What to Know
- Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy says effective immediately limited indoor get-togethers and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people can resume from the COVID-19 pause.
- He said he planned to increase the limits for other outdoor gatherings to 250 people by June 22 and to 500 people by 3 July. Indoor gatherings must be limited to 25% of capacity or 50 people.
- The governor also said Tuesday that outdoor demonstrations protected by the First Amendment can be held, regardless of the number of attendees. That includes religious services and protests stemming from George Floyd’s death.
With cases of the novel coronavirus slowed, New Jersey's stay-at-home order is being lifted as more New Jerseyans will be allowed to gather in one place.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced executive orders Tuesday that lift the stay-at-home order intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 and increase the number of people who can gather amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As of Tuesday, indoor gatherings -- including church services -- can now have up to 50 people or 25% capacity, whichever is lower. Outdoor gatherings can now be up to 100 people with social-distancing measures in place.
"Please continue to be responsible and safe," Murphy said. "Wear face coverings and keep a social distance from others when out in public."
The new indoor gathering limits don't cover restaurants and bars, Murphy said.
First Amendment-protected outdoor activities like political protests or outdoor religious services are not bound by the 100-person limit, Murphy said.
The decision came a day after Murphy was criticized by political opponents for attending rallies over the weekend, apparently in violation of his own previous executive order limiting outdoor gatherings to 25 people or fewer.
With data showing a lesser chance of spread outdoors, Murphy is planning to expend the crowd limit on non-protest and non-religious outdoor gatherings to 250 by June 22 and 500 by July 3. He notes the larger limits allow for socially-distant graduation ceremonies.
"School districts planning graduations should prepare for a 500-person limit to be in place by the time graduations can resume on July 6th," the first-term Democratic governor said.
On Tuesday, Murphy noted that the wording on his dais at his daily COVID-19 briefings now says the motto "public health creates economic health" that he says is driving the Road Back from coronavirus closures.
"We can take these steps today because of the data and the prevailing science," Murphy said. "The data tells us that the time can be now. The science tells us that outdoor activities are far safer than indoor activities."
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have slowed for several weeks as Murphy has put an emphasis on data gathered from expanded testing as being key to reopening parts of the economy. In the coming weeks, child care centers, summer camps, pools and youth sports can resume.
With pools and camps reopening, all outdoor entertainment businesses and recreational areas will be reopened "with the exceptions of amusement parks, water parks, and arcades," Murphy said.
As of Tuesday,, nearly 165,000 people in New Jersey had tested positive for COVID-19. At least 12,303 people had died from coronavirus-related complications. Ninety-one new deaths were reported Tuesday.
For most people, the COVID-19 virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.