N.J. Towns Closing Down Streets to Accommodate for Outdoor Dining
With non-essential business and outdoor dining opening in two weeks, towns in New Jersey have created a plan to create more space for outdoor dining and shopping. Streets will be closing down to accommodate the reopening. Stores are allowed to be open a few days a week and restaurant tables will be six feet apart to comply with social distancing rules.
According to NJ.com, towns like Red Bank, Hoboken and Ridgewood will be piloting programs to turn streets into makeshift outdoor malls. Ridgewood plans to create a mall around East Ridgewood Avenue due to limited sidewalk space to meet social distancing rules.
Retail and restaurant premises will be extending to promote social distancing. Hoboken has waived its sidewalk cafe fee, which will allow for “streateries,” which has been the name for the makeshift outdoor dining. Curbside parking spaces will be turned into outdoor seating and will include safety barriers to separate them.
Red Bank will create plazas between Front and Wall streets, on Monmouth Street and from Broad Street to Drummon Place. It is set to be open Thursdays to Saturdays.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced that outdoor dining and non-essential retail businesses can open June 15. Murphy also said the strict sanitation policies will be in place and that specifics will be left up to the municipalities.
“We expect that many municipalities will seek to allow restaurants and bars to expand their service footprint, both on their own property and maybe onto shared property such as sidewalks, streets, parks,” Murphy said at his press conference. “We recognize that municipal officials closest to the ground are in the best position to make these decisions that are both equitable and practicable and safe.”
Murphy added that there will be a special rule in place that expands the liquor license to accommodate outdoor eating, but the restaurants and bars will still have to comply with town ordinances.