Murphy Lowers Limit on Outdoor Gatherings; Pauses Sports Until January

Gov. Phil Murphy today announced that the legal limit for outdoor gatherings has been lowered to just 25 people, effective Dec. 7 at 6:00 a.m.

“While we know that outdoor environments are safer than indoor environments, any type of mass gathering creates risk,” Murphy said. “We continue to urge you to keep gatherings as small as possible, particularly with individuals outside of your household.

However, Murphy said that funerals and memorial services, wedding ceremonies, and religious and political activities are exempt from the new outdoor gathering limit. He added that outdoor dining is unaffected by the limit as well, stating that restaurants will continue to be governed by the health and safety regulations already in place.

The governor also announced that effective this Saturday, Dec. 5 at 6:00am, all indoor youth and adult sports are on pause through January 2, 2021, including all practices and games. While collegiate and professional sports are exempt from the restriction, competition teams from private instruction businesses, such as gymnastics or martial arts, are not exempted. However, individual classes and training sessions provided by those businesses are still permitted at this time.

However, Murphy did take time to dispel the notion that New Jersey was headed for a total statewide lockdown/shutdown, stating, “Those rumors are just that – rumors. Just because we say that all options are on the table does not mean that we are about to exercise any of those options. We have made it clear over the past weeks that we are not in the same situation that we found ourselves in during the Spring when we had to take drastic action to regain control.”

He said his main concern continues to be the situation at the state’s hospitals, which, coupled with surging cases, are seeing an influx of COVID-19-related patients.

“Maintaining the stability of our healthcare system and ensuring the ability of our frontline healthcare workers to treat patients, starts with implementing restrictions that will keep fewer people from becoming a hospital patient in the first place,” Murphy said.

As of last night, there were 2,761 patients hospitalized with confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, and an additional 200 patients under investigation awaiting test results. A total of 575 patients were in intensive care units, with 332 requiring a ventilator.

There were also 263 patients discharged yesterday, however, that number was replaced by 378 patients who were newly admitted.

There was also a positive COVID-19 case at the New Jersey Department of Health, which has caused a number of health department workers, including Commissioner Judy Persichilli, to quarantine as a precaution.

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