BERKELEY – Governor Phil Murphy and his wife did not eat inside Martell’s Waters Edge on Saturday, despite social media posts and images claiming to show the governor doing just that, according to the restaurant manager .
Under Murphy’s Orders in Council, indoor dining remains prohibited until early next month. Al fresco dining is currently permitted.
Murphy was indeed at Martell’s – he posted a 36-second video on his own Facebook page and Twitter account showing him dining out – but the restaurant manager and governor’s office say no violations of the decree has taken place.
Rich Sorge, the manager of the restaurant, located on Barnegat Bay in the Bayville section of Township, said New Jersey 101.5 Martell’s has a very large outdoor tiki patio for dining and a bar. He said photos on social media showed Murphy there.
“It’s all outside. It’s sheltered, there’s a roof, (it’s) outside and it’s so big I can hang TVs on it for them to watch. sports while dining out, Sorge said.
The governor outside then was “invited under the overhang of the tiki bridge to the outside,” Sorge said.
Sorge said the only time Murphy was inside was when State Police escorted the governor through a hallway to a van for safety as heavy rains fell.
“There was no one in the building to take photos with other than me, and I’m not in any photos. I’m the only one in the building because the building is closed,” Sorge said.
Murphy’s press secretary Alyana Alfaro told New Jersey 101.5 “there is no truth in claiming he ate inside.”
And Murphy himself, during his daily news conference on the novel coronavirus, said that social media posts suggesting he was inside at a restaurant were particularly irresponsible because they suggested to some people that they should feel free to do the same.
This, Murphy said, could cause more people to fall ill and die.
“It’s blood on their hands. I don’t know how they can live with themselves,” Murphy said.
O’Scanlon, in a tweet later Monday, said he spoke to the governor’s office and was told that “he – and these other patrons – dined outside and only took shelter inside during a downpour. is true, then fair enough. “
Earlier this month, Murphy was criticized by some business owners and lawmakers for participating in the Black Lives Matter protests while his decrees limiting the size of gatherings were still in effect. Some organizers of other protests, to protest the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions, have been issued tickets for alleged violations of the decree, although participants in these protests have generally not done so.