Reopening New Jersey: What will reopen and when?

Reopening New Jersey amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Thursday, July 9, 2020
New Jersey to enter Stage 2 of reopening on June 15
On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the state can enter Stage 2 of reopening on June 15.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Governor Phil Murphy unveiled a multi-stage approach to execute a responsible and strategic economic restart to put New Jersey on the road back to recovery from COVID-19.

"Through our combined efforts, we have flattened the curve of COVID-19 cases, and we are well-positioned to continue our restart and recovery process," said Governor Murphy. "Our multi-stage approach uses science, data, and facts to determine which businesses and activities can reopen according to their risk level and challenges they face to safeguard public health."

abc7NY Phase Tracker:



Diocese of Paterson reopens all 109 churches for masses, baptisms, weddings and funerals. They have been suspended since March 16th. Participants capped at 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is less. Face coverings and social distancing required. Many other restrictions listed on the Diocese of Paterson website. DOH will be releasing guidance necessary for organized sports to resume on 6/22.


Stage 2 begins.

Restaurants and bars begin offering in-person, outdoor dining. Tables must be six feet apart and other safety and sanitization protocols must be followed.

Non-essential in-person retail restarts. Stores are limited to 50% of approved capacity, customers and employees must wear face coverings and areas used by employees must be regularly sanitized.

Motor Vehicle Commission restarts drop-off and pick-up services.

Child care centers reopen

Libraries begin curbside pickup.

Archdiocese of Newark resumes public weekday masses, funerals, baptisms and weddings. Number of participants limited to 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is less.

First church-based COVID-19 testing site opens at St. Matthew AME in Orange. Testing will be available from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM by appointment only.


Archdiocese of Newark enters Phase 3. Sunday Mass can resume with face coverings, social distancing and at 50% capacity. This is subject to change.


Personal care businesses like beauty salons, barbershops, nail and tanning salons reopen.

Municipal and private-club swimming pools reopen.

Non-contact organized sports resume.

Outdoor gatherings may now increase from 100 to 250 persons maximum - still no limit for outdoor religious or political activities

Indoor gatherings are now limited to 25% of capacity - but cannot exceed 100 persons


New Jersey indoor shopping malls reopened their doors to shoppers with restrictions.


Outdoor amusement parks, outdoor water parks and playgrounds reopened.

Museums, aquariums, indoor recreation facilities including indoor bowling alleys, batting cages, shooting ranges, and the arcades along our boardwalks, and libraries reopened at 25% capacity.

Atlantic City casinos reopened, but with no indoor food or beverage and no smoking. The Borgata decided to delay its reopening as a result.


Limit for outdoor gatherings increases to 500.


NJ Transit rail and light rail service will return to its full weekday schedule.

Summer camps can start. Face coverings and daily health screenings required for campers and staff.

Outdoor graduations with up to 500 people can be held.

School districts can conduct in-person summer school, including Extended School Year and special education services.


Motor Vehicle Commission began walk-in customer service, road tests, licenses and registrations.


Indoor entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, and nightclubs, will remain closed. Gyms and fitness centers will remain closed as well, although individualized training sessions by appointment will be allowed.

Indoor dining, which was initially to resume on July 2, has been delayed.

Here's a timeline of some of the actions taken by Gov. Murphy thus far:

- On April 27, Governor Phil Murphy announced his vision, "The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health," to restart New Jersey and put the state on the road to recovery.

- On March 9, State Parks and Forests were reopened for passive recreation. County and local parks were allowed to reopen.

- On May 12, Governor Murphy announced a comprehensive strategy to expand testing capacity and implement a robust contact tracing program for New Jersey.

- On May 12, car gatherings and drive-in businesses were allowed.

- On May 17, charter fishing and watercraft rental businesses reopened.

- On May 18, non-essential construction resumed and non-essential retail opened for curbside pickup.

- On May 20, in-person sales at car and motorcycle dealerships and at bicycle shops can resume.

- On May 22, all public and private beaches, boardwalks, lakes, and lakeshores can reopen reopened. Recreational campgrounds, both public and private, also reopened.

- On May 22, some outdoor recreational businesses may restart their operations, including batting cages and golf ranges, shooting and archery ranges, horseback riding, private tennis clubs, and community gardens.

- On May 22, the limit on outdoor gatherings, including the capacity limit for some outdoor recreational businesses, was increased from 10 to 25 individuals.

- On May 26, elective surgeries and invasive procedures, both medical and dental, will begin to resume.

- On May 29, Murphy announced that child care services will be allowed to resume on June 15, organized sports on June 22, and youth camps -- including municipal summer recreation programs -- on July 6. Additionally, the governor said horse racing can resume as early as the weekend of June 5.

- On June 1, Murphy announced the state can enter Stage 2 of reopening on June 15 as outdoor and dining at restaurants and non-essential in-person retail can begin effective June 15, while salons and barber shops can open on June 22. If COVID-19 numbers continue to come down, plans are to allow summer programs for kids to kick off on July 6th. There is no date yet on when gyms and health clubs can reopen at reduced capacity.

- On June 8, Murphy announced that municipal and private-club swimming pools can reopen on Monday, June 22.

- On June 9, Murphy signed an executive order lifting the stay-at-home order and expanding the size of allowable gatherings, though he urged residents to continue practicing social distancing.

