In a letter to Governor Phil Murphy, dated January 14, 2021, Bayonne Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D – District 31) asks that Murphy consider extending the hours of operation for bars and taverns on Super Bowl Sunday until the end of the game on February 7. The request is intended to act as a way to stem the potential spread of COVID-19 during parties held at homes all across our country.
As we all know, Super Bowl parties are a huge tradition in America. Even people who don’t care about football or the championship game attend these parties. Typically, 10, 20 or more people attend parties to mingle with friends and have a good time. This would be a perfect place for the virus to spread, as most people would likely not wear masks throughout the night.
Right now, the Governor has an order in place for bars to close at 10 pm. With the game starting just past 6:30 pm, it probably will end after 10 o’clock. Assemblyman Chiaravalloti believes football fans going to bars are more likely to wear masks when not eating or drinking, so the spread of the virus would probably have less chance to occur than at residential parties where attendees would be more relaxed and less careful.
In his letter, which was also sent to New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, Chiaravalloti states, “I understand the reasons for closing bars at 10:00 P.M. I hear echoes of my mother, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” I believe that this policy has helped reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, as we witnessed throughout the pandemic and especially during the holidays, individuals will continue to gather in large groups for specific celebrations.
I write because I am concerned that the closure of bars at 10:00 P.M. will force many individuals to gather in homes. Our experience informs us that we are less precautionary in this setting then we are in a public setting. Therefore, these house parties pose a greater risk of becoming super spreader events.
Leaving the bars open an estimated extra two hours would have an additional economic benefit. For many of these businesses, an entire year of events was lost – from Saint Patrick’s Day to Fourth of July to the Wednesday before Thanksgiving gatherings.
Based upon the above, I ask you to allow bars to remain open for until the game is over, but no later than 12:00 A.M.”
Assemblyman Chiaravalloti told Hudson TV this evening that he has not heard back from the Governor’s Office, but he expects he will receive a response to his letter and suggestion.
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