March 29, 2021
New Jersey is expanding its definition of a large venue in an effort to allow more people to attend sports games and entertainment events amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Venues with capacities of at least 2,500 people will be considered a large venue, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday. The previous threshold was 5,000 people.
Additionally, capacity limits at large, indoor venues will double from 10% to 20%. Occupancy limits at large, outdoor venues will jump from 15% to 30%. All of the amended restrictions take effect Friday.
The state began allowing fans at sports stadiums and entertainment venues earlier this month for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Face masks are required except when eating or drinking and spectators must practice social distancing at all times, Murphy said.
"Based on discussions with our large venues, we know that at 20% capacity our venues can still ensure all groups remain six feet apart in all directions," Murphy said. "This means we can safely take this step and welcome more fans into our arenas."
New Jersey's capacity limit on general outdoor gatherings will increase from 50 to 200 people. The state's indoor gatherings limit will remain at no more than 25 people.
"The reason we are increasing the outdoor limit is that as the weather gets warmer, we are urging everyone to engage in social activities outside whenever possible," Murphy said. "We know this virus is many times more transmissible indoors than it is outdoors. Any type of larger gathering is safer for everyone if it can be held outside."
The amended capacity limits do not apply to religious ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services or performances. They are limited to 150 people indoors or 35% capacity, whichever number is less. They are not subjected to capacity limits outdoors, so long as social distancing is enforced and masks are worn.
Banquet halls and similar venues also will be permitted to host any private, indoor event that is catered. This includes weddings, confirmations and bar mitzvahs. These event spaces must adhere to the 35% or 150 people occupancy limit.