Coronavirus Pandemic – City Council Announces ReOPEN Asbury Park: Business & Community Recovery Strategy Plan
Asbury Park Strong news – Asbury Park, NJ: City of Asbury Park reports 6.11.2020.
Based on guidance from the State of New Jersey, City Council, with input from City staff, the Asbury Park Business Committee and the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, has developed a comprehensive business and community recovery strategy plan to reopen Asbury Park during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ReOPEN Asbury Park: Business & Community Recovery Strategy plan, which was announced at last night’s Council meeting, aims to expand capacity for restaurants and retail; utilize public space as a mechanism to allow people to maintain social distancing; and provide opportunities for residents to safely enjoy their neighborhoods.
The plan, which will launch as a pilot, will implement open streets on a temporary basis allowing residents the opportunity to maintain social distancing while participating in recreational activities. It will also provide street closures in select areas to afford businesses additional outdoor space due to the reduction in capacity and social distancing requirements as per Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 150 which permits outdoor dining and in-person non-essential retail effective Monday, June 15 at 6am.
In addition, effective June 15, 2020, the City of Asbury Park will allow businesses to operate indoor food and beverage service with a capacity limit of whichever number is lower – 25% capacity of the dining room or 50 people as outlined in Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 152 regarding indoor gatherings. Restaurants must comply with all requirements as outlined in Governor’s Murphy’s Executive Order No. 152 and Executive Order No. 150, including wearing face coverings, remaining six feet apart at all times, and not allowing the sharing of physical items by multiple attendees as well as sanitizing items before and after uses. While Council has approved indoor food and beverage service with restrictions, businesses should be aware this could be overruled by the State of New Jersey. Since Governor Murphy has not yet allowed indoor dining, participating businesses could be considered in violation of Executive Orders and may be subject to fines by the State of New Jersey.
City Council has also temporarily relaxed existing ordinances and procedures to help businesses, creating a “2020 Outdoor Dining & Outdoor Retail Sales Temporary Permit” to allow for expanded use of sidewalks, public streets and private property, including parking lots, to assist in increasing dining and retail space to mitigate against the required reduction of capacity.
“As we begin to reopen, it’s important for us to focus on all areas of the City when providing opportunities for our businesses to succeed and for our residents to enjoy their neighborhoods,” said Mayor John Moor, “We will continually assess the plan over the next few weeks as conditions evolve during the pandemic and as we learn about what is working, and what is not, and will make adjustments accordingly.”
“We are excited to reopen Asbury Park,” said Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn, “COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on our community. As Council, it is our responsibility to do everything that we can to help our struggling businesses rebuild while keeping our residents and visitors safe during this pandemic. The Governor’s Executive Order No. 152 already allows indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and we simply decided to extend it to food and beverage service.”