Gov. Murphy is asked to lift restaurant curfew for Super Bowl
Will you get to watch Tom Brady win another Super Bowl or the Kansas City Chiefs take home their second straight NFL championship? If you watch the game at a New Jersey restaurant the answer could be no.
New Jersey restaurants currently have to close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and bars must shut down. Retail, recreational and entertainment businesses must prohibit consumption of food or beverages indoors during those hours.
State Sen. Anthony Bucco is asking Gov. Phil Murphy to consider making exceptions to the curfew for the Super Bowl as well as Valentine's Day in February.
"To close the bar at 10 o'clock and tell people they have to go home before the Super Bowl is over is just crazy," Bucco told us.
The Republican said restaurants and bars have been struggling during the pandemic and to loosen up restrictions for holidays that are supposed to be big business for their industry would offer them hope.
"I would prefer that he further open up the restaurants to maybe 50% inside dining and extend the hours for bars but if he's not willing to do that then we should at least allow the bars and restaurants to remain open on Super Bowl Sunday and for Valentine's Day past the 10 p.m. curfew," Bucco said.
Bucco pointed out that Murphy has said his decision are guided by data and said that restaurants and bars have not been the cause of recent spikes in cases. He said that it could be a good test of potentially opening up restrictions on restaurants.
"Let's give it a shot. If we don't see a spike and we don't see problems that arise then that's further evidence that these establishments can be opened up further," Bucco said.
Marylou Halvorsen, president of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association, supports Bucco's idea and says it would offer a safe place to watch the big game.
"Instead of going into a safe environment and watching the Super Bowl they're just going to go into people's homes. That's what we saw during the holidays because people were not allowed to go out to restaurants where it's sanitary. They just congregated in people's homes without social distancing," Halvorsen said.
Gatherings in private homes are considered a major source for spreading coronavirus.
Murphy left the door open to some easing up when asked on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday about whether New Jersey would be easing up on restrictions as California, Michigan and New York did on Monday.
"I hope sooner than later. We think we're plateauing between now and February. If that turns out to be the case and we can control the variants that are coming through and make sure we keep up our basic stuff up like social distancing and face coverings, I think sooner rather than later we can at least take some modest steps in that directions," Murphy said.
The Super Bowl is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay.