NEW JERSEY — While a statewide shutdown will not be implemented as many have come to expect, that possibility “has to stay on the table,” Gov. Phil Murphy said during his coronavirus press briefing Monday at noon.

For now, he has instituted a number of other new restrictions.

As of Saturday, Dec. 5, at 6 a.m., all indoor youth and adult sports will be prohibited through Jan. 2, 2021.

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Starting Dec. 7 at 6 a.m., the number of people that can gather outdoors will also be capped at 25. This will not impact outdoor dining, religious or political activities, funeral, memorial services or wedding ceremonies.

“Let me reiterate that separate groups who are dining outdoors at our restaurants do not constitute a single gathering. Outdoor dining is unaffected by today's announcement it continues to be governed by the health and safety regulations already in place,” Murphy said.

“As you start to make your holiday plans please recognize that the gathering limits are back to what they were in May and June, when we all came together and crushed the curve as much as any state in the United States,” Murphy continued. “We continue to urge you to keep gatherings as small as possible, particularly with individuals outside of your household. As I've said our steps continue to be dictated by careful analysis of science and data.” 

There were 15 more deaths attributed to the coronavirus as of Monday, for a total 16,993 (1,829 of which are considered “probable.”) This figure does not include the 26 people who are suspected to have died due to respiratory virus, but for which additional testing is required. 

Murphy confirmed another 3,199 new positive cases for a total of 337,304.

The state has 2,961 COVID-19 hospitalizations, taking into account 263 residents discharged and 378 patients admitted. From the hospital census: 757 people are in intensive care and 332 are on ventilators. 

The positivity rate is at 11.34% and the rate of transmission (Rt) is 1.11. The governor said on Wednesday he will release a breakdown and discuss the state’s second wave modeling, “to give you all a better idea of what it is we are potentially up against.”

The governor noted that the positivity rate numbers refer to a "relatively small" number of tests done on Thanksgiving Day, and thus the figures should be taken "with a grain of salt."

Residents in the Garden State, which has more than 3,000 on-the-ground contact tracers is still seeing nearly 70% of people either not responding or not being cooperative.  

Col. Pat Callahan, the superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, also announced that since Tuesday there have been 10 executive order violations, nine of which took place at establishments in Newark and one in South Orange.

New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) investigators - who were sent out last Tuesday and Wednesday - cited businesses in Neptune City and Tuckerton as well. As part of their sweep, ABC workers conducted 67 inspections - citing 11 establishments for violations over failing to wear faces inside and being over-capacity.

Watch Monday’s press conference below:

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