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Newark Enforces A Second Restaurant Shutdown This Week After Rising COVID-19 Cases

Restaurants across the city must now close down indoor dining operations by 8 p.m. and outdoor dining by 11 p.m.

Broad Street sits empty during Newark’s city wide shelter-in-place mandate during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on May 09, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. Photo by Donell Woodson/Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

NYC’s neighboring city of Newark, New Jersey has entered a second shutdown starting on Tuesday at 8 p.m. due to a recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases, Newark city officials have announced.

Under the new regulations, Newark restaurants are required to close down indoor dining by 8 p.m. daily while the shutdown is in effect, and outdoor dining must end at 11 p.m. Indoor diners’ temperatures must be taken at the door, and staff must ask customers whether they’ve been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19. Takeout and delivery are still allowed. The regulations will remain in effect at least until November 10, when the city will reassess the situation.

The shutdown was spurred by an alarming rise in positive COVID-19 tests, the New York Times reports. Testing sites in Newark recorded an 11 percent three-day average rate of positive COVID-19 tests last week, more than double the statewide positive test rate.

Restaurants affected by the second shutdown have already been struggling to get by with 25 percent capacity limits for indoor dining, according to the Times. One restaurant manager told the paper that the regional shutdown “makes no sense,” as it may simply drive customers to spend their money in other nearby towns.

Newark’s shutdown marks the first time that New Jersey has employed a regional shutdown strategy to manage upticks in COVID-19 cases. Nearby, New York City started designating zoned shutdown areas at the beginning of October to combat COVID-19 increases in Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods.

On Wednesday, NYC reported a citywide COVID-19 positive test rate of 1.39 percent, with a rolling seven-day average of positive test rates around 1.75 percent. Currently, there is only one area in Brooklyn, covering neighborhoods including Borough Park and Gravesend, still designated as a red zone shutdown area, where restaurants have been reduced to takeout and delivery service only.

Update, 2:04 p.m.: The mayor’s office said that there is no immediate impact on NYC’s operations following Newark’s announcement, but the city is monitoring the situation.