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Governor Announces Loosened COVID-19 Restrictions

Gov. Phil Murphy has announced the easing of restrictions for a variety of activities and higher outdoor capacity limits, effective May 10. The changes, which include higher outdoor gathering limits, higher large venue outdoor capacities, higher maximum capacities for private catered events, and more, come as COVID-19 metrics are on the decline and as more New Jerseyans continue to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

The changes include:

Outdoor Gatherings: The outdoor gathering limit will be raised to 500 persons from 200 persons. COVID-19 metrics will continue to be evaluated with the hope of raising the limit again, perhaps considerably, prior to Memorial Day.

Large Venue Outdoor Capacity: Outdoor capacity limits will be raised to 50 percent capacity for venues with 1,000 fixed seats or more. The current limit is 30 percent capacity for venues with 2,500 fixed seats or more. All attendees at these events are required to be six feet apart from other attendees, except that individuals who purchase or reserve tickets together may be seated together, but must be six feet away from all other groups or individuals in all directions.

Maximum Capacity for Indoor

Certain Indoor Activities: Capacity limits for indoor private catered events, including proms, will be raised to 50 percent capacity of the room in which the event is being held with a maximum of 250 individuals. The current limit is 35 percent capacity of the room in which the event is held with a maximum of 150 individuals. These events must continue to follow all indoor dining protocols.

The limit for political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services, and performances occurring indoors will similarly increase to 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 250 individuals. Indoor religious services will continue to operate at 50 percent capacity, without a numerical cap.

Dance Floors at Indoor Catered Events: Dance floors will be permitted to open at indoor private catered events, including proms with masking and social distancing requirements in place. Dance floors will remain closed at bars and other related businesses, such as nightclubs.

Graduations and Proms: Schools and universities will be able to utilize the newly-raised outdoor gathering and large venue capacity limits to hold more robust graduation ceremonies. Proms will benefit from the increases to indoor private catered event capacity and the allowance of dance floors at such events. The Department of Education (DOE) and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) will be issuing guidance to assist schools and institutions in preparing for these end-of-year events.

Carnivals and Fairs: Effective May 10, carnivals and fairs are explicitly permitted to operate at outdoor amusement business capacity limits, which currently stand at 50% capacity.

Camps: Executive Order No. 237, permitting summer youth overnight and day camps for the 2021 season, requires all overnight and day camps to follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols outlined in guidance issued today by the New Jersey Department of Health.

To mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, the Department of Health guidance includes the following requirements:

• Daily health screenings for staff, campers, and volunteers.

• The use of infection control protocols such as face masks, cohorting, social distancing, hand hygiene, cleaning, and disinfecting.

• Policies and protocols for when a staff member or camper receives a positive COVID-19 test result.

For overnight camps, unvaccinated staff and campers must receive a negative test result within 72 hours of arriving on-site. All staff and campers will be required to receive a test within three to six days of arrival. Operators should strongly encourage staff and campers to quarantine prior to arrival at camp.

The Order takes effect immediately.