The city of Hoboken, New Jersey if officially ceasing operations of local bars and restaurants to help fight the pandemic coronavirus. Mayor Ravinder Bhalla put out an official notice on Saturday night to announce this extra precaution after the first local tested positive for COVID-19 one day prior.
Mayor Bhalla announced there would also be a city-wide curfew implemented from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. effective March 16. During these hours, residents are not allowed to leave their homes save for an emergency. The statement also fully clarified the rules and regulations for Hoboken’s bars and restaurants. Bars that do not serve food will be shut down. Restaurants are relegated to take-out and delivery services.
While this previously seemed like a preventive measure that would not happen in America, Hoboken, which is located on the Hudson River, and has an average of 55,000 residents, is taking note from Italy, a country that shut down every storefront and business — everything except for pharmacies and supermarkets during the coronavirus outbreak.
The statement said, “To continue enacting measures to protect the health and safety of residents by limiting clusters of people, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has directed certain restrictions upon all restaurants and bars in Hoboken. Specifically, all bars and restaurant establishments, with and without a liquor license, are no longer permitted to serve food within the restaurant or bar.”
“If a bar does not currently offer food, they will no longer be permitted to operate and are no longer permitted to serve alcohol, effective March 15th at 11 am. According to OEM, any bar or restaurant establishment that currently offers food service will be permitted to conduct food takeout and food delivery service only.”
Currently, there is no end date in sight for the implemented curfew. These new rules are in place “until further notice.” Hoboken has already shut down public parks, movie theatres, gyms, playgrounds, and closed schools.
A Bar Fight In Hoboken Triggered The Shut Down
As stated in Mayor Bhalla’s announcement, he made the decision to shut down restaurants and bars after receiving a call from Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante about a bar fight in downtown Hoboken. The altercation created chaos for locals.
“At least one person falling in and out of consciousness, and our police having to wait for over 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive because our EMS is inundated with service calls,” Mayor Bhalla said. “This is, unfortunately, a contributing factor why we cannot continue bar operations which can trigger calls for service that are delayed in part because of this public health crisis.”
In closing, Bhalla stressed that now is the time is now to enact proactive policies of social distancing.
“We must all now do our part,” Bhalla said. “I completely recognize that these measures will result in substantial changes and inconveniences to our daily lives. However, these measures are being taken to save lives and protect our residents. I strongly urge residents to continue to take every measure possible in order to practice social distancing, washing your hands, and sanitizing all surfaces.”
What Does This Mean For Bars & Restaurants In Other Cities Across America?
Based on the roll-out of coronavirus precautions taking place in America, it seems likely that other U.S. cities with rising coronavirus numbers will follow suit. Similar to when the NBA first suspended their 2019-2020 season, by the end of the day, so did the NHL, PGA Tours, and MLB Opening Day.
A similar domino effect happened in Hollywood. First, the late-night shows attempted to film without audience members before announcing two-week hiatuses. Since then, numerous major films, reality series, and scripted TV shows have put production on hold.