Governor Murphy's multi-stage approach to reopening includes the following stages:


Maximum restrictions with most individuals staying at home and activity limited to essential tasks.

- Permitted activities and businesses include:

- Emergency health care

- Essential construction

- Manufacturing

- Essential retail, including grocery stores and pharmacies


Restrictions relaxed on low-risk activities if appropriately safeguarded. New Jersey is currently in this stage.

Phased-in businesses may include:

- Non-essential, but easiest to safeguard, work activities at physical locations if they meet safeguarding and modification guidelines. For example, non-essential construction with protections.

- Some non-essential retail may open with significant modifications. For example, curbside pickup.

- All workers who can work from home continue to work from home even if their industry is reopening. For example, an office manager for a construction company.

- Phased-in activities include State and county parks, non-essential construction, curbside retail, drive-in activities, beaches, and elective surgeries.


Restrictions are relaxed on additional activities that can be easily safeguarded.

Phased-in businesses may include:

- More work activities are allowed at physical locations only if they adhere to safeguarding and modification guidelines. For example, work activities to be phased-in over the course of Stage 2 may include expanded retail, safeguarded restaurants with outdoor seating, limited personal care, and possibly indoor dining, museums, and libraries, all with significantly reduced capacity.

- All workers who can work from home continue to work from home. For example, a buying manager for restaurants.

- Some personal care services may be provided on a limited basis.


Restrictions are relaxed on most activities with significant safeguarding.

Phased-in businesses include:

- More work activities, including in-person meetings, are allowed at physical locations only if they can adhere to safeguarding guidelines and modifications. For example, work activities to be phased-in over the course of Stage 3 may include expanded dining, critical in-office work, limited entertainment, expanded personal care, and bars with limited capacity.

- All workers who can work from home continue to work from home. For example, accounting office workers.

- Personal care services may be provided on a more extended basis.

- Precautions that apply across all stages include:

- Work that can be done from home should continue to be done from home.

- Clinically high-risk individuals who can stay at home should continue to do so.

- All residents and businesses should follow state and federal safeguarding guidelines:

  • Wash hands
  • Wear masks in public
  • Respect social distancing
  • Minimize gatherings
  • Disinfect workplace and businesses
  • Minimize gatherings
  • No mass gatherings
  • New Jersey will move toward subsequent stages based on data that demonstrates improvements in public health and the capacity to safeguard the public, including:

    - Sustained improvements in public health indicators, including new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, individuals in intensive care, and ventilator use.

    - Substantial increase in testing and contact tracing capacity.

    - Sufficient resilience in New Jersey's health care system to include adequate bed capacity, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and workforce.

    - Widespread safeguarding of workplaces.

    - Widespread safeguarding and capacity of child care, schools, and transit.

    - Continued public compliance.

    If public health indicators, safeguarding, or compliance worsen on a sustained basis, New Jersey will be prepared to move back to more restrictive stages as well.

    In late April, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy unveiled his detailed road map to reopen the state.

    Before the state reopens, Murphy said four factors are key: a sustained drop in the curve, expanded testing, contact tracing, and safe places for people to isolate.

    He outlined 6 principles for reopening New Jersey:

    Principle 1: Demonstrate Sustained Reductions in New COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations

    --14-day trend lines showing appreciable and sustained drop in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and other metrics reflecting decreasing burden of disease;

    --Hospitals stepping down from functioning under crisis standards of care.

    Principle 2: Expand Testing Capacity

    --At least double current diagnostic testing capacity;

    --Prioritize testing for health care workers, essential personnel, and vulnerable populations;

    --Create a flexible testing plan accessible to all residents;

    --Expand partnerships with institutions of higher education, private-sector labs, and the federal government;

    --Ensure that those who test positive are linked to a health care provider.

    Principle 3: Implement Robust Contact Tracing

    --Recruit and deploy an army of personnel who will identify and follow-up with contacts;

    --Leverage technological data and innovative solutions to increase efficiency;

    --Coordinate the approach of local and state health officials, which will have a coordinated county/regional component.

    Principle 4: Secure Safe Places and Resources for Isolation and Quarantine

    -To the greatest extent possible, provide individuals who do test positive in the future with a safe and free place to isolate and protect others from COVID-19;

    -Ensure that quarantined contacts are provided supportive services if needed.

    Principle 5: Execute a Responsible Economic Restart

    --Create the Governor's Restart and Recovery Commission to advise on the process and recommend responsible and equitable decisions;

    --Plan for a methodical and strategic return to work based on level of disease transmission risk and essential classification;

    --Continuation of social distancing measures, requirements for face coverings, and work-from-home directions where feasible and appropriate;

    --Leverage any available federal funds and programs to support health care, individual, and small business recoveries.

    Principle 6: Ensure New Jersey's Resiliency

    --Learn from the lessons of COVID-19 and prepare for the possibility of a resurgence;

    --Ensure hospitals, health care systems, and other health delivery facilities have inventories of personal protective equipment and ventilators;

    --Build our own state personal protective equipment and ventilator stockpile;

    --Create a playbook for future administrations for the next pandemic.

    Murphy said to expect to see the continuation of social distancing measures, including potential requirements for face coverings in certain locations and for work-from-home directives for employees who do not need to report to a physical location.

    The plan to reopen, he said, will be driven by data, science, health progress, and common sense and is designed with only one goal: To restore the health, strength, and well-being of New Jersey for the long term.


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