HOBOKEN, NJ - Looking for ways to clampdown on what many are seeing as another wave of COVID infections, the Mayor of Hoboken announced that he will sign an Executive Order stipulating that the city's bars and restaurants close by midnight every night.
"With health experts predicting a substantial rise of cases during the winter months, and a second wave already upon us here in Hudson County and New Jersey, I believe the time is now to begin taking additional precautions against the threat of COVID-19 spreading indoors," said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. "To that end, to limit situations when social distancing and other precautions are much less likely to be followed, and to take a proactive approach at reducing gatherings indoors, I will be signing an executive order closing all bars and restaurants at midnight, seven days a week."
This executive order will take effect as of Thursday, October 29. Traditionally, Hoboken's bars maintain a 2:00 a.m. closing time Sunday through Thursday, and a 3:00 a.m. closure on Friday and Saturday nights.
Back in March, Hoboken was among the first in the nation to shut down bars and restaurants in the face of the COVID threat. As dining returned in June, the City worked to build out streateries to help accommodate more outdoor dining. Plans remain to assist with outdoor dining throughout the coming months, but with temperatures steadily decreasing, any further restrictions on indoor dining—which is already capped at 25% capacity—point to difficult times ahead for the city's already-struggling hospitality industry.
"Some have asked whether or not the City can shut down bars and indoor dining completely and limit to take-out only, as we did for several months earlier in the pandemic," said Bhalla, in an alert sent out Monday night. "While we did have this authority in the beginning of the pandemic during mid-March as our shut-down orders pertaining to bars and restaurants came under the City’s emergency declaration powers, the State has since issued an Executive Order conferring this authority exclusively upon the states and away from municipalities. Notwithstanding, authority still remains with municipalities to amend hours of operations."
Earlier today, Newark announced increased of restrictions on dining and nightlife, demanding venues close down indoor dining by 8:00 p.m. and outdoor by 11:00.
"With infections rising, the last thing we want is for Hoboken to be the location where large amounts of people are encouraged to come and party late at night, when social distancing and other health precautions are much less likely to be observed."
Hoboken is also floating an initiative to fine anyone hosting a house party of 25 or more attendees.