Back to the Bar, Buffet in NJ; More People Can Dine at Philly Restaurants

Restrictions are being eased as COVID-19 cases go down as vaccines go up

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What to Know

  • In Philadelphia, more people can eat indoors at Philadelphia restaurants starting Friday. Indoor catered events are also allowed again.
  • Bar service and buffets are allowed again in New Jersey.
  • The relaxed restrictions come as more people get COVID vaccines.

You can now get served a drink and eat all you want while serving yourself food, again, in New Jersey. And over the Delaware River in Philadelphia more people can now eat indoors at restaurants and weddings are back.

Starting this weekend, you can walk up to the bar to order a drink and grab your own food from a casino buffet again, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced earlier this week while relaxing COVID-19 restrictions.

In Philadelphia as more people are vaccinated against the coronavirus, the city is easing restrictions on indoor dining and permitting indoor catered events, like weddings, with capacity limits.

Here is a breakdown by state of what is now allowed as of Friday, May 7:

Eased COVID Restrictions in New Jersey

  • People can begin to saddle up to bars again. It will be up to restaurant and bar owners to prevent people from congregating at the bar and to adhere to the 6-feet distance rule or put up petitions between parties.
  • The restriction on buffets and other self-service food at restaurants will be lifted. Indoor dining rules will remain in place for masking when not eating or drinking at your table.
  • The effective date for the increase of capacity at outdoor events to 500 people and the increase of indoor capacities for weddings, proms and other events up to 50% capacity to 250 people. Dance floors can be open for weddings this weekend.

Eased COVID Restrictions in Philadelphia

NBC10's Miguel Martinez-Valle speaks to restaurant operators along East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia about COVID-19 capacity limits on indoor dining and groups seated together outdoors relaxing Friday.
  • Indoor dining capacity in Philadelphia restaurants expand to 50% for all eateries and 75% for those businesses that meet "enhanced ventilation standards."
  • Indoor table sizes can expand from four to six people. And, those people don't need to be from the same household. Restaurants must still place tables 6 feet apart.
  • Outdoors, up to 10 people can sit at the same table.
  • The city is allowing for indoor catered social events such as weddings. Indoor catered social events -- including alcohol service and dancing -- can have up to 75 people (including staff) or 25% capacity. If cases continue to fall, the cap will go up to 150 people as of May 21.
  • Masking rules remain in effect when people are not eating.

Both New Jersey and Philadelphia plan to further loosen restrictions should COVID cases and spread continue to fall.

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