New Jersey announces tighter restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced new restrictions on gatherings as coronavirus cases reach new records in the Garden State.

Over the weekend, state health officials sounded the alarms as the state broke the record for the highest daily coronavirus cases two days in a row.

On Sunday, Gov. Murphy reported 4,500 new cases and 18 new deaths. The state has recorded 279,274 total cases and 14,765 total deaths since the start of the pandemic.

"These numbers are ALARMING and continue to rise. Take this seriously. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe," the governor wrote in a tweet.

During an interview on Good Day Philadelphia Monday, Murphy broke the news that the state would be implementing new restrictions on both indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Under the new restrictions, indoor event gatherings are limited to just 10 people and outdoor events will be limited to just 150 people.

"We think those are steps that will help, and we reserve the right, unfortunately, to take more steps if we need to," Murphy added.

Murphy went on to add that the following indoor gatherings may continue under the current rules – limited to 25% of a room’s capacity, up to 150 people:

  • Religious services/celebrations and political events
  • Weddings
  • Funerals/memorial services
  • Performances

Last week, the Democratic governor took a more measured approach to combating the second wave when he gave towns and counties the power to regulate non-essential business hours after 8 p.m.

Earlier in the week, he ordered bars and restaurants to halt indoor dining between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. while allowing them to stay open for takeout and delivery.

After announcing those restrictions last week, Murphy backed up his decision by citing a peer-reviewed study that used data from 98 million cell phones to trace 80% of new infections to indoor businesses such as restaurants and gyms.

During his interview on Good Day Philadelphia, Murphy stressed that the state is doing everything possible to keep businesses, including restaurants, open. 

He pointed to a continued focus on outdoor dining, and relaxed restrictions that allow closer table settings as long as there are physical barriers between them.



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