'This Virus Has Not Gone Away': New Jersey Gov. Murphy Issues Indoor Dining, Youth Sports Restrictions As COVID-19 Cases Surge
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday additional restrictions in response to rising COVID-19 infections across the state. The governor is ordering bars and restaurants to halt indoor dining from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in an attempt to control a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Bar side seating will also be prohibited at all hours.
Murphy says outdoor dining, as well as takeout and delivery, may continue after 10 p.m.
"To be clear, the last thing I want to do or any of us want to do is to shut our economy back down and thankfully we're not at that point," Murphy said during a Monday afternoon press conference. "Looking at the data, we are taking surgical steps that we hope will help mitigate the current increasing rate of spread. No one up here wants to take the type of broad and all encompassing actions like those we had to take in March."
Restaurants will be allowed to place tables closer than six feet apart, only if they are separated by barriers.
Murphy is also prohibiting interstate games and tournaments for all indoor youth sports, up to and including high school. The new restrictions will go into effect Thursday.
"With these actions, we need to change these mindsets. We have to shake off the pandemic fatigue that I know we all feel, I feel it by the way as well. And we have to get back into the mindset that saw us crush the curve in the spring," Murphy said.
The new measures come as New Jersey has reported six consecutive days of over 2,000 daily coronavirus cases, including 3,207 on Saturday, the highest number since the beginning of May.
"New Jersey is back at levels we thought we left behind months ago. We have to snap back into reality. This virus has not gone away and it's posing its greatest threat to us in many months," Murphy said.
Health officials have said that indoor settings make it easier for the virus to spread compared with outdoors, and Murphy has long promised to return to closures if the virus caseload spiked again.
During the hours they are allowed to be open, bars and restaurants will still be subject to indoor dining restrictions limiting capacity to 25%, a restriction that many businesses and Murphy's political rivals say hurts their bottom line.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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