NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Restaurants will be allowed to expand their sidewalk dining areas and use up to half their parking spaces for socially distanced outdoor seating under an executive order signed by Mayor Jim Cahill on Thursday.
Also, serving stations and a host podium may be located within an outdoor or sidewalk seating area provided a plexiglass or similar partition is used, according to the order.
The executive order is a 29-point list of guidelines for restaurant owners to follow.
It comes after Gov. Phil Murphy announced the resumption of outdoor dining as part of Stage 2 in the reopening of New Jersey.
Murphy’s call to resume outdoor dining on June 15 comes with myriad health and safety protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemics.
According to the most recent date released by Middlesex County officials, 1,707 New Brunswick residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and the death toll is up to 69.
Under Murphy’s order, tables must be kept 6 feet apart, up to eight people can sit at a table and face coverings are to be worn by customers when they are away from their table.
Cahill’s executive order further clarifies what the outdoor dining experience at your favorite steakhouse, café or greasy spoon will look like in the city come Monday morning.
Some of the highlights include:
- Food or beverage establishments seeking permission to use a sidewalk or outdoor area for customer seating are required to file an application with the city. The application requirement for notarization is waived.
- The zoning permit fees for sidewalk dining sketch review and the fees for each table used for sidewalk dining otherwise required are waived for the remainder of the year.
- Liquor license fees will not be waived but will be collected in compliance with the extension issued by the state as directed by the City Clerk's Office.
- With the exception of Easton Avenue and Somerset Street, restaurants and taverns may enter into an agreement with the New Brunswick Parking Authority to use metered parking spaces for outdoor seating space.
- The New Brunswick Parking Authority may arrange to provide access to their facilities for the use of outdoor seating for restaurants and taverns.
A spokesman for the Mayor’s Office said the city sent letter to restaurant owners last week seeking their input on rules and regulations for outdoor dining.
“We’ve talked to dozens, if not more than a hundred of our taverns and restaurants in the city of New Brunswick to find what it is they are looking for from the city of New Brunswick to help them operate,” Cahill said Wednesday’s during his daily podcast. “So, we have drafted up our guidelines for operation to allow them to do the best they possibly can, maintaining some flexibility, but of course having some restrictions in place.”