After over 10 weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is signing a directive lifting a stay-at-home order that has been in place since late March, also increasing capacity for gatherings both indoors and outdoors with a separate order.
“Today, the stay-at-home order which has been in place since March 21st, is being lifted. With more and more of our businesses reopening, we are no longer requiring you to stay at home, but we are asking you to continue to be responsible and safe,” Murphy said minutes ago at his daily coronavirus press briefing in Trenton.
“And when you do go out, please continue to wear face coverings and keep a social distance from others whenever possible. Let’s keep this in mind: research shows that stay-at-home orders have saved lives, in our case, hundreds if not thousands.”
In a subsequent executive order, indoor gatherings are now allowed to have either 25 percent of a building’s capacity or 50 people, whichever number is lower – effective immediately.
Murphy said this decision came partly so that religious services could again take place in person.
“And yes this order will allow for greater indoor religious services. We have not only heard from our partners in the faith communities, but we have worked closely with many of them and we believe this represents a responsible plan that ensures religious services will be appropriately distanced and as safe as possible.”
Additionally, the capacity on outdoor gathering will now be allowed to quadruple: up from a 25-person maximum capacity to a 100-person maximum capacity.
The governor also indicated that outdoor religious services and political protests are now exempt from capacity limits, one day after facing heat for marching in a George Floyd rally in Hillside.
“There will now explicitly be an exception allowing outdoor gatherings of more than 100 persons for 1st Amendment protected outdoor activities, such as political protests of any persuasion or outdoor religious services.”
Furthermore, Murphy said that outdoor activities can grow to 250 people by June 22nd, and 500 people by July 3rd, opening the door for more standard types of outdoor graduations.
Finally, all outdoor entertainment businesses are now allowed to open, with the exception of water parks, amusement parks, and arcades.
“Social distancing must remain our practice and our priority. Wearing face masks must remains out practice and our priority and that’s because it’s worked.”
Jersey City, Hoboken, Bayonne, and North Bergen have all publicly announced plans to accommodate restaurants who will resume operations on Monday, June 15th, with primarily outdoor dining.