TRENTON, NJ — Garden State eateries continuing to hurt because of COVID-19 will get further relief June 15 when the state will begin allowing for in-person outdoor dining.

Gov. Phil Murphy, in announcing the executive order Wednesday, said he himself has a reservation for June 15 although he didn’t say where.

“I hope folks with some confidence feel they can get out door and partake and help out our restaurants,” Murphy said at the daily coronavirus press briefing in Trenton. 

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It won’t be business as usual, however.

Restaurants and bars will be required to place tables six feet apart and follow safety and sanitization protocols the NJ Department of Health expects to issue guidance for by end of the day Wednesday. Earlier in the week, Murphy alluded to other restrictions like limited capacity, face masks and gloves for staff and paper menus.

To further ease the transition for business owners, per municipal approval, establishments will be allowed to “expand their footprint” to sidewalks, streets and parks. Moreover, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control will make available a one-time permit to expand premises of services that will be in effect until at least mid-November. 

In-door gatherings remain at a 10-person cap, although as of last week groups of up to 25 were allowed to congregate outdoors.

Numbers continue to wane in the state of 9 million, as Phase 2 of a six-point recovery initiative gets underway.

“I am proud that we are able to take this step to get our restart and recovery moving to the next stage,” the governor said.

Today, 652 more positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed (162,068) and 112 additional deaths (11,880).

Murphy acknowledged at the end of the press conference that further guidance is owed on swimming pools.

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