BELMAR — D’Jais Bar and Grill has always been a popular spot, but the past few weekends it has been too popular.
As videos of large crowds dancing away at the bar hit social media, borough and state officials are working with owners to clamp down on overcrowding.
Mayor Mark Walsifer said that the borough’s police officers were trying to control the lines outside D’Jais, located on Ocean Avenue, and staff at the establishment tried to keep social distancing guidelines at the bar, but the number of patrons was overwhelming.
“The big issue is that the young people that are going to D’Jais seemed to be figuring that the pandemic is over,” the mayor said on Tuesday. “They didn’t care about social distancing; they just wanted to go to a club.”
“D’Jais just got overwhelmed … That Saturday night was a bad situation for everybody,” he added.
Mayor Walsifer said he has been working with the owners of D’Jais on ways to keep the bar open and has also communicated with Monmouth County officials and Gov. Phil Murphy’s office.
This upcoming weekend looks “picture perfect,” Mayor Walsifer said, and the borough will be watching to see how crowded the establishment will be.
Owners of D’Jais find themselves in a very difficult situation. Patrons are looking for an escape from the global health pandemic and other popular bars in the area have not opened this year.
This, according to D’Jais marketing manager John Bonevich, contributed to the large crowds at D’Jais last weekend.
On Tuesday, Gov. Murphy described instances of people crowding together at bars and not wearing face masks as “knucklehead” behavior.
“I know many people think that just because the weather is hot, they can’t catch the coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” the governor said. “I know many young people think this virus isn’t after them. In every case, you are wrong.”
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