TRENTON – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that public libraries and some indoor recreational facilities will be able to reopen with limited capacity on July 2, with sanitizing techniques and social distancing measures in effect.
Murphy said more details would be released later this week. Yesterday he announced that Jersey shore boardwalks would be permitted to operate rides and arcades could reopen just in time for what is expected to be a busy Fourth of July weekend.
In his daily press briefing, Murphy said he had a joint call with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ted Lamont. “Working together in so many areas we have crushed the curves in cases of residents in hospitals and those connected to ventilators in the tri-state region with significantly lower cases of transmissions and we are emerging from this stronger.”
He added that New Jersey, New York and Connecticut were among the four states in the country listed by researchers and health experts “as being close to containing this virus. We got where we are today through shared sacrifice.”
“Ours was the most impacted (state) in the nation and among the most impacted in the entire world. We welcome everyone to come to New Jersey but simply ask to share in our shared sacrifice to keep ourselves moving in the right direction,” the governor said referencing visitation to the state.
Gov. Murphy said he was pleased to announce another slate of business re-openings. “On July 2, museums, aquariums and indoor recreational facilities will be able to reopen at 25% of their capacity just as our casinos can.”
This includes bowling, batting cages, shooting ranges and arcades. However venues such as movie theaters, performing art centers, concert arenas and night clubs will remain closed.
“Gyms and fitness centers will remain closed as well although we will allow for individual training sessions by appointment. The fact that those venues remain closed brings us no joy,” Murphy said.
He added, “we would love to open those things up. We just aren’t there yet. We just don’t think it is the responsible thing to do when you look at the flare ups we have seen in other states, there is clear evidence what is happening inside is a whole different reality to what we are seeing outside.”
Gov. Murphy also announced, “libraries would also be able to reopen on the morning of July 2 but only at 25% of their capacity. “As with other activities we must remain vigilant about this virus when we are indoors as we know it is easier to contract the coronavirus in an indoor environment.”
“This is why we will not ask but require all of these places to implement a heightened standard of sanitation as well as other measures to ensure proper measures of social distancing and the wearing of face coverings at all times,” Gov. Murphy said.
He added that more details of those standards would be released later in the week but they will already track the guidance of other indoor activities stressing the necessity of wearing masks indoors for customers and employees.
“This isn’t a polite suggestion or a gentle reminder – this is a requirement,” Murphy said regarding face masks. The exception is if a person is sitting down to eat or drink or for religious purposes or if health and safety requires it. “Wearing a face covering is a proven measure for further slowing the spread. We should all be practicing face covering by now even when we are outdoors especially in areas where social distancing is harder to maintain like on a crowded boardwalk,” Murphy said adding that for those not adhering to that service will be refused in cases of a business atmosphere.
Gov. Murphy that with improvement rates continue to climb he saw the further lifting of requirements. “For those looking to have some fun, enjoy our cultural history and rich heritage or pick up a good book to read we are ready to take these steps but do this responsibly.”
The governor said that on July 6, NJ Transit, NJ Rail and light rail service will return to its full weekday schedule. NJ Transit has put its full set of plans online at njtransit.com/recovery.