Gov. Phil Murphy today announced that he is signing an executive order that will increase gathering limits for various indoor events and outdoor gatherings, such as catered events and large venues, beginning May 10.
Indoor room capacities for weddings, school proms, political events, funerals, memorial services, and performances, will be increased to 50% capacity with a maximum of 250 individuals. Indoor religious services also have a 50% capacity limit, however there is no maximum cap.
Additionally, dance floors will be allowed to open at private catered events, but will not be able to open for bars and nightclubs.
Murphy also announced that on May 10, the general outdoor gathering limit will increase to 500 individuals from the current limit of 200. The governor added that the hope is to increase this limit again before Memorial Day, “perhaps substantially.”
Outdoor capacity for large venues (1,000 or more fixed seats) will also increase to 50% on May 10 – with six feet of distance between seated groups. Previously, the state defined a large venue as 2,500 seats, and that defining figure has now dropped to 1,000.
On the same date, outdoor carnivals and fairs will also be permitted to operate at 50% capacity.
“We are aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently reviewing its outdoor guidelines, and we will be prepared to relax the six foot distancing requirement outdoors accordingly should the CDC move in that direction,” Murphy added.
He reiterated that outdoor dining capacity is not subject to any numerical capacity limitation, unlike indoor dining which remains at 50% capacity, though he eluded to a potential increase to indoor dining capacity in the future.
Murphy said that he “hopes” that these are the first set of many announcements over the “next number of weeks,” and that he “fully expects” to continue the streak of announcing expansions and sticking to them.
“We are doing this both because we are expecting the downward trends to continue over the next two weeks, and because we want to give businesses the ability to plan ahead and fully prepare,” the governor said. “We are only able to make the announcements we are making today because of the improving numbers we continue to see across various metrics.”
According to state officials, hospitalizations are down 25% from April 7, a date that marked the highpoint of this spring’s uptick.
New Jersey’s rate of COVID-19 transmission also continues to decrease, and now sits at 0.90. This means that every person with the virus in the state is infecting less than 1 other person.
Additionally, there are now 2,819,226 New Jerseyans fully vaccinated, which is approximately 60% of the state’s goal to fully vaccinate 4.7 million adults by the end of June.
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