By Alecia Reid

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — Some New Jersey restaurant owners who planned to welcome indoor diners this week will have to wait. And that is hitting some hard.

Gov. Phil Murphy understands this is a very unpopular decision and that people are frustrated. But he says his goal is to save lives.

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“Bread that’s going to be stale. We have desserts, meat that’s in there,” Shana Manstranduono said.

Thousands of dollars of seafood, steak and other fine ingredients are now up in the air.

“We spent a lot on food and now we’ll have to throw it away or possibly donate it,” Manstranduono said.

After seeing the increase in COVID-19 cases over the weekend, Murphy decided it was important to push back the date indoor dining can resume.

Indoors, lacking ventilation, sedentary, close proximity that’s a lethal combination,” Murphy said.

The governor says his goal is to stay ahead of the virus. But this false start is costly for business owners that were already hurting.

“Between staff and food, we bring in fresh things as they come in. Two days before it’s all thrown away,” said Angelo Bova.

Shana’s Wild Fig had opened only weeks before COVID-19 hit. The establishment had a complete overhaul and turning it into a city-chic high-end space. They will try to recreate the magic once the restaurant reopens — if that ever happens.

“Every day it’s another expense,” Bova said.

Debt is piling up but there’s no relief.

Depending on how much longer this will take, Murphy says New Jersey has a strong case for federal cash assistance.

The governor says this isn’t a life sentence and hopes to give more of a heads up when indoor dining can resume.

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