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August 02, 2020

COVID-19 restrictions could be tightened if case numbers continue to climb, Gov. Murphy says

The state reported a daily average of about 550 new coronavirus infections by the end of July, compared to roughly 350 additional cases by the end of June

Government Coronavirus
New Jersey COVID-19 cases Edwin J. Torres/New Jersey Office of the Governor

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that the new coronavirus infections across the state "are setting alarms off."

As coronavirus infections continue to increase across the state, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that restrictions could be reimplemented to further mitigate the spread of the virus.

New Jersey reported a daily average of approximately 350 new COVID-19 cases at the end of June, Murphy said. Now, the state is recording roughly 550 additional coronavirus infections per day by the end of July. Murphy said that “the alarms are going off” as the case numbers continue to grow.

Additionally, the statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission has ticked up to 1.35, a number which state officials believe will only continue to increase.

“The numbers are setting off alarms that we are taking and we take very seriously,” Murphy said on Friday. “We still may be among the leaders in having the lower case numbers and daily positivity rates. We don’t take that for granted, but we are standing in a very dangerous place.”

“The only way to silence these alarms and get back to the process of moving forward is for everyone to take them seriously. Not just most of you, but all of you, all of us. We are not past this. Everyone who walks around refusing to wear a mask or who hosts an indoor house party or who overstuffs a boat is directly contributing to these increases. This has to stop, and it has to stop now.”

New Jersey is still among the ten states nationwide with the lowest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, as well as among the five states nationwide with the lowest daily percent positivity, Murphy said.

However, Murphy said that the state has the right and power to further tighten its COVID-19 restrictions, such as lowering the indoor gatherings limit.

“Consider this as being put on notice,” Murphy said. “We will not tolerate these devil-may-care, nonchalant attitudes any longer.”

“Whether it’s enforcement or changing our policy, you should assume we’re not going to sit and take this much longer.”

Earlier this week, Murphy called on residents to stop hosting house parties, as several COVID-19 outbreaks have been traced to indoor gatherings. 

A house party in Middletown, Monmouth County last week has produced at least 50 new COVID-19 cases among teens between the ages of 15-19. 

At least 35 beach patrol members in Harvey Cedars and Surf City tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a house party on Long Beach Island.

Last weekend, police broke up a house party of about 700 people in Jackson, Ocean County. It's not clear yet how many coronavirus infections are a result of that gathering.

New Jersey is permitting outdoor gatherings of up to 500 people. But indoor gatherings remain capped at either 25% capacity or 100 people — whichever number is lower.

The state requires people to wear face coverings outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible in public settings. Face masks are required at all times when inside public spaces — even when social distancing is possible.

The state has had 182,029 confirmed coronavirus cases and 13,955 lab-confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March.

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