March 16, 2020

Statement from Mayor Bhalla on new regulations for bars and restaurants

The City of Hoboken is doing everything possible to advance social distancing, including preventing large gatherings anywhere in the City. The health and safety of residents is my number one priority.

In furtherance of this policy, and 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.

Additionally, OEM is implementing a city-wide daily curfew will in effect from 10 pm through 5 am, effective Monday, March 16th until further notice. During this curfew, all residents will be required to remain in their homes except for emergencies, or if you are required to work by your employer.

As I am writing this message on a Saturday evening, I received a call from our Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante notifying me of a bar fight in downtown Hoboken, with 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.  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.

As I've mentioned before, these are extremely challenging times, and we are seeing a substantial uptick of positive COVID-19 cases throughout New Jersey and throughout the world. The time is now to enact proactive policies that will help save lives in the long run.  We’ve asked families with children to be a part of social distancing by closing our schools. We must all now do our part.

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.