MOORESTOWN, NJ — Dinner and a movie is back in Moorestown. Indoor dining will return throughout the state, including all throughout Moorestown on Friday.
The Moorestown Mall will get two assets back as it has indoor dining and a movie theater. The president of the group representing the township’s downtown businesses wishes the announcement could’ve come earlier.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday morning that indoor dining can resume at 25 percent capacity and with social distancing between tables at 6 a.m. Friday. He also announced that movie theaters and indoor performance venues can resume on Friday as long as capacity is capped at 25 percent, or 150 people.
“We are very excited about this long-anticipated news,” the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) said in an email response to a request for comment by Patch Monday morning. “Our dining establishments are a key part of the Cherry Hill and Moorestown mall experience, and we look forward to their being able to expand their capacity and safely serve more guests.”
New Jersey Coronavirus Updates: Don’t miss local and statewide announcements about novel coronavirus precautions. Sign up for Patch alerts and daily newsletters.
In addition to multiple dining establishments, the Moorestown Mall is home to a Regal Cinemas movie theater. Murphy announced the resumption of indoor dining Monday morning, and the reopening of theaters at a news conference later in the day. Read more here: Gov. Murphy: NJ Movie Theaters To Resume Amid Coronavirus Crisis
“It’s appropriate. I hoped it would come sooner so restaurants would have more time to operate safely indoors while there’s still the opportunity to sit outside,” Moorestown Business Association President Steve Pazienza said. “I’m concerned about how restaurants are supposed to gear up to 50 percent or more.”
He said restaurants can’t survive on 25 percent capacity. He said if the announcement had come in the beginning of the summer, restaurants could have had more time to prepare and indoor capacity may have been higher heading into the fall. As it is, restaurants will have to continue to rely on some aspect of takeout and delivery to survive.
Pazienza also said he hopes everyone acts responsibly.
“Restaurants will be under a microscope and any problems could set the industry back,” Pazienza said. “Restaurants absolutely need this right now.”
The announcements came a week after Murphy announced that gyms and indoor amusement parks could reopen at 25 percent capacity as of Sept. 1.
Restaurants were permitted to remain open for takeout and delivery when non-essential businesses were shut down to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
In June, restaurants were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining only. Moorestown Council passed a resolution and an ordinance that allowed restaurants to expand outdoor seating, which Pazienza said did help the industry greatly. Read more here: Moorestown Gives Final Approval To Outdoor Dining Plan
Murphy’s announcement has been long awaited in the restaurant community throughout the state. Some restaurants have been forced to close permanently, but others were eligible for government loans.
Malls overall have taken a financial hit during the pandemic. In August, PREIT reported a $29.2 million loss as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here: South Jersey Mall Owner PREIT Reports $29.2M Loss Amid Pandemic
With reporting by Tom Davis
See more stories about New Jersey’s coronavirus recovery.
This article originally appeared on the Moorestown Patch