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

State to loosen virus restrictions in early May

Outdoor capacity limits going up, governor says

By Nikita Biryukov, April 26 2021 3:43 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state would loosen a swath of virus restrictions early next month.

The changes include laxer limits on outdoor gatherings, which will be capped at 500 persons instead of 200 starting May 10. Limits for large outdoor venues, like arenas and certain music venues, will increase to 50%, from 30%.

“Our robust COVID-19 vaccination program is starting to show results through lower COVID-19 case metrics including a decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” Murphy said. “This allows us to take steps so that New Jerseyans can have a much more normal summer including allowing for students to celebrate important milestones and events like graduations and proms in-person. We hope to announce further reopening steps in the coming weeks as more and more state residents get vaccinated.”

The state is also changing how it defines those facilities, reducing the number of fixed seats needed to 1,000, from 2,500.

Indoor capacity for private catered events is also increasing, to 50% of 250 persons. That applies to political events, weddings, funerals and memorial services as well. Dance floors will be permitted at private indoor catered events, including proms, though they are still banned at bars and clubs.

The outdoor venue capacity limit increase will apply to outdoor graduation ceremonies.

Carnivals and fairs will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity, the same limit imposed on amusement parks and similar businesses.

Additional guidance for camps will come on Wednesday.

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