New Jersey coronavirus update: Gov. Murphy announces increase in capacity for outdoor, indoor events

Coronavirus Update

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Monday, April 26, 2021
New Jersey to ease restrictions for outdoor, indoor events
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Anthony Johnson reports on the reopening efforts in New Jersey.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced an ease in restrictions for indoor and outdoor events effective May 10.

Indoor room capacities for events like weddings, proms and funerals will increase to 50% with a maximum of 250 individuals.

Governor Phil Murphy made the announcement Monday.

General outdoor gathering limit will increase to 500 individuals.

"Should our public health metrics continue to trend as they have been, we would hope to increase this limit yet again before Memorial Day," Murphy said.

Outdoor capacity for large venues (1,000 or more fixed seats) will increase to 50% - with six feet of distance between seated groups.

Outdoor carnivals and fairs are permitted to operate at 50% capacity, aligned with other amusement businesses.

Murphy said the state is also finalizing an executive order and follow-up guidance for the safe operations of both day and overnight summer camps.

"We will have those details for you in two days," Murphy said.

The governor reminded residents that outdoor dining is not subject to a numerical capacity limitation.

"The only limitation is the number of groups you can place outdoors that can be spaced six feet apart," Murphy said.

Indoor dining will remain at 50% capacity.

As far as proms and graduations go, the Department of Education and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education will issue specific guidance later Monday.

Murphy indicated last week that an announcement on outdoor activities like graduations and summer at the beaches was forthcoming.

"We don't want to lurch," Murphy said. "We're the only state in America that has not lurched, in other words, gone forward and then had to pull something back. We don't want to start that now. But we also owe people our best guess as to what it's going to look like for graduations, summer on the beaches, and whatnot."

He stressed the state would not be lifting business restrictions like Connecticut, which has essentially reopened fully with only an indoor mask requirement.

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51,000 students who opted in over the past month will return, marking the first time they will see the inside of their classrooms in more than a year.

"If we think there is an opportunity to do something bolder than incremental, we will do it," Murphy said. "But the numbers just don't suggest that at the moment."

Instead, New Jersey's reopening will continue to be incremental.

"We haven't opened something and then had to pull it back," he said. "I'm proud of that. It's given people a sense of consistency, which I think has been very valuable. I think without question we will be able to open further if the numbers continue to improve, but I think we will do it step by step."

The announcement comes just a few days after Johnson & Johnson got the green light from federal officials to resume administering their vaccine more than a week after it was paused due to the potential for a rare blood clotting disorder.

The CDC determined the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks, and an updated fact sheet details the warning.

In New Jersey, officials alerted providers guidance for restarting the shots.

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