TRENTON, NJ -- Gov. Phil Murphy said at his COVID press briefing Monday afternoon that effective May 10, indoor room capacities for private catered events -- including weddings and school proms, political events, funerals, memorial services, and performances -- will increase to 50% with a maximum of 250 individuals.
He also announced the easing of the following restrictions:
- Effective May 10, the general outdoor gathering limit will increase to 500 individuals.
- Effective May 10, outdoor capacity for large venues (1,000 or more fixed seats) will increase to 50% – with six feet of distance between seated groups.
- Effective May 10, outdoor carnivals and fairs are permitted to operate at 50% capacity, aligned with other amusement businesses.
- Outdoor dining is not subject to a numerical capacity limitation. The only limitation is the number of groups you can place outdoors that can be spaced six feet apart.
- The New Jersey DOE will issue specific prom and graduation guidance later.
Dance floors will be allowed to open at private catered events with masking and social distancing requirements in place. However, dance floors at bars and other businesses such as nightclubs must still remain closed at this time.
"Events that are being catered have a better ability to control," Murphy explained. "There is a whole list of reasons why the state's public health emergency exists. We don't want these to last any longer than we have to... We're just not there yet."
"Should our public health metrics continue to trend as they have been, we would hope to increase this limit yet again before Memorial Day," Murphy said.
The governor was asked whether restrictions on the hard hit restaurant industry would be eased in the near future.
"If restaurant numbers keep going the way they have been going, it (loosened restrictions) will happen sooner rather than later," Murphy said.
The governor also explained that he is in the process of finalizing an executive order and follow-up guidance for the safe operations of summer day camps and overnight sleep away camps. He said he would provide details in the next two days.
New Jersey Vaccine Update
- 6,661,861 total doses have been administered as of 8:00 a.m. Monday.
- 2,819,226 New Jerseyans are fully vaccinated – 60% to the state's goal of 4.7 million fully vaccinated adults by June 30th
A reported asked what might explain the delay in people getting their second doses. Murphy acknowledged the second shot momentum has slowed, but he believes that using the word "plummeting" is inappropriate description of the situation. The governor suggested that declining COVID numbers, warm weather, and the belief that 'I feel good and don't need it,' are not reason enough to pass on getting a second vaccination.
"We need to get 4.7 million New Jerseans fully vaccinated before June," he said, adding that the state has been proactive in putting out information stressing the importance of getting the second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines.
Health Commissioner Judy Perscihilli added other reasons why people had passed the six-week gap between shots. Those reasons include that people may have left the state, were hospitalized, or have died.
"I think vaccine hesitancy -- there is an element of that," she said. "Even if you are outside the (21-28 day second vaccination) window, you can go back."
Persichilli advised people go get more information if they had concerns. To learn more about the vaccines, visit http://covid19.nj.gov/vaccine.
Latest COVID Numbers
- 1,247 new positive PCR tests, bringing the state's number of positive cases to 865,700 since the pandemic began 13 months ago.
- 311 new positive antigen tests (rapid tests), increasing the total to 123,186 positive antigen tests.
- 1,797 patients in New Jersey hospitals with 398 patients in ICUs and 246 ventilators in use.
- 209 live patients discharged and 170 COVID-positive patients admitted.
"The statewide rate of transmission is currently 0.9 – a decreasing rate of spread. The positivity rate for all PCR tests recorded on April 22 was 6.44%, based on 38,732 PCR tests," Murphy reported. "Sadly, we must report an additional 19 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, bringing the cumulative total of confirmed deaths to 22,788."
Schools Update (Public school districts, charter schools, renaissance schools, and schools for students with disabilities)
- 246 open for all in-person instruction
- 470 open for hybrid instruction
- 47 all-remote learning
- 48 using a mix of options across buildings