As we see an influx of visitors from other states, and a large number of residents coming home after taking a trip, we're seeing a rise in COVID cases.

Russo's Italian Restaurant in Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island has made the difficult decision to take a step backward and close the restaurant to outdoor dining. Again. They will still remain open for pickup and delivery.

I'm not sure how many times this needs to be said, but this is not going to end until we take it seriously. Since Day One people have been shrugging this off, even after it was shown that shutting things down, social distancing, and wearing a mask did make an impact on the numbers.

We knew that with summer coming, tourists visiting, and New Jersey residents heading to other states then coming home...these would all lead to a rise in numbers, but this should be the sort of thing that makes people realize it is serious.

It's great that Russo's made this choice on their own. I feel terrible for the owners who are about to miss out on their busiest time; I feel terrible for the staff who suddenly lost their income. Still, it's good that Russo's was able to make the choice themselves, rather than get shut down by a government mandate. I hate to say it, but it does seem like there is great potential for another lockdown that would make every restaurant close for outdoor dining yet again.

I feel it's worth repeating that I am not just some government bootlicker, but I'm aware that they are the ones who make the rules. They can make life a LOT harder for everyone, but if you would just not crowd the boardwalks, just not crowd the beaches, and just wear a damn mask, we won't see another wave of sickness and another lockdown.


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