In defiance of N.J. governor, Asbury Park to allow indoor dining on June 15

People walk along the boardwalk in Asbury Park, N.J., Wednesday, June 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

People walk along the boardwalk in Asbury Park, N.J., Wednesday, June 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Asbury Park City Council voted Wednesday evening to allow indoor dining beginning on June 15, a move in direct violation of New Jersey executive orders related to COVID-19.

On June 3, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 150, which allows outdoor dining on June 15, subject to health and safety protocols. Restaurants are currently only allowed to offer delivery and take-out service.

But Asbury Park went a major step forward by allowing diners to eat inside. Reached on Twitter, Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn confirmed a report by The Coaster breaking the city’s decision.

Quinn said the governing body passed a resolution allowing indoor dining in accordance with the issuance of Executive Order 152, which governs indoor gatherings, on Tuesday. Asbury Park is the first municipality to take formal legislative action in defiance of the state.

Executive Order 152 increases the limit on indoor gatherings to 25% of room capacity, or no less than 10 or more than 50 people. It requires face coverings and social distancing, with exceptions for immediate family members and romantic partners. But when gatherings include 10 or fewer people, there are no face covering or social distancing requirements.

“The executive order provided for indoor gatherings, and we didn’t see a huge difference between gathering and having breakfast, lunch or dinner again provided you followed all of the requirements of the order,” Quinn said.

The deputy mayor added that city officials are doing “everything” they can do to help Asbury Park businesses come back.

“We hope this helps,” she said.

Police could immediately cite any business that operates in violation of an executive order, based on past actions taken during the pandemic.

In response to an email inquiry from WHYY, Alyana Alfaro, a spokesperson for Murphy, said Executive Order 108 invalidates any municipal or county restriction or regulation that in any way conflicts with any provisions of executive orders.

“Municipalities or counties may not enact or enforce any rule or ordinance conflicting with any of the provisions as stipulated,” she said.

Murphy has not said when indoor dining will be allowed in New Jersey.

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