At presstime on Monday morning, Murphy posted on his Twitter account: “Restaurants statewide will be able to open for indoor dining beginning this Friday at 25 percent capacity and with social distancing between tables.”
Restaurants have had their dining rooms closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Friday, September 4 reopening will allow indoor dining in a limited capacity just ahead of the Labor Day weekend. Details for indoor dining were expected to be outlined at Murphy’s Monday afternoon press conference.
Last week, Gov. Murphy signed Executive Order No. 181, which permits gyms and health clubs, as well as amusement and water parks, to reopen their indoor premises to the public on Tuesday, September 1 at 6 a.m., provided these facilities comply with the health and safety standards issued by the Department of Health.
“Gyms are among the most-challenging indoor environments to prevent the transmission of COVID-19,” said Murphy. “Given where we are in this fight and the overwhelming personal responsibility demonstrated by gym owners and gym members over the past several months, we can confidently take this important step on our road back.”
Under the Department of Health’s Executive Directive, gyms and health clubs who reopen will be required to adhere to the health and safety standards listed in the “Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers.” These standards, which will also apply to other recreational businesses that offer fitness classes and activities, include the following, among others:
• Limit occupancy of any indoor premises to 25 percent of the stated maximum capacity;
• Conduct a temperature screening and questionnaire of staff and clients upon entrance to the facility;
• Limit indoor group activities (e.g., classes) to no more than one individual per 200 square feet of accessible space or less, with all individuals being able to maintain six feet of distance from other individuals during the entire class;
• Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings at all times, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health, such as when in the water and in other situations where the presence of a mask would pose a risk to the individual’s health, or where the individual is under two years of age;
• Demarcate six feet of distance between equipment, or blocking off equipment (e.g. every other machine) to maintain six feet of distancing between individuals using equipment;
• Require that reservations, cancellations and pre-payments be made via electronic or telephone reservation systems to limit physical interactions;
• Limit occupancy in restrooms to avoid over-crowding;
• Inform clients to arrive dressed to workout/train and bring their own hand towel, water, yoga mat, boxing gloves, and any other equipment;
• Not permit the use of showers, with the exception of gyms with pools, which can have individually partitioned showers or communal showers with installed barriers/partitions at least six feet apart;
• Limit locker room use to hand washing and restroom use only; and
• Adopt infection control practices and enhanced sanitization protocols.
• Activities such as swimming in an indoor pool, tanning, outdoor dining, pick-up of food or beverage, and retail sales, which are otherwise permitted but which are not governed by the guidance, remain subject to applicable standards outlined in Executive Orders, Executive Directives and guidance.