RARITAN TWP., N.J. – The Raritan Township Committee has unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow for outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic – but the catch is the ordinance won’t be effective until Murphy signs an executive order that allows for outdoor dining to resume.

Under the ordinance, a section of the Township Land Development Code would be waived to allow for outdoor tables, chairs, umbrellas, and benches for food establishments and bars.  The furniture would be permitted on private property and sidewalks adjacent to establishments through the during the pandemic.

Mayor Jeff Kuhl said during the committee’s May 19 meeting that Raritan is one of the first municipalities in the state to pass such a measure.

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“A lot of people are doing the same thing now,” he said.

Committeeman Gary Hazard praised the ordinance as “very forward looking,” and said he believes residents, restaurants and their employees will appreciate it. Citing the hardships businesses have faced during the pandemic, he suggested the $50 permit fee be waved. The suggestion was accepted unanimously by the committee and the ordinance was amended.

This was the first committee meeting held since March where all members were together in the chamber.  Social distancing guidelines were observed as some members sat at tables across from the dais where they normally would be seated.

The public was able to access the meeting through the same teleconference platform the committee has been using to conduct its meetings over the last couple of months.