What to Know
- With ridership slowly rising as people return to work amid the coronavirus pandemic, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is allowing more riders on NJ Transit and private-carrier lines later this week
- On Monday, Murphy announced he is lifting the 50% restriction on trains and buses.
- Face masks must still be worn while riding and must be worn at indoor stations. Face masks must also be worn at outdoor stations when social distancing isn't possible.
With ridership on the rise as people return to work amid the coronavirus pandemic, more riders are being allowed on New Jersey Transit and private-carrier lines.
The capacity restriction of 50% will be lifted at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement at his Monday afternoon COVID-19 news conference.
He said that as ridership goes up on some lines, trains and buses are closing in on exceeding the 50% capacity. The new executive order also covers Access Link vehicles.
He noted that ridership is still, however, down significantly, especially on rail lines. The capacity easing will allow for more riders if needed as more people depending on public transit return to work.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
Murphy urged riders to continue wearing face coverings properly on buses, trains and light rails. He also said masks must be worn at indoor stations and at outdoor stations when social distancing isn't possible while waiting for a train or bus.
“Make sure your mask covers both your mouth and nose – no chin guards,” the first-term Democrat said.
Masking is required in all indoor public places and outdoor locations – when social distancing isn't possible – throughout New Jersey in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"The only people who do not need to be masked are: Children under two years old and individuals with an underlying medical condition whose health and well-being would be threatened by wearing a mask," Murphy reminded New Jerseyans. "Your political affiliation is not an underlying condition."
COVID-19 Cases, Deaths
Murphy has slowed down reopenings in New Jersey in recent weeks as the rate of transmission of COVID-19 has ticked up, meaning more rapid spread of the virus.
The rate of transmission declined to 0.91 as of Monday. It had been hovering around 1.1 last week.
Murphy said the falling rate showed the spread of the virus was slowing, but he pointed out the state still ranks toward the top in the country in terms of deaths per 100,000 people.
New Jersey’s daily cases and hospitalizations, however, remain far below peaks hit earlier in the outbreak. The Garden State's number have remained lower as other states, such as Florida, have seen cases surge.
As of Monday, more than 175,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in New Jersey. At least 13,613 people had died form coronavirus-related complications. Twenty-two new deaths were reported Monday.
Another more than 1,900 deaths are suspected to be related to COVID-19.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli on Monday noted that though COVID-19 is known to impact older people more, young people aren't immune. In April, 18 to 29 year olds only made up 12 % of New Jersey's coronavirus cases, as of June they made up 22% of the cases.
She noted hundreds of young adults had been hospitalized and at least 53 have died.
She urged young people to wear masks and practice social distancing so that they don't infect others.
Murphy said that opening up indoor service at bars and restaurants depends on keeping the spread of the virus down and data garnered from increased testing.
"Right now, we’re paused in Stage 2 of our restart," he said. "I want us to be able to reopen more businesses, and to get to Stage 3 and beyond. We cannot do that unless we keep up with wearing face coverings, keeping a social distance, and getting tested."