NJ governor lifts stay-at-home order, raises limits on gatherings, sets date for pools to open

Gov. Phil Murphy at his daily press
briefing Tuesday.

The statewide stay-at-home order that took effect March 21 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been lifted, and limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings have been raised, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday.

“We are no longer requiring you to stay at home, but we are asking you to continue to be responsible and safe,” Murphy said. “When you do go out please continue to wear face coverings and keep social distance from others whenever possible.”

Murphy is signing an executive order raising the limit on indoor gatherings from 10 people to 25 percent of a building’s capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower, effective immediately. People must wear face coverings at indoor gatherings. Faith leaders will be allowed to hold indoor services under the order, but are not required to hold them if they are still concerned about the coronavirus.

Indoor dining is still not allowed.

The executive order also raises the limit on outdoor gatherings from 25 to 100 people, effective immediately, but with no limit placed on First Amendment-protected outdoor activities such as religious services and protests.

The governor said he anticipates increasing the limit on outdoor gatherings to 250 people effective June 22 and to 500 people effective July 3, provided the COVID-19 data that allowed for the loosening of restrictions continues its downward trend.

Murphy said raising the limit on indoor gatherings will allow for larger indoor religious services, and that increasing the limit on outdoor gatherings to 500 on July 3 would allow for Independence Day celebrations and help accommodate graduation ceremonies, which are permitted beginning July 6.

The executive order also authorizes public and private community pools to reopen June 22, along with outdoor recreational and entertainment businesses, with the exception of amusement parks, water parks, and arcades.

If the data changes and COVID-19 cases rise, Murphy said officials will consider implementing more restrictions again.

“Social distancing will remain our watch words,” Murphy said. “While they will allow for greater movement and greater flexibility, our number once concern must remain public health.”