Most capacity limits on restaurants, stores, offices and many other sites will be lifted on May 19 in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut as part of a coordinated effort by the hardest-hit region of the world. United States to emerge from the pandemic, officials said. Monday.
All limits on outdoor gatherings will also be lifted on May 19 as key COVID-19 metrics such as hospitalizations and transmission rate continue to decline, Gov. Phil Murphy said.
“The events we all associate with summer – from fireworks to parades to state fair – can all move forward, as long as attendees keep a distance of 6 feet,” said Murphy.
It is the largest and most sweeping reopening plan since the restrictions were imposed 14 months ago, shutting down businesses and putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work.
“We are confident that we can do this safely because our numbers have moved in the right direction,” Murphy said in a briefing Monday.
Some of the sites affected by the lifting of the restrictions are:
- Places of worship and religious services
- Hairdressers / barbers
- Indoor and outdoor entertainment venues
- Indoor and outdoor pools
Restaurants had reached 50% of their indoor capacity in New Jersey. Now there will be no limit. However, the caveat is that people will still be required to stay 6 feet apart unless there is a partition between the tables. The ban on tables of more than eight people will be lifted.
“The closer we get to what the restaurant looked like before COVID, the better,” said Micha Magid, co-CEO of Mighty Quinn BBQ at Clifton and Paramus. “It’s good news.”
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Restaurants will also be allowed to serve customers at the bar from Friday, provided they are socially distant. Restaurants were previously limited to serving food at tables.
Buffets and other self-service meals will also be allowed to reopen on Friday.
Gym owners have expressed some optimism now that the interior limits will finally be lifted.
Leslie Adelman Banks, managing partner of HackensackUMC Fitness and Wellness Center in Maywood, said allowing gyms to return to full capacity sends a clear message to the public that gyms are safe.
“For us, the message is that it’s not as dangerous,” she said. “We weren’t dangerous – and at 50% we’re still struggling to get people back. We hope they listen to the message that it’s safe, you can get back to your lifestyle. “
The long halt of the pandemic marked the fitness industry. Having to close initially had an economic impact on gyms, many of which did not survive. And even after reopening, gyms had to overcome the lingering concern of gym members about returning to indoor training. Still, gym owners say returning to full capacity is a necessary first step towards the industry’s recovery.
Murphy has announced that the limits for indoor gatherings such as house parties will be doubled to 50 people starting May 19.
Meanwhile, the previously announced expansion of outdoor gathering limits for graduations, and the extension of indoor limits in catering halls for balls, will take effect on Friday instead of next Monday, as originally planned.
There will always be capacity limits at major sporting events. The capacity of stadiums such as MetLife Stadium and CitiField would be increased to 33% on May 19. The 6-foot federal social distancing guidelines won’t allow more, Murphy said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said the New York subway will restart on May 17.
Despite the May 19 date to increase indoor capacity, many Broadway shows are planning to reopen in the fall.
The news about the lifting of domestic capacity limits comes as New Jersey’s COVID numbers continue to drop.
Hospitalizations fell 40% to 1,424 on Sunday, from a recent high of 2,378 on April 7.
The transmission rate reached 0.62 on Monday, continuing to decline since mid-April. A transmission rate greater than 1 means that an infected person will likely transmit the disease to one or more other people, while a value less than 1 means that the number of infections is likely to decrease.
New Jersey ranked 13th among states for the spread as of Monday morning, with 130 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days. This is a sharp drop from mid-March, when the state’s new case rate of 293 drove the country up and was more than double the national average of 113.
More than 3.26 million people in New Jersey had been fully vaccinated as of Monday morning. Murphy’s goal is to have 4.7 million people – 70% of the adult population – vaccinated by June 30 to further reduce the ability to transmit COVID-19.
To help the vaccine cause, New Jersey brewers say they are giving away free beer to anyone who receives a first dose of the vaccine in May.
Simply bring proof of vaccination to one of the participating breweries to get your free beer.
The Brewers Guild of New Jersey has partnered with the Governor’s Office and the Department of Health to create this initiative, called Shot and a Beer. Murphy announced the program at his press conference on Monday.
“It was how the Brewers Guild of New Jersey was doing their part for the vaccination effort,” said Scott Wells, co-owner of the Bolero Snort Brewery in Carlstadt.
Editors Melanie Anzidei, Rebecca King, and Esther Davidowitz contributed to this article.
Scott Fallon covers the environment for NorthJersey.com. To get unlimited access to the latest news on how the New Jersey environment affects your health and well-being, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
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