TRENTON – Restaurants, casinos, and race tracks will be opening on July 2, but they will only be allowed to accept 25 percent of their capacity, Gov. Phil Murphy said during his daily coronavirus press conference.
“Because of the progress we have made,” these regulations were able to be eased, he said.
Additionally, outdoor gatherings will be allowed up to 250 people, he said. This is up from 100 people. There are no limits for religious or political activities.
Indoor gatherings used to be limited to 25 percent of capacity, or 50 people. Now it is 25 percent of capacity, or 100 people.
Casinos might open to family, friends, and invited loyal customers at first, he said.
People should still wear face coverings and practice social distancing, he warned.
One of the criticisms of Murphy’s slow reopening is that it is not clear why certain regulations get relaxed when they do. One of his catch phrases is “the data drives the dates.” This means that places should reopen only when it is safe. But to an outsider, the process seems arbitrary.
Murphy shared some statistics in the beginning of his press conference. One of them is the percentage of positive tests per day. As this number continues to go down, it is determined to be safer to get out and do more things. On June 17, only 2.42 percent of tests came back positive.
Furthermore, for every three people who are hospitalized, four are released from the hospital. There are fewer people being put on ventilators. These statistics show a trend toward safety.
He said the stay-at-home orders in the beginning, the wearing of masks, and the social distancing was responsible for bringing these numbers down.
However, he warned that people going to bars and beaches and not socially distancing might kick those numbers higher.
“People have let their hair down too much,” he said. “We don’t want to look like states that have gone through hell and have gone back through hell.”