New Jersey targets indoor dining, bars, casinos amid rising COVID-19 rates

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ByDiana Rocco, Eyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
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Starting Nov. 12, restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges must close indoor dining by 10 p.m.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced new restrictions Monday afternoon amid a spike in COVID-19 positivity.

"A second wave is here," Murphy said. "This is our reality."

Starting Nov. 12, restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges must close indoor dining by 10 p.m.

The positivity has ticked up to 6%, and the numbers have been going up across the Tri-State area.

Murphy told CNBC Monday morning that he "will take some steps," described as "tweaking our parameters at the edges," to help curb rising coronavirus case.

"They won't come close to what we were doing in the spring," he said. "This is not a lockdown."

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Casinos in Atlantic City will also not be permitted to serve food or alcohol during those overnight hours.

Indoor bar seating had up to this point had been covered under the state's indoor dining regulations, but it will now be prohibited.

The new restrictions, which will take effect Thursday, will not affect outdoor dining. Restaurants will be able to continue building out their outdoor dining, including setting up outdoor igloos.

Restaurants and bars are already limited to 25% indoor capacity, a restriction that is not expected to change.

Addressing indoor sports tournaments spreading the virus across state lines, the state will ban indoor interstate sports for elementary, middle and high school students. College and professional sports will not be affected.

The rules are being put into effect two weeks before Thanksgiving to combat indoor dining spread during the holiday season.

Private indoor gatherings remain the state's primary concern, but lacking enforcement power in private homes, the state will continue to ask residents to keep gatherings to immediate family members.

The state has had infection rates as high as 8% within this past week.

He will detail the changes in restrictions at 1 p.m. in Trenton.

Murphy also discussed news that Pfizer's vaccine may be 90% effective, according to preliminary data, urging caution.

He said that while the trials are "really, really good news," its six-month vaccine distribution timeline will not change the state's short-term reality.

"We are sort of in a six-month window here...where we have to battle against the COVID fatigue, stop letting our hair down with holidays coming up," he said. "So the answer is it doesn't change us in that window, but it's really really good news in the longer term."

State Health Commissioner Judith Perisichelli told "60 Minutes" Sunday night that the first batch of vaccine from the federal government will be enough to inoculate just 10% of the state's high priority health care worker category.

She said a state survey of health care members found 60% of the physicians would get the vaccine, and just 40% of nurses.

Related: Pfizer's early data looks promising, company says


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