New Jersey easing indoor capacity restrictions for restaurants, businesses

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Indoor capacity at restaurants and other businesses in New Jersey will increase to 35%, up from the current 25%, and they will be allowed to stay open past 10 p.m., Governor Phil Murphy announced Wednesday.

But while Murphy will let the businesses stay open later, local governments will be given the flexibility to put into place their own restrictions on the hours of operation.

The maximum number of people allowed inside will still be capped at 150.

The relaxation of restrictions begin Friday, February 5, and affects restaurants, gyms, other personal care businesses, performance venues, amusement and recreation facilities, casinos, and indoor gatherings that are religious ceremonies/services, wedding ceremonies, political activities, and memorial services/funerals

"We are able to take steps forward today because of the millions of you who have taken responsibility for ending this pandemic to heart, through constant social distancing, wearing your face masks, and exercising common sense," Murphy said on Twitter.
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Raw Video: Gov. Murphy announces NJ is increasing restaurant indoor dining capacity to 35 percent.

Bar areas, however, will remain closed to seating.

The lifting of restrictions comes just days before Super Bowl Sunday, and amid an increasing outcry to ease the 10 p.m. curfew for the game, which normally extends past that time.

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Meanwhile, a revamped vaccine distribution in one of New Jersey's largest cities hit a snag Wednesday due to the nor'easter earlier in the week.

Paterson was set to launch a hybrid appointment/walk-in approach to COVID-19 vaccine distribution after its first-come, first served site led to long lines of people bundled up in the cold for hours. But due to the storm, there was a delay in shipment from the state of first doses.
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One of New Jersey's largest cities is revamping its approach to COVID-19 vaccine distribution after its first-come, first served site led to long lines of people bundled up in the

As a result, the city will only be administering 100 second dose vaccinations at International High School Wednesday.

In the coming days, officials expect a higher number of scheduled second doses. The city plans on opening the vaccination site on Saturday for first doses, as well as second doses that had to be rescheduled from the shut down on Monday.

Paterson Mayor Sayegh announced last week that starting Wednesday, vaccination sites across the city would be scheduling appointments between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. via the state registration portal.

Then, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., the site will be open for walk-ins for Paterson residents and Paterson seniors.

Officials expect there will be roughly 75 walk-in doses available per day.

The change came after hundreds of people lined up outside International High School in hopes of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, with shots available to any eligible state resident.

Critics say that led to seniors standing in the cold for hours, and Sayegh is hoping the changes will alleviate those long lines.

All six of the state's vaccine mega-sites are back open Wednesday.

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