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NJ governor: Indoor dining can reopen July 2, residents can now attend outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that indoor dining and casinos can reopen with a 25% capacity limit starting on July 2, just before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Residents can also gather outdoors in groups of up to 250 people now Murphy said another increase to 500 people could come as early as July 6, the first day schools in the state are allowed to host outdoor graduations.

Social distancing is still required and masks are strongly recommended to prevent another surge in COVID-19 cases, Murphy said.

“Because of the progress we have made, I am pleased to increase the limits on gatherings, effective immediately,” Murphy said at his daily press briefing.

Limits for indoor gatherings have been increased to 25% of capacity with a maximum of 100 people, up from the previous maximum of 50 people. Protests and religious gatherings are exempt from crowd limits.

On Monday, personal care businesses like hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and waxing facilities opened. Those facilities are required to follow various protocols to protest staff members and customers. Surfaces and equipment must be sanitized frequently, staff must wear face shields or masks, customers must wear masks, and both staff members and customers must have temperatures checked. Clients must wait outside until their appointment times and answer a series of questions prior to being served.

Youth sports were allowed to begin again on Monday, and private swim clubs and municipal pools were also allowed to open. West Windsor officials have announced that the community pool there will be closed for the summer because of the cost, safety issues, and logistics. The Princeton Recreation Commission will meet at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night via Zoom to decide whether to open the Community Park Pool this summer. The Nassau Swim Club has announced that it will open for the season on July 11.

On Monday, Murphy said stage three of the state’s reopening plan, which includes expanded indoor dining and bars, could begin in weeks if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to slow.

As of Monday, the state has received positive COVID-19 test results for 169,415 residents, and a total of 12,895 residents have died as a result of complications from COVID-19.