Reopening New Jersey: New restrictions on indoor gatherings as coronavirus transmission rates rise

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- New Jersey is reducing the limit on indoor gatherings to 25% percent capacity, with a cap of 25 people down from 100, because the rate of transmission is on the rise.

Too many indoor house parties have led to trends creeping in the wrong direction, Governor Murphy said during a news conference.

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Gov. Murphy says the pullback is needed because the transmission rate is rising

"The actions of a few knuckleheads leave us no choice," he said.

The rate of transmission, which indicates the number of people an infected person spreads the virus to, has climbed from 0.87 a month ago to 1.48 on Monday.

"We cannot be any clearer than indoor gatherings, especially large crowded ones where social distancing isn't practiced and face masks aren't worn. They just are not safe. But as I warned and we weren't on Friday, we would not hesitate to take direction to further clamp down on indoor gatherings," he said.

RELATED: More than 700 attend New Jersey Airbnb party, ignore social distancing
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Police in New Jersey say a large party with more than 700 people was broken up at an Airbnb over the weekend, with partygoers ignoring social distancing and mask regulations.

In addition to the indoor gathering restrictions, the governor also said that face coverings will be required at all times for all students in the coming school year. That's a change from before, when the state Education Department was strongly recommending face coverings for students.

"We know that face coverings work, and we will now ensure that everyone in the school building will wear one," Murphy said.

New Jersey is in the second of three reopening phases, but Murphy warned last week that virus trends are heading in the wrong direction and setting off alarm bells.

With information from the Associated Press

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