SPRINGFIELD, NJ — After an announcement from Governor Phil Murphy that restaurants in New Jersey would be allowed to partially reopen indoor dining, restaurants throughout Millburn are preparing for the change to take effect.
The new rules, which will go into effect Friday mandate among other things, a 25 percent capacity cap on indoor dining. The state of New Jersey had initially rolled out a timetable for indoor dining that would have started on July 2, but rescinded the order earlier in the summer before it went into effect, blindsiding many businesses.
But as the executive order to reopen dining moves forward, restaurateurs throughout Springfield are preparing to serve customers indoors again. One of those restaurants is Sofia's on Morris Avenue. Staff at the eatery are very ready to have guests eating inside again.
"We are excited to have everybody back, because we miss our customers," said Andreas Perez, the manager of Sofia's.
"Nothing compares to the dining room," he said. "We do have problems with weather, too hot, raining, so it's not the same as inside."
Perez noted that the July push and eventual rescinding of indoor dining did catch him and the rest of the staff off guard, but they did eventually recover from the change of plans, and are excited to officially reopen for indoor dining.
"Here at Sofia's, we are waiting for everybody to come back," Perez said. "We miss everybody, so we hope to see everybody back."
Elsewhere in town, TD Pizza is preparing to reopen for indoor dining, but as manager Kelcie Sweetwood noted, they were not hit as hard by COVID-19 on the dining front.
"We're actually fortunate where a big piece of our business is the delivery and takeout," Sweetwood said. "So, yes, losing indoor dining was kind of a big hit, but really just for our servers and the tips. As far as running the business and functioning, and the restaurant's income, we really can't complain."
Sweetwood also said that the pizza joint had no concrete plan moving forward on indoor dining, having already seen the order be rescinded once.
"We aren't really holding our breath expecting anything, but if it does go through, we can easily convert the indoor space back into what we need," she said. "It'll be a smooth transition once we finally pull the trigger and do it."
"Come out and enjoy some pizza, we're doing great over here." Sweetwood added.