ASBURY PARK, NJ – Russel Lewis, the owner of the bar and restaurant, Watermark on the Asbury Park boardwalk is furious after Governor Phil Murphy reversed course on all indoor dining. Murphy, on Monday cited irresponsible bar owners and patrons for his decision. Lewis called out one of his competitors, Donovan’s Reef after seeing photos and videos of an overpacked bar and no social distancing.
Umm here’s a snap of Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright — feels like I’m back at The Boot on a Saturday night pic.twitter.com/3Qp9GKieoU
— Josh Axelrod (@j0shaxelrod) June 28, 2020
“This is simply infuriating. My blood is boiling,” the Asbury restaurant owner said. “The owner of Donovan’s Reef is putting us all at ricks with this reckless behavior and the business should be shut immediately.”
Photos of Donovan’s reef showed hundreds of maskless young adults partying and drinking with absolutely no social distancing.
“This is putting all shore bars at risk of shutting down and if this is the reason, the owner of Donovan’s will have another bar fight on his hands,” Lewis said, referring to a weekend bar fight that allegedly occurred at Donovan’s Reef.
Lewis asked his local State Senator, Vin Gopal for assistance.
“I have a feeling the ABC will be getting aggressive on folks liquor licenses. That’s the only thing that those who are irresponsible will understand,” Gopal responded.
The postponement of indoor dining affects the livelihoods of tens of thousands of New Jersey residents and will have an impact on the reopening of Casinos in Atlantic City.
This weekend, at Lewis’ rooftop bar, crowds were intentionally light as he operated his restaurant in full compliance with Murphy’s executive order. Now, because others did not, he and thousands of other restaurants who invested heavily in staff salaries, food preparation and proper inventory to accommodate a busy Fourth of July weekend, are once again left holding a bill, they probably will have a hard time paying.
Photo of the Watermark in Asbury Park this past weekend.