By Art Gallagher
The COVID-19 rate of transmission, Rt, has spiked in New Jersey since Wednesday, August 26 when Governor Phil Murphy dined in Middletown.
There is absolutely no evidence that Murphy dining outdoors while his friend hosted a 40-50 people indoors in his EO-163 non-compliant Barrel Room Bar has anything to do with the increase in New Jersey’s Rt from .77 on Thursday to .87 on Sunday.
It’s terrible of me to use that headline and photo to get people riled up again at Murphy. But it is not nearly as bad as what Murphy has done to the restaurant industry and the people who rely on it for their livelihoods.
Murphy may not have hurt anyone by dining at Nicholas Barrel and Roost on Wednesday. But he has devastated over 350,000 people who work at New Jersey restaurants.
There is no evidence that Murphy’s indoor dining restrictions this summer have contributed to New Jersey’s public health or have contributed to the flattening of the coronavirus curve.
Rate of transmission is the measure of how many people to whom an infected person will spread the virus. According to Rt.live, when the measure is below 1.0, the virus will not be spreading. Rt.live uses a different equation to measure the transmission than Murphy does. According to the site, NJ’s rate is .96 today.
New Hampshire is allowing their restaurants to open at 100% capacity, so long as tables are six feet apart and other public health guidelines are practiced. NH has an Rt of .87 today, compared to NJ’s .96.
Effective immediately, restaurants can go to 100% capacity for indoor dining in all 10 counties in NH.— Chris Sununu (@GovChrisSununu) August 21, 2020
Tables will still be required to be six feet apart, and all other public health guidelines remain in effect. pic.twitter.com/vLrn9aFYHZ
In New York, outside of NYC, indoor dining is allowed at 50% capacity. The Rt, for the entire state including NYC, is 1.0
In Pennsylvania the Rt is .97. They allow outdoor dining at 25% capacity.
25% was the capacity that Murphy announced for NJ in June, before he reneged. 25% may have been appropriate in June. Now 60% would be more appropriate.
Delaware has the lowest Rt in the nation today at .81. Their restaurants are operating at 60% capacity, much like their favorite son, the Democrat nominee for POTUS.
Rhode Island has an Rt of .88 compared to New Jersey’s .96. RI expanded the allowable capacity for indoor dining from 50%-66% on June 30.
Connecticut’s Rt is .98. Their restaurants have been operating at 50% since June 17.
In an emotional open letter to Governor Murphy circulated yesterday, Victor Rallo, the proprietor of Rumson eateries Surf and Undici, said that roughly 35% of New Jersey’s restaurants have closed for good.
Rallo asks Murphy why he has chosen to decimate his industry. It is a very good question.
Murphy is allowing gyms to open in New Jersey on Tuesday, September 1.
That is great news for the gyms’ owners, employees and customers. It is bad news for Rik Mehta, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate. Mehta’s gimmick of opening campaign headquarters in any NJ gym that would have him has lost steam since Murphy’s reopening announcement a few days after the candidate and the owners of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr announced the gimmick on Fox and Friends.
There is no evidence that Murphy’s decision to open gyms before restaurants had anything to do the Mehta’s political strategy.
There is evidence that gyms reopening on September 1 will hurt at least one New Jersey restaurant.
26West On The Navesink, located across the river from Murphy’s home, has been seating diners on the West Front Street sidewalk in Red Bank outside of Jersey Strong.
26West General Manager Mikaela Milano said she anticipates losing those 20 seats come Tuesday.
“I don’t want to have to close for the winter,” Milano said worriedly on Saturday afternoon. “I don’t understand why the Governor will not let us open indoors and let people decide for themselves if they want to dine indoors.”
I don’t understand either. I really hope Governor Murphy announces tomorrow that restaurants can open immediately with at least 60% capacity. I hope he lets the restaurants salvage the last week of summer and make something of September….and October, November and December.
There is no evidence that allowing restaurants host indoor dining will be any more dangerous than what Murphy said he didn’t witness last Wednesday in Middletown.