TRENTON, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy continues to ease coronavirus-related restrictions by raising limits on outdoor and indoor gatherings, and announcing that on July 2 restaurants and catering halls can begin offering indoor dining.

Also in time for Independence Day weekend, Atlantic City casinos will be able to reopen their gaming floors, and horse racing will resume on July 2.

During his June 22 press briefing, Murphy said these are among "multiple reopening announcements we intend to make this week as we finalize our dates.”

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

"We are able to take these steps to begin these late stage announcements because we have stayed true to our overarching principles.  First, that public health creates economic health and, second, data determines dates for our restart," Murphy said, noting that the metrics being used to determine when to relax restrictions all continue to trend in the right directions and that they have guided health officials in determining when to announce new dates for reopenings.

Here is a rundown of his latest reopening news, with guidance expected to be released in the next several days.

-- Beginning on June 22, the number of people who can congregate at outdoor gatherings has been raised from 100 to 250, with no limits on outdoor political activities and religious gatherings. Indoor gatherings can increase to 25 percent of a room's capacity or not to exceed 100 persons, up from 50 persons previously. 

-- While restaurants across the state were able to begin service outdoors on June 15, indoor dining can resume on July 2, but with the number of patrons limited to 25 percent of capacity.

-- Casinos will also have to abide by a 25 percent capacity limit and “complete guidance” for reopening will almost certainly include patrons and staff wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing and being screened for fever before entering the gaming rooms. 

Murphy warned casino operators will strictly enforce these measures.  "If visitors refuse to comply, they will be escorted out.  We won't tolerate any knuckleheads." he said, using one of his regular idioms to describe people who don't follow health and safety guidance.

In cautioning the public to continue to abide by his public health guidance, Murphy also said that he watched many videos on social media over the weekend in which he saw bars, beaches and boardwalks at which it appeared that "folks had let their hair down a little too much.”

One of those establishments singled out was D’Jais Bar & Grill in Belmar, where many patrons were seen not maintaining six feet of social distancing or wearing face coverings in several outdoor areas at the Ocean Avenue establishment Saturday night.

"We can't do that," he added. "We're taking these steps based on extraordinarily positive data, but we don't want to look like the other states" that are now experiencing a resurgence of new cases following the relaxation of their economic and health restrictions.

In reporting the coronavirus numbers from the previous night, Murphy said there were 359 new positive cases bringing the state's total to 169,415.  He also reported 27 new deaths bringing the statewide total to 12,895.

In Monmouth County, as of June 22, there are 14 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 9,098. There is one new death today, bringing the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 to 696.

The breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by municipality is as follows:

  • Aberdeen: 244
  • Allenhurst: 8
  • Allentown: 9
  • Asbury Park: 305
  • Atlantic Highlands: 37
  • Avon-by-the-Sea: 12
  • Belmar: 43 (Belmar officials last reported 15 current cases after recoveries and individuals who live in other municipalities but share the Belmar 07719 zip code are removed from the borough’s total.)
  • Bradley Beach: 55
  • Brielle: 36
  • Colts Neck: 84
  • Deal: 35
  • Eatontown: 299
  • Englishtown: 48
  • Fair Haven: 28
  • Farmingdale: 13
  • Freehold Borough: 420
  • Freehold Township: 691
  • Hazlet: 328
  • Highlands: 33
  • Holmdel: 312
  • Howell: 666
  • Interlaken: 4
  • Keansburg: 199
  • Keyport: 105
  • Lake Como: 17
  • Little Silver: 38
  • Loch Arbour: 1
  • Long Branch: 608
  • Manalapan: 490
  • Manasquan: 36
  • Marlboro: 494
  • Matawan: 209
  • Middletown: 740
  • Millstone Township: 86
  • Monmouth Beach: 21
  • Neptune City: 64
  • Neptune Township: 606
  • Ocean: 354
  • Oceanport: 64
  • Red Bank: 246
  • Roosevelt: 7
  • Rumson: 44
  • Sea Bright: 12
  • Sea Girt: 15
  • Shrewsbury Borough: 54
  • Shrewsbury Township: 11
  • Spring Lake: 19
  • Spring Lake Heights: 24
  • Tinton Falls: 222
  • Union Beach: 49
  • Upper Freehold: 66
  • Wall: 399
  • West Long Branch: 74
  • Unknown: 14

Below is a video of Gov. Murphy's June 23 press briefing: 


TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como is Belmar and Lake Como’s only free daily newspaper. Accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, it is the official electronic newspaper of both municipalities. As a locally owned news organization, TAPinto through its advertisers is able to publish online, objective news 24/7 at no charge. Sign up for its free daily e-News, and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

Download the free TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.