A Mercer County judge ruled June 12 that Asbury Park cannot allow reduced-capacity indoor dining at restaurants, hours after Gov. Phil Murphy filed suit against the Jersey Shore municipality over what would have been a violation of his executive orders.
The city on June 10 adopted an ordinance permitting restaurants to reopen on June 15 for indoor dining with 25 percent capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower. Under Murphy’s orders, restaurants can resume outdoor dining that day.
The ordinance mirrored the same crowd-size guidelines Murphy issued earlier in the week of June 8 on indoor gatherings, but would have violated the order banning indoor dining, which Murphy signed on March to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the state.
“We have worked with the governing body of Asbury Park to try to amicably resolve the issue of their resolution regarding indoor dining. Unfortunately, they have not done so,” Murphy said Friday at his daily COVID-19 press briefing at the Trenton War Memorial.
“With all due respect, we cannot have communities mirroring the cavalier actions taken in other states that have not put a premium on … the health of their residents,” he said the day prior.
The three-page order granting the Murphy administration’s request for a preliminary injunction was issued Friday afternoon by Mercer County Judge Robert Lougy. The order preserves the status quo until the court can conduct further proceedings in the matter.
Asbury Park officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.