Gov. Murphy Allows Bigger Gatherings, NJ Coronavirus Reopenings

NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking during a news conference on Friday, lifted the limit on outdoor gatherings and also allowed for more reopenings, while also addressing live graduations. Murphy issued the order as he announced 1,394 new coronavirus cases and 146 more deaths (you can watch it here, below).

Murphy lifted the limit on outdoor gatherings from 10 people to 25, so long as social distancing remains in place. The lifting also allowed him to reopen recreational campgrounds.

“If you’re looking forward to gathering with your neighbors for a Memorial Day cookout, you may do so so as long as social distancing and personal responsibility remain the order of the day,” Murphy said.

Here’s what the order means:

The gathering must take place entirely outdoors except for restroom use;Limit capacity to no more than 25 people at all times; Require attendees to be six feet apart at all times, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners; Prohibit contact between attendees, and no organized or contact sports; If the event is an organized gathering, the organizer should demarcate six feet of spacing in the area of the gathering to demonstrate appropriate spacing for social distancing; Limit provided seating to single individuals, spaced six feet apart, and sanitized after each use; Prohibit sharing of any physical items provided and require sanitization before and after each use; and Require contactless pay options wherever feasible.

Here’s what it also says:

Charter Boats and Recreational Businesses: The order rescinds the 10-person capacity limit on charter boats and recreational businesses opened under Executive Order No. 147, including archery ranges, batting cages, golf driving ranges, horseback riding, tennis clubs, and shooting ranges, and imposes a new 25-person capacity limitation with a requirement that individuals can remain six feet apart at all times.Parks, Beaches, Boardwalks, and Lakeshores: The order allows gatherings of no more than 25 people at State Parks and Forests, county and municipal parks, public and private beaches, boardwalks, lakes, and lakeshores, but continues to prohibit special events such as festivals, concerts, fireworks, and movies.Murphy’s action came as he braced to announce guidance on in-person graduations, probably by Tuesday. Read more: Gov. Murphy To Announce Guidance On Live NJ Graduations

Here’s what the action also means:

Recreational campgrounds can reopen as long as social distancing is adhered to with clear demarcations.The action does not yet change the ban on outdoor dining, but Murphy said he hopes take action on that “in a matter of weeks.”The action also doesn’t apply to live commencement ceremonies, although Murphy said he hopes “by early week we can offer guidance on outdoor graduations,” signaling that he may allow them.Face masks, hand sanitizer and washing hands are strongly recommended.Avoid playgrounds and organized sports.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli pointed to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that showed the “cascading” effect of a mass gatherings.

She said the report showed what happened when two ill people attended a church in March. Out of the 92 people who attended, 35 people got sick with the coronavirus and three deaths took place.

Also, 26 additional cases outside of the church, but connected to the mass gathering, took place, as well as one additional death.

Still, Murphy said New Jersey’s numbers continue to point downward, allowing for the state to move toward reopenings. Here are the hospitalization statistics:

Here are the overall cases:

The update comes as the overall number of cases rose to 152,719 and deaths rose to 10,985. Read more: NJ Coronavirus Updates: Here’s What You Need To Know

Murphy provided a timeframe on Thursday for restarting gyms, restaurants and hair salons and barbers. Read more: Gov. Murphy Provides Timeframe For NJ Salon, Gym, Dining Reopen

Watch Murphy here:

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