By ERIN ROLL
Cuban Pete’s is facing a second executive order violation for allowing indoor dining on the premises, police said.
Police arrived at the restaurant on Bloomfield Avenue at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23, after receiving a noise complaint. When officers arrived, they saw three indoor tables occupied by at least 15 people, Police Capt. Scott Buehler said.
The restaurant’s owner, Dominick Restaino, who did not return a request for comment, was charged with violating the state’s executive order against indoor dining.
Under the terms of Executive Orders 150 and 158, restaurants and bars can not offer indoor dining due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuban Pete’s was also cited for indoor dining on Friday, Aug. 7. Police were called to the restaurant, along with staff from the Montclair Health Department, after receiving a tip that indoor dining was taking place at the eatery. When police arrived, they saw several outdoor tables occupied, but not spaced for social distancing. Inside, police found diners eating indoors in two dining areas.
In that incident, police said Restaino told them that the patrons seated themselves inside when it began to rain.
The Aug. 7 violation was among those mentioned by State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan during a COVID press briefing in Trenton on Aug. 10.
Indoor dining was scheduled to resume in New Jersey on June 22. However, state officials decided to postpone the resumption of indoor dining, due to concerns over COVID-19 spikes in states that had permitted the resumption of indoor dining. Gov. Phil Murphy cited the sedentary nature of dining in close quarters, without masks and with air conditioning, as risks for spreading the virus.
“Penalties imposed, if any, are at the discretion of the court, depending upon the disposition of the case,” Buehler said, when asked what penalties might be incurred for a second executive order violation.