Many changes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when it came to one’s lifestyle. Once outdoor dining began, it brought along optimism for having a social life again. From the warmer months to the colder months, outdoor dining has been something we’ve all enjoyed, and it’s been great for restaurants to continue to serve customers. For a few more months, expanded outdoor dining will be permitted. Read on to learn about outdoor dining in North Jersey.
Timeline of Outdoor Dining
Almost coming up to the two-year anniversary mark, outdoor dining began on June 15, 2020. Earlier that month, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 150, permitting outdoor dining. At that time, the NJ Department of Health laid out health and safety standards that food or beverage establishments were required to follow.
“Restaurants and bars throughout New Jersey have been immensely cooperative with necessary public health measures that were placed upon them while battling the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Phil Murphy said. “Allowing outdoor dining and the expansion of alcohol-serving areas will allow restaurants and bars to begin welcoming customers back while continuing to comply with necessary social distancing guidance.”
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Outdoor dining began popping up everywhere as locals could not wait to meet up with people they haven’t seen for a while. It was a very exciting time, and that feeling lasted all throughout the winter, thanks to heated lamps.
Fast forward to January 7, 2021, a new bill was signed by Governor Phil Murphy that expanded the opportunity for “restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries” to continue outdoor dining until “November 30, 2022, or on the date of the resumption, pursuant to an executive order issued by the Governor, of indoor dining without capacity limitations.”
^ Calandra’s — 234 Bloomfield Ave, Caldwell
(Photo credit: @calandrasbakery)
“As we weather the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continually trying to find new and innovative ways to aid our state’s business community while not sacrificing our public health,” Governor Phil Murphy said at the time. “This bill will give our restaurants more certainty for the future so they can once again lean into the outdoor expansions we allowed this past summer to help recoup losses and strengthen their businesses and the jobs they support.”
Getting Creative With Outdoor Dining
The outdoor dining experience became a fun experience. Some businesses spent a lot of money making outdoor dining a unique experience. Parklets were a thing — a sidewalk extension of a restaurant created to look like one is sitting outside at a park — and so were tents, aka large bubbles or igloos.
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Faubourg in Montclair, for example, became a hotspot, literally, with its fire pits and heaters taking over its outdoor all-glass, 30-foot tall structure. Bloomfield Steak and Seafood House had 24 tents outside, each seating up to four guests. Calandra’s in Caldwell had a 70-foot tent that featured heaters, chandeliers, and lights all around.
^ Uncle Momo
North Jersey Town with Outdoor Dining
Montclair Girl has rounded up a list of towns that still have outdoor dining and will continue to, especially with spring right around the corner.
- East Orange
- Fair Lawn
- Fort Lee
- Jersey City
- New Milford
- West Orange
For more fun outdoor activities, click here for The Montclair Girl’s list, and for a list of outdoor bars and restaurants in Montclair with heat lamps, click here.