HOBOKEN - UPDATED at 7:35 p.m. A bar/restaurant along the Hoboken Waterfront was issued a citation on Wednesday, as scrutiny of hospitality venues continues during New Jersey's reopening process.
“A manager at Ainsworth was cited for the restaurant violating the State’s orders due to patrons dining indoors," said Vijay Chaudhuri, spokesman for the City of Hoboken. "Ainsworth was also provided a written warning by the Office of Emergency Management for social distancing violations as per Mayor Bhalla’s recent Executive Order and the next violation will subject the business to the revocation of its outdoor sidewalk café.”
Ainsworth Hoboken is located at 310 Sinatra Drive, along the city's scenic Hudson River Waterfront. Hoboken's world-famous hospitality industry was given the green light for socially distant outdoor dining on June 15, after a three-month closure. Earlier this week, the City announced tighter rules and outlined consequences.
The incident was mentioned in Governor Murphy's daily press briefing on Thursday. Ainsworth Hoboken did not respond to our phone call Thursday afternoon.
UPDATE: A second venue, Washington Street's Madd Hatter, was also served with a warning by the Office of Emergency Management for violating the Executive Order and a failure to maintain social distancing protocols. Their next violation may result in the removal of their sidewalk café.
"While there are a select few businesses that have not been successfully implementing social distancing and crowd control outside their businesses (as required by the Executive Order I signed earlier this week) and have received written warnings from the Office of Emergency Management and citations from the Hoboken Police Department, I want to thank many Hoboken establishments for taking these rules seriously," said Mayor Ravi Bhalla earlier today. "In particular, the Shepherd and the Knucklehead posted these regulations (requiring masks for everyone waiting in line and prohibiting “to go” drinks from being consumed in line) for everyone to see and actively enforced it this week. I appreciate the understanding from the many small business owners who I know are taking the necessary precautions to keep us all safe."
Per the new regulations, the Office of Emergency Management, Zoning Office, and Police Department are directed to initially provide a verbal warning. Should conditions persist, that warning will be followed by a written warning. If compliance is still not met after the verbal and written warning and a violation is issued, the establishment may have their outdoor sidewalk café revoked for a period of time to be determined by the enforcing department. The warning can also take the part of a ticket issued by the Police Department for the public consumption of alcohol on an establishment’s property.
Bars and restaurants in the Mile Square City were among the first to in the nation to be lcoked down due to COVID-19. In doing so, Hoboken became “the model” for the regional response to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Hoboken continues to work with hospitality venues via its Economic Recovery Task Force, to create and optimize new and existing outdoor spaces throughout the City as bars and restaurants adjust to the evolving regulations.
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