TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy has given the state an insight into how his brain processes the science of dining during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the first day of COVID-19 outdoor dining, Murphy took his wife Tammy and their children to the swank Long Branch beachfront restaurant Avenue.
“So I’ve been asked, what did you do? Any lessons learned? So Judy, I’m going to again practice without a license and Ed, see what you think,” Murphy said. “First of all, Tammy and I and three of our four kids had dinner in Long Branch Outside. We had a short stroll before dinner on the boardwalk there and checked out things. Beautiful evening, a little bit cold, but beautiful.”
The governor said he didn’t notice many people following his “Mask Up” policy on the boardwalk on Monday.
“Not a lot of face coverings on the boardwalk, I’d like to see a lot more of that, and I know you would, too,” he said. “When we got to the restaurant, the restaurant was terrific considering these restaurants, other than for takeout service, a lot of their kitchen and wait staff have clearly been idled, so I’ve heard the story from many friends, they bounced back, up and down the state, very quickly. Hats off to our restaurant industry.”
Murphy gave his critique of the customers and staff, saying they obeyed his science directives and were properly masking as directed.
“They were overwhelmingly good. The customers I think were overwhelmingly good, and I’ve heard this from anyone else who was out last night,” he added. “Folks were very good about wearing their mask in, wearing their mask as they left, wearing their mask using the restrooms. Hardly anybody wore their masks at their table and so I get asked about that and how do I view that, and I view sort of two different tables differently.”
Murphy says the science of COVID-19 keeps him and his family somewhat distant, even when dining at home.
“It was Tammy, me and our three kids. We’ve been holed up with them, plus our daughter Emma, who wasn’t with us, for three-and-a-half months. We’re in a bubble. But even we, when we eat indoors now, as our kids begin to see their friends, even we keep our distance, even in our own family inside,” he added.
Later, Murphy had a closer than comfortable for science dinner with his daytime friends, at the state.
“I have the honor later on of knocking a few back with Judy and Pat and Jared — on me, by the way, my treat — but we’ll be at a table, and we don’t normally get closer than this. So if we are closer than this, we’re going to probably have a mask on,” he said. “So I think that not only does it matter that your table is separated from the other guy’s table, It also matters who’s at your table. And if they are folks in your bubble, you have more latitude, it seems to me, than folks who have not been in your bubble and you’re trying to cross in with each other. So that was my science lesson for the day. I look forward to our beer.”