NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council approved a resolution to extend outdoor dining availability for borough restaurants at its Monday, Oct. 26 Zoom meeting. Initially the council had relaxed outdoor dining regulations in May after Governor Phil Murphy had allowed outdoor dining to resume. The outdoor dining is now extended until Dec. 31, 2020.
The now approved resolution allows restaurants to use tents and heaters in outdoor spaces. Council President Robert Robinson noted that the restaurants must adhere to public safety precautions, such as the safe placement of heaters. He also pointed out that the tents have a snowload capacity limit, which has to be taken into account.
Robinson explained that the tent has to be open on two sides in order to meet the definition of outdoor dining. Borough resident Allen Swanson said that while driving around New Providence and surrounding towns he has noticed that many outdoor tents have only one side open, thus violating the outdoor space rules for dining. He suggested that borough officials remind restaurant owners of the tent rules. He also asked if the restaurants close 75 percent of the walls are they then considered indoor spaces. Governor Murphy has limited restaurant indoor seating capacity to 25 percent.
Mayor Al Morgan noted that he along with the Mayors for Main Street Alliance have requested that the governor allow restaurants to use 2/3 of their indoor capacity for dining.
With regards to other news Councilman Robert Munoz said that the borough business community has been forced to cancel downtown trick or treating as well as the holiday festival due to Covid-19. However, the scarecrow competition is going on and residents have until Nov. 1 to vote for their favorites.