New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on May 3 announced the lifting of restrictions on outdoor gatherings, indoor businesses and places of worship effective May 19 to coincide with similar announcements made from the governors of Connecticut and New York.
The biggest change, the removal of occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings, places of worship and businesses, goes into effect May 19 with a continued social distancing restriction of 6 feet, according to information from Murphy’s office.
The indoor gathering limit will increase to 50 people, up from 25 people, with commercial gatherings such as job fairs and conferences limited to 250 people as long as 6 feet of social distancing is maintained.
Murphy also redefined indoor large venues as ones with 1,000 fixed seats and increased the capacity to 30%.
Other restrictions will be lifted May 7, including the outdoor gathering limit, which Murphy increased from 200 to 500. The governor also removed a ban on dance floors at private catered events and opened up bar seating and buffets at indoor restaurants. Carnivals and fairs are now allowed to open but must follow the same restrictions as large outdoor amusements, according to information from Murphy’s office.
The changes are a “sigh of relief” for businesses, according to a statement from the New Jersey chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.
“This ensures local businesses have the opportunity to capitalize on the shopping and spending that is so critical to our small business owners during Memorial Day weekend,” said Eileen Kean, state director for NFIB. “We remain very optimistic that the summer of 2021 will ensure our small businesses recover from this crippling pandemic.”
Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said it is “beyond time” for New Jersey to reopen.
“Today is a huge move in the right direction, but there remain many issues that need immediate attention in order to ensure a swift and sustainable recovery,” Siekerka said in a statement. “For our New Jersey businesses that have been able to hold on during closures and restrictions, we must...