Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Phase 2 of New Jersey's reopening is taking a u-turn as New Jersey restaurants are no longer permitted to open for indoor dining on July 2nd.
Governor Phil Murphy made the announcement Monday morning during his daily coronavirus briefing.
Murphy later told CNN that he chose to hit the pause button because "the coronavirus is 'a lot more lethal' indoors than it is outdoors."
Murphy explained that his decision was made with the hope that the state wouldn't begin to go backward and reminded New Jerseyans that he always said he wouldn't hesitate to hit pause to keep the public safe.
Additionally, the governor cited the decision was fueled in part by overcrowding and lack of face coverings in restaurants throughout the garden state.
While Murphy says he knows many establishments played by the rules and followed the states guidance, the 'knuckleheads' ruined it for everyone.
“We have seen spikes in other states driven, in part, by the return of patrons to indoor dining establishments, where they are seated, and without face coverings, for significant periods of time,” Murphy said during the briefing.
The announcement, which comes just two days after restaurants received guidelines, will also pause the reopening of wedding venues and banquet halls.
Due to the change, some casinos in Atlantic City have chosen to halt their reopening.
While the next announcement for Phase 2 is anybody's guess, Murphy made one things very clear: the reopening of indoor dining is paused, indefinitely.