TRENTON, NJ -- With COVID-19 numbers trending decisively in the right direction and New Jersey progressing toward its adult-age vaccination goals, Gov. Murphy on Monday announced an additional easing of restrictions, including a removal of all percentage capacity limits for indoor and outdoor businesses, a lifting of the prohibition on indoor bar seating, and an end to the outdoor gathering limit.

"I’m moving up the effective date of the reopening steps we announced last Monday from May 10 to May 7," the governor said. "We feel confident in moving up this timetable given the accelerated progress we’re seeing in our vaccination program, hospital metrics, and daily case counts."

  • Effective May 7, we will lift the prohibition on indoor bar-side seating. Proper social distancing between patrons will be required.
  • Effective May 7, we will lift the prohibition on buffets and other self-service foods at restaurants.
  • On May 19th, we anticipate completely removing the limit on outdoor gatherings. All attendees or groups of attendees will be required to keep social distances of at least six feet. Current mask requirements will remain in place.
  • Effective May 19, we will remove the 50% capacity indoor dining limit. Restaurants will be allowed to operate at whatever capacity allows them to continue to ensure a minimum six-foot distance between groups.
  • Effective May 19, the 50% capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings/businesses currently governed by percentage-based cap will be lifted. Six feet of social distance will be required between individuals and groups.
  • Effective May 19, the general indoor social gathering limit will increase to 50 individuals.
  • Effective May 19, indoor capacities for the following will be limited to a maximum of 250 people so long as social distances can be maintained at catered events, funerals or memorial services, performances, political activities, and commercial gatherings.
  • Effective May 19th, indoor capacity for large venues (1,000 or more fixed seats) can increase to 30% – with six feet of distance between ticketed groups.

For the full text of Executive Order No. 238, click here.

"The steps announced today are the most aggressive steps we have taken to reopen to date," Murphy said. "We feel confident we can do this safely because our numbers have trended decisively in the right direction over the last three weeks. There is one thing we can do above all else to ensure our COVID numbers keep going down, especially as we reopen further: Get Vaccinated."