Murphy Also Addresses Weekend Protests in Response to George Floyd's Death

TRENTON, NJ — Make your restaurant reservations and hair appointments now, and get those shopping lists ready. 

Gov. Phil Murphy announced at his daily press briefing that effective June 15, outdoor dining at restaurants can commence, and in-person shopping at nonessential retail stores can begin. A week later, on June 22, salons and barber shops can open. Gyms, fitness centers and health clubs are next on the list, he promised. 

Sign Up for Belmar/Lake Como Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The caveat for these businesses is that they must remain "in strict adherence with N.J. Department of Health guidance," according to the governor. Guidance, including capacity restrictions, is expected to be released soon.

"Social distancing will continue to be the watchwords of the day. This virus is among us. Saving lives is still priority No. 1," Murphy said at the June 1 briefing. "We cannot move forward blind to the reality around us."

The governor warned that just because the calendar says June 15 doesn’t mean that everyone should just go back to what they were doing pre-COVID.

"Let’s use common sense for the common good. Only a successful Stage 2 can get us to Stage 3," he said. "We’re ready to begin moving forward."

"We’re ready because our metrics keep trending in the right way. We’re ready because we’re exceeding our testing goals. We’re ready because our positivity rate keeps falling," Murphy added. "We’re ready because the data says so."

Murphy used much of his daily COVID-19 update to address the protests held across the state over the weekend.

Murphy said that 30 protests were held around New Jersey in reaction to the May 25 death of George Floyd. Floyd, a black man, died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Cities from Houston to Atlanta to San Francisco have been left smoldering after several nights of clashes with law enforcement, but it has been a different tale in New Jersey, State Police Superintendent Lt. Pat Callahan said.

The protests in Trenton (27 arrests) and Atlantic City (12 arrests) were the only ones to turn violent. Most of those arrested were charged with criminal mischief, Callahan said. In Trenton, a police car was set on fire. In Atlantic City store windows were smashed and looters made off with merchandise.

Callahan said local law enforcement officials were able to keep many of the protests peaceful by being prepared and showing compassion. In Camden, images of police chief Joseph Wysocki and other cops kneeling with protestors was shared across the country via social media and TV outlets such as ABC News.

“He pointed to what he thought was going to be success, and he was right because he had the clergy, the organizers, law enforcement meet out ahead of that and his leading by example and standing in solidarity with his community I think resonated not only throughout New Jersey but throughout the country,” Callahan said.

Murphy said the state has been informed of nine more protests planned for tonight. It prompted him to end Monday’s news conference with a call for protestors to resist the sort of looting and mayhem seen in several other cities. One of those protests took place in Asbury Park, which imposed a curfew beginning at 8 p.m. on June 1 to 5 a.m.on June 2.

“I do want to plead with you all both in the press, our colleagues and most importantly everybody listening,” Murphy said. “This has been overwhelming, as it should be in New Jersey, outrageous in terms of the death of this man, outrageous as yet another data point. It screams out the systemic racism that remains in this country. But also, embraced by almost everyone that peaceful protesting is ultimately the way we get to the better place.”

Below is the video of Gov. Murphy's June 1 press briefing: