New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco: Indoor Dining Could Be Salvation for Struggling Restaurants

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Urges Gov. Murphy to Examine if 25% Capacity Limit Is Overly Cautious

Senator Anthony M. Bucco said that while he’s glad Governor Phil Murphy is finally allowing indoor dining to resume after a five-and-a-half month ban, he urged the governor to carefully examine if restaurants can safely reopen at greater than the 25% capacity limit that will be permitted initially.

Sen. Tony Bucco said that while he’s glad Gov. Phil Murphy is finally allowing indoor dining to resume, he urged the governor to carefully examine if restaurants can safely reopen at greater than the 25% capacity limit that will be permitted initially. (Pixabay)

“After enduring so much hardship, the return of indoor dining has the potential to be the financial salvation that our restaurants need to survive,” said Bucco (R-25). “I’m worried, however, that limiting dining rooms to 25% will not be enough of a boost to compensate for a change in seasons that will quickly make outdoor dining less and less viable. I strongly urge the governor to examine if the 25% capacity limit is overly cautious in light of the months of planning, preparation, and reconfiguring that restaurants have undertaken to allow for a safe return to indoor dining.”

Governor Murphy announced this morning that New Jersey restaurants may resume indoor dining at 25% capacity effective Friday, September 4, 2020.

The announcement largely mirrored a prior order allowing indoor dining to resume on July 2nd that the governor rescinded at the last minute.

On Thursday, the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Bucco to reimburse restaurants, bars and caterers for wasted supplies they purchased based on Governor Murphy’s reopening guidance in preparation for the reopening of dining rooms that never happened in early July.

Bucco warned in late July that restaurants across New Jersey that had suffered steep economic losses since March would soon go out of business permanently if they were not allowed to reopen their dining rooms or provided direct financial support from the State’s share of billions in unspent CARES Act funding.

“By virtually every public health metric from testing to hospitalizations to deaths, New Jersey is in a much better place now than we were at the end of June when the governor proposed reopening indoor dining at 25% capacity,” added Bucco. “While the coronavirus risk steadily dropped over the summer, our restaurants continued to refine plans to keep indoor diners safe. We should give New Jersey restaurants a chance to show that their plans work, and allow hundreds of thousands of hospitality workers the opportunity to start earning a paycheck once again.”

Bucco worked closely with the Morris County Chamber of Commerce to develop and issue a detailed reopening plan that was sent to the governor in May to save businesses and jobs, with safe, risk-based mitigation measures.

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