New Jersey lifts indoor capacity limits on businesses, social distancing still required

New Jersey on Wednesday lifted most capacity restrictions on indoor and outdoor businesses, and raised the number of people allowed indoors at household events like birthday parties and other get-togethers. 

Places like restaurants, gyms, retail stores and houses of worship no longer have to follow a percentage-based capacity number in the Garden State. However, the uncapped number of people will still need to account for six feet of social distancing.

New Jersey still requires indoor mask-wearing for all people despite updated guidance from the CDC last week that said fully vaccinated people no longer have to mask or maintain social distance inside or outside. 

Governor Phil Murphy said that fully vaccinated people can forgo masks outside, but hasn’t lifted an indoor mandate. The governor said it’s "only a matter of time," perhaps weeks before the mask mandate is lifted in New Jersey.

New Jersey on Wednesday removed its limit on people who can gather outside for social get-togethers or celebrations. The state also bumped up the indoor gathering limit for private social gatherings from 25 people to 50 people.

Large outdoor venues in New Jersey, including performance centers and stadiums, no longer have to adhere to a capacity cap. Outdoor catered events are also no longer tied to capacity restrictions. 

Meanwhile, entertainment centers, including movie theaters, performing arts centers, and other concert venues, can only allow up to 250 people with social distancing. Likewise, indoor wedding receptions, funerals, and political events are also capped at 250 people.

While other states have rushed to reopen following increased vaccination rates and the CDC's updated guidance for fully vaccinated people, New Jersey has continued to take it slow. Last week Murphy said he would let the state's public health emergency expire in mid-June. 

"It’s the beginning of the end of a crisis that has tragically claimed the lives of an unimaginable number of New Jerseyans and impacted the lives and livelihoods of nearly everyone," Sweeney said.

New Jersey has gone from among the top states with the most cases per capita in the country earlier this year to the bottom half of states with new coronavirus cases.

New cases over the past two weeks have fallen by more than 50%, and have been declining at a similar rate for days.

So far about 43% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Murphy has set a goal of vaccinating 70% of adults, or 4.7 million people, by June 30.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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