TRENTON, NJ – During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Phil Murphy instituted a COVID-19 curfew. Under that curfew, all businesses that were allowed to open during the shutdown had to close by 9 p.m. The logic behind the curfew didn’t make sense to New Jerseyans then and now that Phil Murphy is bringing back a COVID-19 curfew for bars and restaurants, it makes just as less sense now than it did then.
Murphy was called to task to answer for his curfew and he said people are more reckless after 10 p.m., not the virus.
“People let their hair down at night,” Murphy said. “We’ve seen this in Newark, folks are just not distancing as they should and there’s not the same level of compliance and care. You still got the sense that if you’re seated at the table, you’re compliant.”
Murphy and his top health officials have repeatedly told residents of New Jersey COVID-19 isn’t being spread in restaurants, but today said he fears the spread of the virus could manifest in bars, so he shut down all bar services in the state.
Murphy said a bartender can act as a superspreader while making drinks, delivering drinks and taking payment for those drinks, shuffling up and down the bar, filling orders.
On the bright side, the distance between tables is being reduced, provided the restaurants have state approved dividers.
“We are allowing closer distancing between tables as long as there are Department of Health certified barriers between tables,” Murphy said.