TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Township Councilman Dan Rodrick tonight said that he and his wife have been trying to do their best to support the township’s many restaurants who are still unable to operate their businesses as full capacity, many in makeshift outdoor dining areas. A law approved by Governor Phil Murphy allowed restaurants to serve patrons outdoors, but that order expires on November 14th. What happens after that expiration date is unknown. It’s also unknown whether or not the Governor will allow for indoor dining before that deadline, if at all.
The fate of New Jersey’s restaurants is unknown after November 14th.
“I would just like to encourage residents to get out there and patronize our local restaurants,” Rodrick said. “Especially the independent, small businesses. We have no clarity from the state as to whether or not indoor dining will be permitted anytime soon.”
Rodrick said the township’s small restaurateurs may not be able to withstand an extended closure, where national chains can absorb more financial hardship than local eateries.
“Please be sure to get out there and spend some money in support of our local economy, which supports so many of our neighbors, friends, and their families,” he added.
Murphy has to date refused to give any clarity to the struggling restaurant industry as to when or if he will allow them to reopen. New Jersey is one of only two states nationwide with a statewide ban on indoor dining. The other is California.
Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill agreed with Rodrick and echoed the call to support local eateries.
The restaurant industry accounts for a large part of Toms River’s local economy, especially during the summer tourism month. This year, tourism at the shore is expected to carry into September, but even the extra few weeks might not be enough to keep many of the town’s restaurant operators going through the winter should Murphy continue prolonging the prohibition against indoor dining. In November, cold weather could also be a deterrence for outdoor diners as the weather drops into the freezing range, even if Murphy extends the November 14th window for outdoor dining.