New Jersey Will Press Forward with a Big Reopening Proposal to Remove Certain COVID Constraints Next Week

Gov. Phil Murphy said on Wednesday that he would sign an executive order a week from today to officially press forward with what he called New Jersey’s “most radical” moves yet to relax coronavirus restrictions. 

More than 14 months after the pandemic, the Garden State will eliminate fixed, percentage-based capacity restrictions on restaurants, gyms, retail companies, and churches, as well as all outdoor meeting limitations on that day — though masking and social distancing laws will remain in effect.

Murphy revealed the reforms earlier this month in a joint effort with New York and Connecticut, as the state’s COVID-19 figures began to rise as vaccines continued. However, he warned at the time that the adjustments would take effect and last only if “we do not see a backslide in our metrics.” 

Murphy revealed the reforms earlier this month in a joint effort with New York and Connecticut, as the state’s COVID-19 figures began to rise as vaccines continued. However, he warned at the time that the adjustments would take effect and last only if “we do not see a backslide in our metrics.” 

On that day, New Jersey will:

  • End percentage-based capacity limits at restaurants, though restaurants must keep at least a 6-foot distance between groups, or install a physical partition between them, which would allow for closer seating. Tables will also no longer be limited to eight people.
  • End capacity limits on religious services, stores, gyms, personal care businesses, indoor and outdoor amusement parks, though those places must keep at least a 6-foot distance between groups.
  • Remove all outdoor gathering limits, though all groups must keep at least 6 feet of distance from each other and wear a mask when social distancing isn’t possible.
  • Increase the indoor gathering limit for house parties and other social events from 25 to 50 people. Catered events, as well as conferences, expos, and trade shows, will be limited to a maximum of 250 people, as long as social distancing is maintained.
  • Increase the capacity limit for events at indoor venues with 1,000 or more fixed seats to 50%, as long as ticketed groups are separated by at least 6 feet.