NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy announced during his June 9 press conference that the stay-at-home order has been lifted, and that outdoor gatherings – including those for graduations and religious services – are going to be allowed.
The stay-at-home order was issued on March 21 to slow the spread of COVID-19, and medical professionals have said this has been successful.
“We would not be at this point today had we not taken this step,” he said. The stay-at-home order has saved countless lives.
The stay-at-home order was rescinded immediately.
Additionally, the capacity for indoor events has increased. The new headcount is whichever is less: 25 percent of the building’s capacity or 50 people. Face coverings and social distancing of 6 feet is still required.
He did note that if the downward trend of cases reverses, then restrictions might be enforced again.
The studies show that transmission is less frequent outside, Murphy said. Therefore, restrictions on outside events will be more lenient.
The limit for outdoor gatherings is being increased to 100 people, Murphy said. Any gathering that falls under the 1st Amendment, such as religious gatherings outside or protests, are exempt from that number.
The state expects to increase the number to 250 people on June 22 and 500 people on July 6. Therefore, schools should prepare for graduations with as many as 500 people as soon as they are allowed on July 6.
All outdoor recreation is now being allowed, except in the case of amusement parks, water parks and arcades because these businesses have a high number of people with high-touch surfaces, he said.
Pools can also open on June 22.
The governor made a special note to explain that the changes apply to religious ceremonies. Houses of worship can welcome 25 percent of their capacity or 50 people. They can also have outdoor gatherings.
Murphy said that if a religious leader doesn’t feel comfortable opening up a house of worship for ceremonies, they are not being required to do so.