Sayreville restaurants open for outdoor dining

SAYREVILLE – As a way of offering a helping hand to business operators in Sayreville, municipal officials have permitted outdoor dining for restaurants during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

On June 8, the Borough Council passed a resolution allowing outdoor seating for restaurants. The outdoor seating will be permitted amid the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a shutdown of retail and commercial businesses in New Jersey.

Earlier this month, Gov. Phil Murphy began lifting restrictions that have been in place since mid-March. The governor’s actions include the phasing in or the partial or modified reopening of certain businesses, such as the resumption of outdoor dining as of June 15. As of that date, indoor dining was still prohibited.

As of June 15, indoor gatherings for uses other than dining are limited to 25% of the capacity of a room. Regardless of a room’s capacity, the limit will not be less than 10 or more than 50 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people and attendees are required to be 6 feet apart.

Through the Borough Council’s resolution, outdoor seating will be temporarily permitted as an accessory use to restaurants, fast food restaurants and drive-in restaurants. The temporary period will be up to 120 days unless a longer or shorter time is established by an executive order from Murphy.

The resolution will also not require the filing of a site plan application for the outdoor restaurant seating, although a temporary outdoor seating application must be obtained prior to the creation of any such seating.

“Restaurants are an integral part of the local economies and social fabrics of municipalities and policies regarding restaurants established by New Jersey through law, regulation and executive order rightfully prioritized public health,” the resolution reads. “The proper adherence of measures to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus has greatly affected the business model of restaurants and the borough wishes to help its local businesses through this difficult time. Many restaurants are owned and operated by local families that depend upon continued economic activity.”

As stated in the resolution, restaurant owners are seeking guidance as to how they may safely resume dine-in services after permitted business activities are broadened by the state.

Citing that the borough supports the recommendations of health care professionals to continue proactive measures, such as social distancing, to curtail the spread of the virus and temporary practical measures that enable restaurants to augment their dining capabilities as a means to boost customer activity, the resolution seeks to assist the restaurant owners while still adhering to the state’s safety regulations against the virus.

The resolution received support from resident Jim Robinson.

“I appreciate it very much that the governing body and borough staff worked so quickly on this,” Robinson said. “I know that this is a lot more complicated than it appears. I appreciate that the borough is waiving fees and I think that is wonderful. It is really business friendly, all the provisions seemed to make sense and I look forward to
dining at two or three outdoor places next week.”