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June 09, 2020

New Jersey ends stay-at-home order, eases restrictions on outdoor, indoor gatherings

Reopening plan continues moving forward amid COVID-19 pandemic

Government Coronavirus
New Jersey coronavirus restrictions Edwin J. Torres/New Jersey Office of the Governor

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy does not want residents to let up on their social distancing despite the relaxing of restrictions on gatherings and ending the stay-at-home order.

For the first time in almost three months, New Jersey is no longer under a stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The order, which was implemented at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 21 to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, was lifted effective immediately on Tuesday.

The state has also further eased restrictions on outdoor and indoor gatherings. Outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are now permitted, and indoor gatherings at either 25% of the building’s capacity or 50 people total — whichever number is lower — can take place. Those changes also take effect immediately.

Only First Amendment-protected outdoor activities, such as political protests and outdoor religious services, can take place with gatherings exceeding 100 people. 

All outdoor recreational and entertainment businesses that had been closed due to the coronavirus outbreak can reopen – except for amusement parks, water parks, and arcades.

Gov. Phil Murphy said the intent of increasing the indoor gatherings limit is to allow for more religious services to resume. Indoor dining is not permitted to resume yet, and those who can work from home should continue doing so, Murphy said.

Outdoor gatherings are expected to increase to as many as 250 people by June 22 and 500 people by July 3, Murphy said. School districts planning to hold graduation ceremonies later this summer should prepare for a 500-person limit.

Murphy said that the decision to lift the stay-at-home order and ease restrictions on gatherings was made due to the continued improvement of public health indicators. The governor also reiterated that outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities.

Repeating his mantra that public health creates economic health, Murphy urged residents to continue being responsible and safe by wearing face coverings and social distancing in public until a vaccine becomes available.

Along with instituting a stay-at-home order on March 21, Murphy banned all public and private gatherings across the state. He then announced on May 22 that outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people could resume.

New Jersey moves into the second phase of its reopening plan on June 15, when outdoor dining and in-person nonessential retail can resume.

Hair salons, barber shops, and swimming pools will reopen on June 22. Gyms and health clubs could be permitted to reopen soon, along with indoor dining at a significantly-reduced capacity and museums and libraries, depending on the continued improvement of the state’s COVID-19 testing and expnsion of contact tracing programs. Murphy has warned restrictions could be reinstituted if \ COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations spike. 

Presently, New Jersey remains in the first stage of its three-phase reopening plan that the governor unveiled three weeks ago to gradually transition business and social activities to a "new normal." 

Restrictions on low-risk activities have been relaxed, with health and safety guidelines put in place. Those measures have included the reopening of parks and beaches, the resumption of nonessential construction and the ability for businesses to offer curbside pickupDaycare centers, youth day camps and organized non-contact outdoor sports are slated to resume in the coming weeks too.

During the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, only essential businesses were permitted to operate.

Stage 3 will allow for most activities and businesses to operate with significant safety measures still in place. It will permit critical in-office work and bars to reopen with limited capacities. Some entertainment options also will resume. 

New Jersey reported an 375 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases up to 164,796. The state recorded 91 new deaths due to COVID-19, increasing the statewide death toll due to the virus to 12,303.

South Jersey has had 20,321 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,238 deaths due to COVID-19.

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