TOMS RIVER, NJ – The Toms River Township Council has approved a resolution that would allow for temporary outdoor dining during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The ordinance amends the township land-use code to allow for special event applications to allow for outdoor tables, chairs, umbrellas and benches for food establishments. The $100 permit fee is waived. The policy will take effect when permitted by Executive Order of the Governor.
Toms River Councilman Daniel Rodrick voted in favor of the ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting. “I am proud to support our town’s small businesses and restaurants, many who have been struggling with closures during the pandemic. This resolution will allow them to have a solid head start once the Governor lifts the restrictions on these businesses and allows outdoor dining, which could be in the very near future,” Rodrick said.
“I have full faith in our business community that they will act responsibly under whatever guidelines are set by the Governor during this time regarding social distancing requirements,” Rodrick added.
Ocean County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders has been trying to push the process along within the Murphy administration to allow small businesses to reopen.
Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, who operates a small business in Eagleswood Township, said it’s time for the state to open other small businesses. His hardware store has remained open during the pandemic as allowed by the state’s executive order.
“During the closure, small businesses still have to pay rent or mortgages,” he said. “The state has been showing flexibility allowing more businesses to open. Now is the time to move forward safely allowing small businesses to open.”
Freeholder Joseph Vicari, during the pandemic, has also been an advocate for county restaurants and businesses to reopen.
This week, Mayor John Ducey announced a similar plan to allow restaurants to reopen in Brick Township.
“All applications will be reviewed by our Township staff,” said Toms River Council President Maruca.
You can view the permit application here.