coronavirus

What the Updated COVID Restrictions in Pa., NJ, and Del. Mean for You

Besides masks (which are still required at indoor businesses), here are some of the coronavirus guidelines for all three states

Diners eating lunch at the Reading Terminal Market in
John Greim

A little more precious freedom is coming to people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware as the states start easing some coronavirus restrictions now that more people are getting vaccinated.

The latest change comes out of Pennsylvania, which altered its guidance on the use of face masks outdoors to comply with new CDC guidance. New Jersey has not announced new outdoor mask rules. Delaware, meanwhile, will no longer require masks for interscholastic athletes playing or practicing baseball, golf, girls’ lacrosse, girls’ soccer, softball, tennis or track and field.

Besides masks (which are still required at indoor businesses), here are some of the coronavirus guidelines for all three states. Note that in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia has its own guidance.

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Masks Can Come Off Outdoors in NJ, but Must Still Be Worn Indoors in Public

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Pennsylvania:

Indoor events are capped at 25% occupancy , while outdoor events have a 50% limit as long as 6 feet of social distancing is possible in both instances. However, capacity is higher for businesses.

Restaurants can have indoor dining at 50% capacity or 75% capacity if they use the state’s self-certification process, which entails a restaurant agreeing to appear on the Open & Certified Pennsylvania database, a tool meant to help people by allowing them to look up a particular restaurant.

Gyms and entertainment businesses like casinos, malls, theaters, zoos and museums, meanwhile, can operate at 75% capacity; however, individual events inside these venues (like movie screenings and lectures) are still subject to the aforementioned 25% indoor occupancy cap and 50% outdoor occupancy cap.

Health and wellness businesses like spas, barber shops, nail salons and tattoo parlors can go up to 75% capacity.

Philadelphia:

Indoor events are limited to 15% of a venue's capacity, while outdoor events are allowed at 20% capacity.

Indoor dining is allowed at 25% of an eatery's capacity. A restaurant can increase capacity to 50% if it meets enhanced ventilation criteria and completes the required application.

Outdoor dining is allowed with a 50-person limit. However, businesses that want to go above the 50-person threshold can submit an application to the Department of Licenses and Inspections

New Jersey:

Indoor dining is allowed at 50% of a restaurant’s capacity.

Indoor gatherings are generally limited to 25 people, who must wear masks and remain at least 6 feet apart. Private indoor catered events like weddings are allowed at 35% of the venue's capacity, though they must still not exceed 150 people; that guidance is set to change on May 10, when indoor catered events will be allowed at 50% capacity and a maximum of 250 people.

Indoor gatherings for religious services like weddings, funerals and memorial services are OK at 50 % of a room’s capacity. Weddings, funerals and memorial services that don’t include a religious service are allowed at 35% capacity but no more than 150 people. These too will be allowed to increase on May 10.

Indoor performances at entertainment centers are limited to 35% of a room's capacity and no more than 150 people. Large venues seating 2,500 people or more can host indoor events at 20% capacity and outdoor events at 30% capacity.

Outdoor gatherings are capped at 200 people – with social distancing required – though that number is expected to rise to 500 people on May 10. Outdoor wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions, funerals, memorial services, religious activities or political activities don’t have a capacity limit, though an outdoor event that’s catered does – at 200 people.

Summer camp will also be OK again this year. Campers will be divvied up into small cohorts, and though they'll have to wear masks indoors (except when in their bunk), they'll be able to go mask-free within their cohort.

Delaware:

Indoor gatherings or events (weddings, graduations, birthdays, funeral receptions, etc.) at businesses are limited to 50% of the business’ capacity or 25 people. Meanwhile, private indoor gatherings like dinner parties or birthday parties are OK for up to 10 people.

Businesses can have outdoor gatherings at 50% occupancy if the outdoor area is larger than 100,000 square feet. If the outdoor space is 100,000 square feet or less, businesses can host events at 75% capacity. However, anyone hosting an event that would allow more than 150 people to gather at one time must first email a plan to the state department of health at least seven days before the event.

Beachgoers must wear face masks at boardwalks. Face masks are also required at the beach if social distancing is not possible.

When it comes to dining, restaurants must limit tables to six people each indoors and 10 people each outdoors.

Interscholastic athletes must keep their mask on if playing or practicing sports that the state considers high risk, like ice hockey, basketball, tackle football, boys’ and men’s lacrosse, wrestling, boxing, rugby, competitive cheer, martial arts, ultimate frisbee and pairs figure skating.

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