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June 22, 2020

New Jersey set to resume indoor dining, reopen casinos at limited capacities on July 2

Outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people are now permitted across the state

Government COVID-19
Indoor dining New Jersey Jay Wennington/via Unsplash

Indoor dining has not been permitted during the COVID-19 pandemic in New Jersey.

New Jersey restaurants will be permitted to resume in-person, indoor dining and the state's casinos can reopen—each at 25% capacity—on July 2, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

The state will issue additional health and safety guidelines later this week, Murphy said. 

The limit on outdoor gatherings has been increased from 100 people to 250 people, and there are no capacity restrictions for religious or political activities that take place outdoors. The capacity limit for outdoor gatherings is expected to increase to 500 people by July 4.

The limit on indoor gatherings has been increased from 50 people to 100 people or 25% capacity—whichever number is lower.

Along with casinos, racetracks across New Jersey can reopen to the public on July 2—as long as social distancing is practiced, face coverings are worn, and no more than 250 people are allowed at the venue.

Murphy cited the continued improvement of public health indicators, such as the decline in the rate of COVID-19 spread, the daily percentage of positive coronavirus test results, and the improved capacity of the state's health care and hospital system, for the state's ability to continue moving forward with its reopening plans.

Murphy once again encouraged people to continue wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, and exercising good hygiene. He warned, however, that restrictions could be reimplemented if public health indicators turn in the wrong direction.

"That's the last thing I want to do," Murphy said. "So let's keep using common sense for the common good."

Murphy also warned casino-goers that they will be reprimanded if they do not follow the health and safety guidelines.

"We're not going to tolerate any knuckleheads trying to ruin it for those who wish to enjoy themselves responsibly."

Indoor dining in New Jersey has been prohibited during the entire COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants and bars were only permitted to offer takeout and delivery service. But since last week, outdoor dining has been allowed.

The return of indoor dining at reduced capacities had been outlined as part of the second phase of New Jersey’s three-step reopening plan for coronavirus pandemicNew Jersey's casinos have been closed since March 16 to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Nonessential in-person retail shopping, childcare services, curbside pickup at libraries, and drop-off and and pick-up services at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission locations resumed last week.

Personal care businesses, such as hair, nail and tanning salons, reopened on Monday, as well as swimming pools and organized sports. Additionally, camping in some state parks, forests, and recreation centers restarted on Monday.

Shopping malls can reopen Monday, June 29, but food courts, movie theaters, and seating areas must remain closed. Limited instruction at colleges and universities across New Jersey can restart on July 1. Youth day camps are set to resume on July 6.

When New Jersey enters Stage 3, most activities and businesses will be allowed to resume with safety measures in place. Murphy said on Monday that, if New Jersey's reopening process continues going well, the state could move into the third phase soon. 

The governor also teased other reopening announcements later this week.

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