NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council approved three resolutions to help out local businesses as Governor Phil Murphy is finally lifting some lockdown restrictions implemented nearly three months ago. The three resolutions temporarily easing outdoor dining and sidewalk sales rules as well as allowing gyms to conduct outdoor exercise classes were approved unanimously at the Monday, June 8 Zoom meeting. Councilwoman Michele Matsikoudis led the introduction of each of the three resolutions.
The approved outdoor dining resolution is permitting local restaurants to locate tables and chairs out of doors, in the borough rights of way, and other locations on site, such as public and private parking areas. The establishment must submit an application to the Borough Construction Official that includes a plan of the proposed layout and location of tables and seating outside the establishment. Applicants are also required to submit a brief written narrative describing the proposed method of serving food and beverages in the newly proposed areas. The restaurants will also need to acquire a written consent from their landlords as well as their neighboring businesses. Councilman Peter DeSarno noted at the May 26 meeting that the purpose of relaxing the rules is not to expand the restaurants’ capacity but to allow restaurants to operate within social distancing guidelines.
The restaurant resolution will automatically lapse on November 1, 2020 or as soon as the State of New Jersey eliminates social distancing regulations, whichever first occurs. Governor Murphy has announced that outdoor dining will be allowed starting on June 15.
The resolution allowing sidewalk sales for businesses deemed “non-essential” will take effect on June 9. According to the resolution all contact between the merchant and the customer must be minimal and the merchant must enforce social distancing requirements at all times. The merchant is also required to have hand sanitizer available. Furthermore, the merchant must provide employees with ample opportunity for hand washing at reasonable periodic intervals. The merchant, employee, and customer must wear an appropriate face covering at all times. Merchandise can only be displayed immediately in front of the business and adequate room for pedestrians must be made available. Sidewalk sales are permitted from 9 am to 7 pm each day.
Matsikoudis explained that some local fitness businesses have requested to utilize public space for outdoor exercise classes. The council approved a resolution to allow such classes at two borough locations: Warner Field and Centennial Park. It was noted that all safety guidelines set forth by Governor Murphy must be adhered to.
Council President Robert Robinson asked residents attending outdoor classes at Warner Field to be respectful to neighboring residents when parking.