Newark COVID Reopen Updates: Dining, Shopping And More

NEWARK, NJ — Recovering from the coronavirus shutdown has been a slow process, Newark. But there’s good news: the “new normal” is getting closer.

Newark’s restaurants, stores, businesses and other cultural institutions continue to reawaken from the COVID-19 shutdown that threw a devastating monkey wrench into New Jersey’s economy.

A new wave of adjustments will come when restaurants get the go-ahead to reopen for limited dining indoors on Thursday, July 2.

In addition, several entertainment venues and industries will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity on July 2, including museums, bowling alleys and arcades.

Read More: Gov. Murphy: ‘Hard Dates’ In NJ Coronavirus Reopening Blueprint

In Newark, businesses and local attractions are being graded by color – green, yellow and red – according to their risk levels. See the city’s full reopening plan here.

Catch up on the latest updates in Newark below.


New Jersey restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen outdoors on June 15. Customers are banned from eating inside, and must wear face masks if they go inside to use the bathroom or pick up a takeout order. Patrons with “medical reasons” or children under two don’t have to wear masks.

On July 2, restaurants in New Jersey will be given the go-ahead to reopen for dining indoors. Eateries will be limited to 25 percent capacity.

Newark has classified restaurants, including fast food establishments, as “green,” or low-risk.

Newark allowed outdoor dining to resume under the state’s guidelines on June 15, and will continue to allow takeout and curbside pickup. All Newark businesses have to file an application to reopen through the city (learn more here).

The third phase of Newark’s own plan to reopen also includes indoor dining at 25 percent capacity. Local restaurants will also have to abide by these rules:

  • Employers must screen employees for temperature

  • Strict social distancing (6 feet apart and with face masks) must be observed by employees and customers

  • Personal protective equipment must be worn in waiting areas, restrooms or other common spaces

Some Newark restaurants have already begun preparations for a July 2 reopening indoors.

In Newark, the Applebee’s on Springfield Avenue will offer indoor dining beginning July 2. Along with other Applebee’s locations in New Jersey, the Newark bar and grill will roll out “new protocols for safe service that follow CDC and FDA guidelines as well as local and state mandates.” Expect to see 6-feet of social distancing, plexiglass, face masks on staff and single-use menus and condiments, the company said.


Nonessential retail stores were allowed to resume online/phone ordering and curbside pickup in New Jersey on May 18. Limited in-person retail was cleared to reopen on June 15.

Indoor portions of retail shopping malls across the state will be allowed to reopen for customers on Monday, June 29. Restaurants inside malls can only offer takeout and delivery, but can offer in-person service at outdoor areas. Employees and customers must wear face coverings while on the premises, with exemptions for medical reasons or children under 2.

Newark has classified retail shopping as a green, or low-risk activity.

Newark has started to allow nonessential businesses to reopen with limited indoor service, and will continue to allow curbside pickup and delivery. Businesses need to apply for a permit; they can submit reopening applications here.


Hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, tattoo parlors and other personal care businesses were allowed to reopen in New Jersey on June 22.

Newark has classified the above businesses as “yellow” or moderate-risk.

The reopen issue surrounding the industry was particularly thorny in Essex County, where hundreds of fed-up hairdressers and barbers from across New Jersey rallied for a “peaceful photoshoot” in May.


“Passive recreation” such as running, hiking and biking was allowed again in state parks on Saturday, May 2. Counties and municipalities were able to decide for themselves whether to keep local parks open or closed.

Playgrounds in New Jersey will be allowed to reopen on July 2.

Baseball, softball, soccer and outdoor basketball sports were allowed to resume in New Jersey on June 22, but were limited to non-contact drills and practices. Non-contact football drills also resumed on June 22.

Baseball, softball, soccer and outdoor basketball competitions can resume in New Jersey on July 6. Full football practices and competitions should be able to resume by July 20.


New Jersey will allow gyms and fitness centers to open for “individualized training sessions” on July 2. No group workouts or open hours will be allowed, and clients must make appointments.

Newark has classified fitness centers as “yellow” or moderate-risk.


Libraries will be allowed to reopen indoors on July 2.

The Newark Public Library has been closed since May. However, staff and volunteers have been hosting a range of virtual events and outreach (learn more here).


Several types of entertainment venues and industries will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity in New Jersey on July 2, including museums, bowling alleys and arcades. However, movie theaters, concert venues, performing arts centers and night clubs must remain closed for now, Gov. Murphy said on June 24.

Newark has classified all of the above activities as “red” or high-risk.

Earlier in June, Newark officials loosened a citywide curfew from 8 to 9:30 p.m. The city also began allowing family cookouts for preferably 10, but up to 15 people, provided that there’s space for “proper social distancing,” face masks are worn and other sanitation guidelines are followed, such as not sharing utensils, plates and other items.

The City of Newark will hold a virtual Camp Watershed for city youth, virtual programming at city Recreation Centers, and offer movie nights for residents this summer. All programs are free and open to Newark residents.

Essex County reopened the Turtle Back Zoo on June 18. Several surrounding attractions, such as the paddle boats at South Mountain Recreation Complex, the Treetop Adventure and Zip Line and the miniGOLF Safari have also reopened.

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This article originally appeared on the Newark Patch

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