New Jersey’s neighboring city of Newark, New Jersey, has initiated a second shutdown starting Tuesday at 8 p.m. as more positive COVID-19 cases have emerged recently, Newark city officials said.
The new regulations require restaurants in Newark to close indoor dining at 8:00 p.m. every day while the closure is in effect. Outdoor dining must end at 11:00 PM. Indoor guests’ temperatures must be measured at the door and staff must ask customers if you have made contact with anyone who has COVID-19. Take-out and delivery are still allowed. The regulations will remain in effect until at least November 10th until the city reassesses the situation.
The New York Times reports that the shutdown was triggered by an alarming surge in positive COVID-19 tests. The test sites in Newark saw an average rate of 11 percent three-day positive COVID-19 tests last week, more than double the nationwide positive test rate.
Restaurants affected by the second shutdown have already struggled with a 25 percent capacity limit for indoor meals, according to the Times. A restaurant manager told the newspaper that the regional closure “makes no sense” as it could simply entice customers to spend their money in other nearby cities.
The Newark shutdown marks the first time New Jersey has implemented a regional shutdown strategy to manage upticks in COVID-19 cases. Nearby, New York City began designating restricted areas in early October to tackle the COVID-19 surges in the Brooklyn and Queens boroughs.
On Wednesday, NYC reported a citywide COVID-19 positive test rate of 1.39 percent, with the seven-day rolling average of positive test rates being 1.75 percent. There is currently only one area in Brooklyn that covers Borough Park and Gravesend and is still a restricted area for the red zone, which offers take-away and delivery-only restaurants.
Update, 2:04 p.m.: The mayor’s office said there is no immediate impact on NYC operations following Newark’s announcement, but the city is monitoring the situation.