New Jersey to reopen indoor dining Friday at 25% capacity


New Jersey diners are heading inside just in time for Labor Day.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that indoor dining will reopen Friday, a major step forward from the coronavirus lockdown.

Restaurants can open for 25% capacity with social distancing between tables and a maximum of eight-person parties. Masks will also be required before and after eating.

Diners will also have to provide their phone number in case officials need to do contact tracing.

“Reopening responsibly will help us restore one of our state’s key industries while continuing to make progress against COVID-19,” Murphy tweeted.

Indoor dining was initially supposed to reopen in early July, but Murphy stopped the plans after a spike in coronavirus cases.

More than 190,000 New Jersey residents have tested positive for coronavirus so far, with at least 1,780 deaths, but numbers have continued dropping steadily.

Gyms and indoor amusement parks were reopened Sunday.

Much of New York state has already reopened for outdoor dining, but not in New York City, where Mayor de Blasio has been reluctant to invite people inside.

Gov. Cuomo said last week that he was receiving requests from bar and restaurant owners and that his office is “calibrating the situation.”

Originally published