just no question that this virus is multiples more lethal inside than outside, the evidence is overwhelming,” he said at the press briefing. “When you add to that lack of ventilation, sedentary close proximity — there’s a method to what we’re doing here folks.”
Murphy said on June 11 that although he understands the economic pressures small businesses are facing, particularly in beach towns that rely on the summer months for most of their yearly revenue, his primary concern is preventing a second wave and start the cycle over again.
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