New Jerseyans can move about the state a little more freely.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced at his daily briefing on June 9 that he will sign an executive order rescinding his stay-at-home order in effect since March 21 due to the coronavirus.
Additionally, the governor expanded the limits of indoor gatherings while announcing a gradual increase of outdoor gathering through the beginning of July.
“With more and more of our businesses reopening, we are no longer requiring you to stay at home, but we are asking you to continue to be responsible and safe,” said Murphy, who asked that residents keep wearing face masks and maintaining social distance practices he credits with reducing the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey.
Murphy encouraged businesses to permit employees to continue to work from home if they have the ability to work remotely, noting proper social distancing measures need to be in place if businesses do bring workers back to offices.
“Just because we’re lifting the stay at home order does not mean we’re making you go back to the office,” Murphy said.
The number of those at indoor gatherings will be increased to 25% of a building’s capacity or 50 people—whichever is lower—from its current 10 people limit, with all attendees required to wear face coverings and social distance at least six feet from each other.
The increase in indoor gathering was expected as Murphy had stated previously they would be raised to allow houses of worship to open their doors for services starting June 12.
“We have not only heard from our partners in our faith communities, but we have worked closely with many of them, and we believe this represents a responsible plan that ensures that religious services will be appropriately distanced and as safe as possible,” said the governor.
Limits on outdoor gatherings increase effectively immediately to 100 from 25. The governor offered a road map expanding the limits to 250 people on June 22 and 500 people on July 3, just in time for high school graduations which are able to begin on July 6.
The first-term Democratic governor said an exception with protest and religious services in mind was written into the executive order, allowing outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people for First Amendment-protected outdoor activities.
Additionally, the order formally authorizes public and private community pools to reopen June 22, as well as all outdoor recreational and entertainment businesses excluding children’s playgrounds, amusement parks, water parks and arcades.
State officials said parks and arcades are still closed as they involve large numbers of people coming into contact with high-touch surfaces. The outdoor order still prohibits fans at racetracks and sporting events.
The easing of restrictions come as child care, outdoor dining and non-essential retail are set to reopen June 15, the same day a phased opening of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is to begin. Hair salons, nail salons and barbershops will be open a week later. Murphy said he hopes to have word on indoor dining and casinos “sooner rather than later.”