It seems like it’s been months of closures and cancellations, but this week some signs of normalcy returned as outdoor dining was permitted beginning June 15.

Restaurants have arranged their outdoor seating areas to allow for adequate distancing of six feet between tables, and parties are limited to a maximum of eight, with some restaurants enforcing smaller limits. Tables, chairs, and menus are wiped down between uses. Restaurants with liquor licenses can serve outdoors, but smoking is prohibited.

U.S. 1 is marking the return of the restaurant scene with a profile of a restaurant that had reinvented itself prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Americana Kitchen and Bar, formerly the Americana Diner, on Route 130 in East Windsor, has undergone extensive renovations to both its appearance and to its menu offerings. Its patio, which seats around 100 under normal circumstances, opened to customers on June 16. George Point has the full story.

Our sister publications at Community News Service are also keeping close tabs on the ever-evolving dining scene in the Mercer County region. A list of restaurants offering takeout, delivery, and in-person dining, sorted by town, is frequently updated on www.communitynews.org.

Readers can also follow along on the Mercer Eats page on Facebook, which is updated regularly with restaurant openings, news, and special offers, and on Instagram.

A number of pieces in this week’s paper also reflect a very different theme of our current, challenging times: the racism and systemic injustice against blacks. On page 5, a work of memoir by Jock McFarlane tells a story of a black classmate in the 1950s on what was an essentially all-white college campus. The accompanying poem, by Scott McVay, addresses misunderstandings that can occur when cultures collide. On page 15, Pia de Jong takes an outsider’s perspective on the recent protests that took place in the streets of Princeton.

To the Editor: Be Aware of Primary Election Changes

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area reminds the public of changes to the upcoming July 7 Primary Election. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this election will be conducted primarily with mail-in ballots with limited in-person voting options available. Here is a summary of the changes in place for this election:

How to get a ballot: You should be receiving your mail-in ballots very soon. The ballots will automatically be sent by county election offices to all active registered Republican and Democratic voters and have prepaid postage.

You must be affiliated with a political party to vote in a primary election. All unaffiliated voters and inactive Republican and Democratic voters will receive a vote-by-mail application. It will have pre-paid postage.

The deadline to apply by mail to receive a mail-in ballot is Tuesday, June 30. Your county clerk must receive mailed applications by that date.

How to vote using your mail-in ballot: You can return your mail-in ballot by placing it in your mailbox using the U.S. Postal Service. The ballot must be postmarked on or before July 7 and received by the Board of Elections by 8 p.m. on July 14, 2020, to be considered

There will also be some secure ballot drop box locations in each county. Specific locations of these boxes will be announced by the county clerks in the next few weeks. If you submit your mail-in ballot using a drop box, you must return the ballot on or before July 7, 2020, prior to 8 p.m.

You can also return your mail-in ballot in person to your county Board of Elections by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7.

Can I vote at a polling place? Each municipality will have some polling places, but there will be fewer than the normal amount, as voting by mail is strongly recommended for public health reasons.

Polling place locations will scheduled to be announced June 15, and voters will receive mailed notification of polling locations. Voters will not receive sample ballots.

CDC guidelines for polling place safety and sanitation will be followed. Those who vote at polling locations will vote using a paper provisional ballot.

Voters with disabilities may vote on ADA-accessible voting machines at the polling places.

Voters cannot return voted mail-in ballots to polling places.

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area encourages active and informed participation in our democracy. Voters should pay close attention to these election changes and deadlines to ensure their voices are heard and their votes count. For information specific to your location, check this link: www.state.nj.us/state/elections/election-information-2020.shtml.

The Princeton Area League of Women Voters has members — both men and women — from the Central New Jersey communities of Kendall Park, Kingston, Montgomery, Plainsboro, Princeton, Rocky Hill, South Brunswick, and West Winds-or. New members and volunteers are welcome.

For information, please visit our website: www.lwvprinceton.org.

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