Outdoor dining and retail shops reopen

Cape May restaurants can reopen for outdoor dining this week as part of New Jersey’s state-wide reopening plan. For everyone’s comfort and safety, tables are to be spaced at least six feet apart in any direction, and smoking is prohibited in outdoor dining spaces. If you’re going inside a restaurant for takeout, you’ll need to mask up. 

The New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is temporarily permitting liquor license holders to extend their licensed premises to include outdoor spaces. In some cases, they might need a $75 COVID-19 Expansion Permit — download the special ruling (PDF) for full info.

And speaking of alcohol, Cape May has temporarily permitted the public consumption of alcoholic beverages on the beach, promenade, Rotary Park, the Washington Street Mall, and sidewalks on these streets:

  • Lafayette from Perry to Franklin
  • 400 block of Bank Street
  • 400 block of Elmira Street
  • Perry to Beach (starting at Lafayette)
  • Jackson to Beach (starting at Lafayette)
  • Decatur to Beach (starting at Lafayette)
  • Ocean to Beach (starting at Lafayette)
  • Washington Street (Perry to Jefferson)
  • Carpenters Lane (Perry to Ocean)
  • Lyle Lane (Perry to Ocean)
  • Howard from Columbia to Beach
  • 1300 block of Texas Avenue
  • Beach Avenue from Patterson to Pittsburgh

But before you daydream of pina coladas on the beach, let’s talk about restrictions: Open public consumption is only legal from 5pm to 10pm. The resolution states that containers must be plastic (we don’t know about cans) and can’t exceed 16 ounces. Kegs and coolers containing alcoholic beverages aren’t allowed; it’s one drink per person. And if you plan to drink in public, keep your ID on you. The resolution is set to expire on November 1st. 

Indoor shopping is also back statewide—mostly. Enclosed shopping malls are still closed, but stores with individual entrances can open them to customers. Wear a mask in stores and keep a six-foot distance from other shoppers. Employees will be wearing masks.

Speaking of masks, Cape May County has launched a #safelytogether campaign to normalize wearing them in the summer. Want to share the message? You can download posters, emojis, and animated gifs from their website. 

We’re one day into Stage Two of a phased reopening plan for the state. Here’s what Stage Two involves (from

Stage Three will allow for expanded dining, limited entertainment, and the reopening of bars with limited capacity. When we reach Stage Three will depend on improvements to public health. Right now, no date is set.

Cape May hotels and rental properties were allowed to reopen at the end of May. They had been closed at the county and city levels, not by the state.