Indoor & Outdoor Dining Guidelines

Governor Murphy Announces Expanded Indoor Capacity

Updated: February 5, 2021

Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 219, effective Friday, February 5, which:

  • Expands indoor dining capacity to 35%
  • Lifts the statewide 10:00 PM restaurant indoor service limit; local restrictions may remain in place
  • Allows indoor entertainment, recreation areas (including casinos and gyms) and personal care businesses to operate at 35% capacity

Indoor performance venues and indoor gatherings that are religious ceremonies/services, wedding ceremonies, political activities, and memorial services/funerals may operate at 35% capacity with a maximum of 150 individuals.

The prohibition on seating at indoor bar areas will remain in effect, as it creates the danger of close and prolonged proximity between patrons, bartenders, and servers.

This order takes effect Friday, February 5. Public health protocols must be adhered to at all times.

Read the full EO here: Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Raising Indoor Capacity Limits from 25 Percent to 35 Percent for Certain Businesses (PDF)

Governor Murphy Announces Indoor Dining Restrictions

Updated: November 11, 2:30 p.m.

“As cases of COVID-19 increase across the country and in our state, we must take all measures necessary to stop the spread,” said Governor Murphy. “In the interest of public health, we are requiring modifications in operations for businesses that serve food and drinks, and temporarily prohibiting interstate games and tournaments for indoor K-12 sports. We must come together as a state to once again beat back this deadly virus and to save lives.”

The measures being announced today include:

Restrictions on Hours for Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Lounges, and Casinos –

  1. Restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and other businesses that serve food or drinks will not be able to operate their indoor premises between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.  Outdoor dining can continue after 10:00 p.m., as can takeout and delivery services. 
  2. Casinos will not be able to serve food or drinks between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., with the exception of room service delivered to guest rooms and takeout.  Other casino operations would be unaffected.

Restrictions on Bar Seating, Increased Flexibility for Restaurants –

  1. Seating at the physical bar in the indoor areas of bars and restaurants will be prohibited during all operating hours.
  2. Due to the impact this may have on restaurants with small seating areas, restaurants will be allowed to have groups at tables indoors that are closer than six feet together, if they are separated by barriers that comply with guidance from the Department of Health. 
  3. Restaurants will be allowed to set up plastic domes outdoors, limited to one group each, as additional outdoor dining space.

The measures will take effect on Thursday, November 12, at 5:00 a.m.

For a copy of Executive Order No. 194, click here.

Guidance for Outdoor Dining – Heating

Updated: September 23, 10:30 a.m. 

We understand that many of our restaurants that are offering outdoor dining are seeking guidance on ways to warm or heat these spaces.  The below information is provided by the Township’s Fire Marshall.  We encourage those that are preparing for cooler weather and wish to continue outdoor dining for your patrons in a comfortable setting to use his guidance to prepare a plan.  Once you have a plan, please reach out to the Fire Marshall or Fire Prevention to work with you on a case by case basis.  We ask that before emailing you have a plan that you can share, so that more specific guidance can be provided.  Email once you are ready to discuss.

Guidance and tips to follow when drafting a plan:

  1. Each tent will need a “Fire Prevention” permit (Permits will be evaluated on a case by case basis)
  2. Tents must be Fire Retardant (documentation must be submitted with the application)
  3. No cooking can be performed under the tent
  4. A fire extinguisher must be present
  5. Vehicle impact protection may be required for the heating units
  6. If propane is used, minimum clearance to combustibles (usually 5’-10’ feet)
  7. All heating units must be on a stable base
  8. Generators must not be fueled hot (if used)
  9. No open flame heaters can be used within 5’ of the tent
  10. Safe storage of Propane or other fuels must also be considered
  11. Electric heaters can be placed under tents

Permit Applications

For those wishing to provide outdoor heating, the Township will require a “Fire Prevention Permit Application” to be filled out.  Fees associated with this permit will be waived, however an application must be filled out and approved by the Township’s Fire Prevention Bureau.

Indoor Dining Reopened Friday, September 4

Updated: August 31, 3:00 p.m.

Governor Murphy has announced that restaurants may resume indoor dining beginning 6:00 a.m. on Friday, September 4. Guidelines include but are not limited to:

  • No more than 25% capacity; parties capped at eight
  • Maintain six feet distance between tables
  • Staff must wear masks at all times
  • Diners must wear masks when they are not in their seats
  • If a restaurant provides table service, diners may only order while seated at a table
  • If diners are seated at a table, they cannot go to the bar to order another drink or dish
  • Food and beverages can only be consumed while seated
  • Restaurants that provide food service at their bars may allow patrons to dine at the bar – provided that all diners are kept at proper social distances
  • Any group seated together at the bar is capped at four individuals
  • Windows must be opened to ensure a proper flow of fresh air into the dining areas
  • Air conditioner units must be turned so that they’re allowing for the maximum amount of outdoor air to be introduced to the dining area

We are awaiting the full text of the Executive Order from Governor Murphy's office. 

NJ Dept. of Health Executive Directive No. 20-019: COVID-19 Protocols for Food or Beverage Establishments offering Service in Outdoor and Indoor Areas Pursuant to Executive Orders Nos. 150 and 157 (PDF)

Outdoor Dining

Updated: July 23, 4:30 p.m.

Bars and restaurants may currently open for drive-through, delivery, takeout, and outdoor dining.

The reopening of indoor dining spaces has been postponed. Indoor dining is not allowed.

Restaurant operating hours are not limited by any State order.

Restaurants offering service in outdoor areas must follow appropriate mitigation requirements detailed in the Department of Health’s Executive Directive No. 20-019 and summarized below.

Restaurants may offer in-person dining service in areas with a fixed roof if two sides are open, comprising over 50 percent of their total wall space. Under Executive Order No. 163, these areas are considered outdoor.

What to Expect at Restaurants and Bars

The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in DOH ED 20-019 and EO 157. However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with the terms of DOH ED 20-019 and EO 157 and businesses should read the full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.

Establishments must institute the following policies:

  • Limit seating to a maximum of 8 customers per table - unless from an immediate family or the same household – and arrange seating to achieve a minimum distance of 6 feet between parties;
  • Encourage reservations for greater control of customer traffic;
  • Cordon off any indoor or outdoor dance floors to the public;
  • Require customers to provide a phone number if making a reservation to facilitate contact tracing;
  • Consider alternatives to paper/physical menus (whiteboards, electronic menus);
  • Provide a hand sanitizer station for customers; and
  • Require customers who wish to enter the indoor portion of the establishment to wear a face covering, unless the customer has a medical reason for not doing so or is a child under two years of age;
  • Require that groups stay 6 feet apart, even in areas where groups are not assigned seating;
  • Prohibit smoking in any outdoor areas designated for consumption of food and/or beverages;
  • Adhere to all other health and safety protocols in DOH Executive Directive No. 20-019.

Guidance for Employees
Food or beverage establishments offering service must impose the following requirements on employees:

  • Require employees to wash and/or sanitize their hands when entering the food or beverage establishment;
  • Conduct daily health checks (e.g. temperature screening and/or symptom checking) of employees safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations;
  • Require employees with symptoms of COVID-19 be sent home;
  • Require all employees to wear face coverings, except where doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, or if it would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task (i.e. cooks that work near open flames);
  • Provide all employees with face coverings and gloves free of charge;
  • Provide employees break time for repeated handwashing throughout the workday;
  • Provide sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to staff; and
  • Encourage employees to obtain COVID-19 testing.

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