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New Jersey restaurant owners prep for dine-in service: 'It's about time'
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Gov. Phil Murphy's announcement that dine-in service would be allowed to resume at 25% capacity by week's end electrified restaurant owners, although some fear it may not be enough to survive, especially as the winter months loom.
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On Monday, Murphy tweeted that restaurants would be allowed to serve guests inside for the first time since March at a limited capacity, with social distancing between tables, beginning on Sept. 4. The directive effectively ends a months-long struggle of fitting a few guests on sidewalks and streets or in some cases even having to limit operations to takeout and delivery only.
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Although the announcement was surprising, Grace Sciancalepore, owner of Leo's Grandevous in Hoboken, said it's been “a long time coming."
Just hours after news broke, Sciancalepore told FOX Business that the restaurant is "excited" and "grateful" for this small step to begin reverting back to pre-pandemic operations and that her staff is already preparing supplies for Friday. The Italian eatery will be implementing plexiglass barriers in between tables and has a special cleaner with peroxide to sanitize.
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However, Sciancalepore hopes capacity will increase soon, especially as the warm weather subsides, underscoring the problem restaurants may face when seating outside will no longer be feasible.