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New Jersey Boosts Indoor Dining Capacity to 35% From 25%

(Bloomberg) — New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy loosened indoor-capacity restrictions for restaurants and other businesses to 35% from 25%.Casinos, gyms, indoor performance venues and gatherings for religious services and wedding ceremonies, funerals and political activities also may operate at 35% capacity, with a maximum of 150 people. And Murphy lifted the 10 p.m. curfew on indoor restaurant service. All changes are effective Friday.“We’re able to take this step today because the data says we can,” he said Wednesday at a news briefing. “We’ve got to ask folks to have patience. We’re building this as we fly it.”Restaurants in New Jersey have been operating at 25% maximum indoor capacity since September, after being closed since March to help control the Covid-19 outbreak. A post-holiday surge saw daily cases in New Jersey jump to almost 7,000 in mid-January. Murphy reported 2,021 new cases for Tuesday, for a total of 631,309 since the outbreak began. Hospitalizations have dropped below 3,000 from more than 3,800 in December.Dining DangerThe state’s ban on seating at indoor bar areas remains in effect because such arrangements create “the danger of close and prolonged proximity between patrons, bartenders and servers,” Murphy said. The governor declined to say whether New Jersey would follow New York City’s lead in making restaurant workers eligible for the vaccine.As of Wednesday, New Jersey had administered 837,225 doses. After giving 230,000 doses last week, the state gave fewer than 14,000 on Monday and Tuesday combined amid the snowstorm, state data show.The six vaccination mega-sites that were closed for the snow were all open Wednesday, and anyone affected by the closings should have received a call, email or text to have their appointment rescheduled, said David Adinaro, the state’s deputy health commissioner. Those who received cancellation notices through the state’s online registration system will receive notices of their rescheduled appointment, the department said on Twitter.The bulk of vaccine shipments delayed by the weather will arrive Wednesday and Thursday, and all second doses will be administered within the recommended time-frame, Adinaro said. Even with the shutdowns, the sites were still operating at less than capacity because of a supply shortage, and should be able to catch up, he and Murphy said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.