Gov. Phil Murphy said public opinion polling did not influence his decision to do away with a series of COVID-19 capacity limits Monday.
“The answer is no. The data that today is based on and last week was based on and May 19th will be based on and this Friday, May 7th, will be based on is this data,” he said, drawing a sheaf of laminated papers from a folder at Monday’s virus briefing. “I carry it around with me, put it under my pillow at night, which is the health metrics.”
Murphy on Monday announced the state would lift capacity restrictions on all outdoor gatherings and remove percentage-based limits on most indoor gatherings. Those rules, among others, all go into effect on May 19.
Six feet of social distance between unrelated groups is still required, though the governor signaled that could change with based upon recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The move, made in coordination with New York and Connecticut, will also allow bar seating and buffets for the first time in more than a year starting May 7.
A set of previously announced relaxations set to go into effect on May 10 will also occur on May 7. Those changes will increase the limit on outdoor gatherings to 500 persons, allow dance floors at private catered events and increase indoor capacities for such events to 50% or 250 individuals.