SPARTA, NJ- Businesses and restaurant are being allowed to open with caution.  Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 150 allows establishments to open in a limited way, especially handling patrons outside.

Sparta Mayor Jerry Murphy said in response to an inquiry, the township’s Economic Development Committee and council members are discussing ways to “formulate a cohesive response and guidance for re-opening restaurants and bars.”

In his announcement, Governor Murphy suggested businesses be allowed to make use of sidewalk, parking spaces and parks. 

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Jerry Murphy said, “The township staff and professionals are working on procedures to assist our local businesses in their anticipated re-opening when that moment arrives, but it is premature at the present moment to publish those policies.”

One business owner, Sam Masih has a plan for White Deer Plaza.  His plan follows the governor’s recommendations, making use of parking spots and adjusting traffic flow.

Masih said it would be especially beneficial to Casa Mia, Lakehouse Café and Tanti Baci and other businesses in the plaza.  According to Masih, The St. Moritz has a large established outdoor space and Krogh’s said they would use their side parking lot for tables.  Additionally he said the Lake Mohawk County Club is not having events, freeing up their parking lot.

Masih, owner of Tanti Baci recognizes any modification would need the approval of the township, the Lake Mohawk Country Club and the county.

Many of the businesses in Sparta are on county or even state roads, potentially causing a significant roadblock for businesses trying to implement Governor Murphy’s suggestions.

One department in the county is being proactive, announcing steps to assist restaurants begin to open.

The Sussex County Department of Health and Human Services Division Director James McDonald said in a release, they would be “granting temporary approval to all licensed food and beverage establishments in the county to install or expand outdoor dining.”

McDonald said the businesses would have to comply with sanitation rules, Executive Order 150, New Jersey Department of Health Directive 20-014 regarding COVID-19 protocol for having outdoor service and local ordinances and laws.

The temporary order runs from June 15, the start of Executive Order 150 through December 31, 2020.

Township officials said they hope to have a plan for businesses this week.

The Sparta Township Council will be holding their audio only Zoom meeting on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.  People interested in attending must get a password to join by emailing or calling 973-726-INFO (4636) or check the bottom of the meeting agenda posted on the township website.