June 20, 2021

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Cranford Outdoor Dining Returns This Week: Here Are The Rules

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CRANFORD, NJ — Now that the state of New Jersey has allowed outdoor dining starting Monday, with restrictions (see below), towns with bustling downtown shopping areas, including Cranford, have implemented plans to help their businesses expand.

The state already allows restaurants to provide curbside pickup and delivery.

On Friday, Downtown Cranford noted in an update:

<blockquote>Starting June 15, restaurants will be able to open for outdoor dining in compliance with all health guidelines and customers will be allowed to enter retail stores with a 50 percent maximum capacity and be in compliance with all health guidelines. Then, on June 22, beauty and nail salons will be permitted to reopen in compliance with all health guidelines.

To create additional space for outdoor dining and activities, the township will be closing Alden Street from N. Union to 29 Alden Street starting Thursday, June 18 3 p.m. to [9 p.m. on Sunday]. We’re calling this a “streatery” and it will have outdoor dining, classes, and shopping.</blockquote>

A list of downtown businesses can be found on the Downtown Cranford website.

The Town Committee, in its own update on Friday, provided these guidelines for outdoor dining and for shopping in stores:

Shopping in stores

  • Stores can open with 50 percent of normal occupancy level

  • They should provide special shopping hours for customers considered in the vulnerable population such as the elderly or immune compromised

  • They should conduct regular sanitizing of common areas and high-touch areas, like credit card machines

  • They should install barriers or partitions where customers pay and mark floor to keep customers six feet apart

Outdoor dining

  • Patrons are prohibited from indoor sections except to walk through entering or exiting or use the restroom.

  • Customers must wear face coverings only when inside the building (unless there is a medical reason for not doing so or if the patron is under 2 years).

  • Employees must wear face coverings and gloves when in contact with customers, handing food, utensils, and other items.

  • Prohibit smoking in areas where people are drinking and eating.

  • Recommend customers wait in their cars or away from the establishment while waiting for a table if outdoor wait areas do not allow for proper social distancing

  • Encourage reservations to help control customer volume and require customers provide a phone number if making a reservation in case of the need for contact tracing.

The restaurants will also have to comply with these guidelines from Gov. Phil Murphy’s outdoor dining executive order:

  • Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 should enter the food or beverage establishment

  • Limit seating to a maximum of eight customers per table and arrange seating to achieve a minimum distance of 6 feet between parties

  • Rope off or otherwise mark tables, chairs and bar stools that are not to be used

  • Mark 6 feet of spacing in patron waiting areas

  • Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors, sidewalks, and signage on walls to ensure that customers remain at least 6 feet apart in line for the restroom or waiting for seating

  • Eliminate self-service food or drink options such as buffets, salad bars, and self-service drink stations

  • Disinfect all tables, chairs and any other shared items (menus, condiments, pens) after each use

  • Install physical barriers and partitions at cash registers, bars, host stands and other area where maintaining physical distance of 6 feet is difficult

  • Ensure 6 feet of physical distancing between workers and customers, except at the moment of payment and/or when employees are servicing the table

  • Require infection control practices, such as regular handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal

  • Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like credit card machines, keypads, and counters to which the public and workers have access

  • Place conspicuous signage at entrance alerting staff and customers to the required 6 feet of physical distance

  • Require all food or beverage establishments to have an inclement weather policy that, if triggered, would require the food or beverage establishment 2 to adhere to Executive Order No. 125 (2020) and offer takeout or delivery service only

Additionally, according to the state:

  • Businesses must conduct daily health screenings for employees (such as temperature screenings and/or symptom checking), and provide and require employees to wear face masks.

  • All customers must bring and wear face masks when going to a business.

  • The state also recommends that businesses and customers utilize reservations.

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This article originally appeared on the Cranford Patch

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