By CBS3 Staff

NEW JERSEY (CBS) – Gov. Phil Murphy has given restaurants in the Garden State the green light to resume indoor dining at the end of this week. Murphy made the announcement Monday morning via Twitter.

Restaurants will be allowed to resume indoor dining on Friday, Sept. 4, and must adhere to social distancing guidelines between tables.

“Reopening responsibly will help us restore one of our state’s key industries while continuing to make progress against #COVID19,” Murphy tweeted.

Sabrina’s Cafe, on Haddon Avenue in Collingswood, has two outdoor spaces and they’ve been able to weather the COVID-19 pandemic while helping customers do the same.

“People are clamoring to get out of their house and be with other people, so we’re actually very fortunate and very blessed that we’re doing so well,” said Joaquin Suarez, Sabrina’s Cafe general manager.

With fall right around the corner, Suarez was pleasantly surprised to hear the governor is allowing restaurants to reopen to indoor dining, with significant restrictions of course.

The social distancing guidelines that must be followed include:

  • Customers dining at a restaurant that offers table service can only order while seated at a table
  • Only staff members can bring customers food or drinks
  • Customers seated at a table cannot go to the bar to get another drink or dish
  • Customers may sit at the bar area in a group if they are together but must be properly social distanced from other groups
  • Groups at the bar are limited to four people or less

New Jersey officials are also mandating strict ventilation requirements:

  • Windows must be opened to ensure a proper flow of fresh air into the dining areas
  • Air conditioner units must be turned so that they’re allowing for the maximum amount of outdoor air to be introduced to the dining area

Salad bars, buffets and other self-service options are still prohibited in the Garden State.

“We’ve been working hard for several months to get to this point,” Murphy said. “Our job now is to ensure that this reopening only leads to future announcements expanding the indoor capacity limits, and that we do not have to take a step backward. Everyone must pull together.”

Eileen Kean, New Jersey state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), says Gov. Murphy is making the right move but isn’t going far enough.

“We’ve got to get to 50% capacity, we’ve got to give these folks an opportunity to make some money,” Kean said. “It’s just been a real difficult road for this industry.”

Though Suarez is excited, he says Sabrina’s will be taking its time before allowing diners back inside.

“We’re treating the opening of indoors as if it’s a brand new reopening of us, so as excited as we are to open up, we’re probably going to wait a couple days after the 4th to do so ourselves,” he said.

Diners are looking forward to eating in again as well.

“It’ll be nice to have a sense of normalcy again, something that we’ve been lacking obviously for the past six months,” said Michael Aranes. “So yeah, I’m excited that things are slowing coming back to how they were before.”

New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says restaurants should provide clear signage throughout the establishment regarding the social distancing guidelines.

Restaurants are encouraged to take reservations to help control the number of people inside the establishment. Customers waiting to be seated should wait inside their cars or away from the restaurant if social distancing cannot be followed in the restaurant’s wait area.

All shared and high-touch areas in the dining room should be sanitized frequently between customers.

Gov. Murphy announced movie theaters and other indoor performance venues can also reopen on Sept. 4 in a limited capacity capped at 25% or 150 people, whichever is less.

For movie theaters, the capacity will be based on the number of screens being used. If a movie theater has four screens, each screen will be limited to 25% capacity or 150 people, whichever is less.

Customers must wear face masks while inside those businesses and social distancing is required.

Officials are also raising the capacity at indoor gatherings, including religious services and celebrations, weddings, funerals, memorial services and political activities. These gatherings are now limited to 25% capacity or 150 people, whichever is less.

CBS3’s Trang Do contributed to this report.