Customers return to New Jersey restaurants for outdoor dining

GLASSBORO, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Stage 2 of New Jersey's reopening plan is underway, with outdoor dining and in-person shopping allowed at non-essential retail stores.

Action News stopped by the Monarch Diner in Glassboro, where outdoor seating was sanitized and ready to go for the breakfast crowd at 9:00 a.m.

"My father and I yesterday were sitting table to table, measuring, making sure every table was six feet apart," said owner Paul Tsiknakis.

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Outdoor dining is allowed in New Jersey beginning Monday, June 15, but there are some restrictions. You have to wear face-covering if you go inside.

Customers who came out on the first day were happy to take a break from take-out.

"We have been looking forward to coming here again. The food is good. The service is good," said Rosalie Mayer of Washington Twp.

In Mullica Hill, friends enjoyed lunch outside at Blue Plate.

"Yeah, we were dying to come out. So this is fabulous!" said Janet Anderson of Swedesboro, N.J.

In-person shopping at non-essential stores is also back with social distancing and mask-wearing, to the delight of small shop owners.

"We've tried to rely on social media and pitch pickup. But to see someone come in and have that human interaction, that's the most important. It's one of the main reasons I have a store," said Hazel Dilsavor, owner of Farmhouse Design in Mullica Hill.

Childcare centers in New Jersey are now allowed to operate, and libraries can open for curbside pickup. But not everything is opening this week.

"If we reopen too quickly, without restoring consumer confidence quite simply there would be no customers," said Gov. Phil Murphy during Monday's daily briefing.

Opening on June 22 in New Jersey:

-hair and nail salons
-tattoo parlors and other personal care businesses
-limited organized sports can begin

Most people we spoke to are ready to reopen carefully.

"I think if we all take proper precautions and people are mindful, if you're not feeling well you're staying home I think we need to move forward," said Debra Ann Cichy, a hairstylist from Vineland who is anxious to get back to work.

Gov. Murphy also said Monday while some companies may be anxious to get employees back into the workplace, he's still advising people to work from home if possible.

RELATED: Some outdoor events resume in New Jersey as officials raise limits on outdoor gatherings

Murphy lifted the statewide stay-home order last week, but said residents would still have to abide by limits of no more than 50 people indoors and up to 100 people outside.

New Jersey is among the worst-hit states by the virus, with a death toll of 12,625 and nearly 167,000 positive cases.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.
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