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Outdoor Dining, Non-Essential Retail Shops Reopen As New Jersey Enters Stage Two Of Restart, Recovery From Coronavirus

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) -- What a glorious day this is in New Jersey. The Garden State has entered stage two of its restart and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic which includes outdoor dining.

For the first time in months, people in New Jersey could eat outside at their favorite restaurant.

Many excitedly took advantage of an opportunity to leave their homes.

Edie Powers is done making dinner. She couldn't wait to grab lunch with her daughter on the first day of New Jersey's phase two.

"Cabin fever definitely, and she likes to cook. I'm not that great of a cook and I'm tired of cooking. I've never cooked so much in the entire time I've been married," Powers said.

With restaurants now allowed to serve food outside while observing social distancing, managers are doing their best to make sure they're ahead of the COVID curve and welcoming back valued regulars.

"They're stopping by not even to eat. They're saying 'We'll be back. It's so great to see you,'" said Jessica Niedoba manager of The Bistro at Haddonfield.

"It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining the humidity is low and I'm having a delicious salad. It's wonderful," diner Edie Power said.

"Excitement to be honest. All the prep that goes into it, we had a certain amount of time to do it, everyone banded together and got the job done," Central Taco's manager Shaun Harrison said.

At Central Taco, the tables are at least six feet apart.

Vicky and Jeff Matteis just couldn't wait to sit down. The two showed up 20 minutes before Central opened at 11:30 a.m.

"It's great just to be out of the house and give her a break from cooking. She's a great cook but something different to do," Jeff  Matteis said.

Gov. Phil Murphy says more than 600 liquor licenses have been approved statewide for expanded outdoor service.

Meantime, salons will not reopen until June 22.

On Monday, health officials announced 274 more coronavirus cases in the state bringing the total to 167,103. Fifty-two more deaths were also reported. The death toll now stands at 12,676.


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