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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Outdoor gathering limits get another bump

Administration wants to encourage outdoor social events as weather warms

By Nikita Biryukov, March 29 2021 2:49 pm

New Jersey will expand its outdoor gathering limits in a bid to push residents away from assembling indoors, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.

The limit will increase to 200 persons at 6 a.m. on Friday, April 2.

“The reason we are increasing the outdoor limit is that as the weather gets warmer, we are urging everyone to engage in social activities outside whenever possible. We know this virus is many times more transmissible indoors, and you’ve heard that from us I think hundreds of times, than it is outdoors, so any type of larger gathering is safer for everyone if it can be held outside.”

The move follows an announcement in early March that increased outdoor gathering limits from 25 to 50.

Religious services, political events, weddings ceremonies, funerals and memorials remain exempted from gathering limits so long as they are held outdoors.

Murphy on Monday also announced the state would extend its large-venue definition to a greater number of facilities by lowering the seating capacity needed to qualify to 2,500, from 5,000.

Gathering limits for such facilities are up as well, with indoor and outdoor capacities each doubling, to 20% and 30%, respectively.

“Going to 20% does not anywhere come close to having people need to be within six feet of each other. It’s a modern building. It’s got great ventilation,” Murphy said, referring to the Prudential Center, a large indoor venue in Newark. “but we’ll continue to monitor it.”

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