NEW JERSEY — In time for Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the 10-person outdoor limit on gatherings on Friday, now granting up to 25 to congregate — so long as they adhere to the proper COVID-19 safety protocols. 

“So if you were looking forward to gathering with your neighbors for a Memorial Day cookout you may do so, so long as social distance and personal responsibility remain the order of the day,” Murphy said during a press briefing this morning at the Washington Memorial Ballroom in Trenton. 

When he signs the executive order, Murphy said, the state edges closer to Phase 2 of its 6-point plan to re-open the Garden State.

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So as long as residents socially distance, the expansion on capacity paves the way for charter fishing, driving ranges and batting cages to operate more easily. 

The EO allows recreational campgrounds to reopen effective immediately. The order includes both public and private campgrounds. The capacity on charter and fishing boats will also be raised to 25 individuals.

Outdoor batting cages and driving ranges will also be allowed to raise their capacity from 10 to 25 people

However, altering the restrictions won’t impact indoor gatherings — which remains capped at 10 people. 

Following the continued easement of safety rules, Murphy said he expects to have guidance on graduations early next week.

“Because you have taken to heart all you’ve asked us to do, to safeguard public health, we can take this step together, metrics from hospitals,” Murphy said. 

The Garden State can now confirm 152,719 positive individuals with COVID-19 (1,394 more since Thursday), and 10,985 deaths (146 more).

Today was the fifth straight day NJ officials announced less than 200 additional deaths, and the 16th consecutive day with fewer than 2,000 additional cases.

The latest, including discharges and hospital census, is updated on the state’s health department website.

Marking the re-opening of New Jersey beaches Friday, state officials consider this weekend very much a test over how residents handle the new norms of a trip to the shore.

“Enjoy this weekend, but do not complacent,” the governor’s Twitter page posted alongside today’s presser. “Keep up with your social distancing. Wear a face covering if you’re going out. Let’s prove that we can keep these trend lines moving in the right direction.”