Governor Murphy announced several new capacity limits that will go into effect Monday, May 10th. Murphy cited positive trending COVID numbers from hospitals, a lower positivity rate and an increased amount of vaccinated people as the reason for new, looser restrictions.
“We have been eager to relax our restrictions as soon as the numbers gave us confidence that we could do so safely and responsibly, and that time has come,” Murphy said during his daily briefing. “I would hope these are the first set of announcements out of many sets of announcements over the next number of weeks.”
Starting May 10, outdoor carnivals and fairs can operate at 50 percent capacity. This allows favorite festivals like the State Fair and other events to plan for a larger volume of people and be on par with outdoor venues like Six Flags.
Also on Monday, May 10, indoor room capacities will be increased to 50 percent with a maximum of 250 people. This affects catered events (like weddings and proms), political events, funerals, and memorial services. Additionally, dance floors at these closed and supervised events will be reopened, with the stipulation that face masks and distancing are required. Dance floors at bars and clubs still remain closed for now.
Murphy acknowledged that many people are anxious about graduations and said that the Department of Education and Office of Secretary of Higher Education will issue advice specific to those events later today. But some of his new capacity announcements of outdoor gatherings and large venues hint at what’s to come.
On May 10, the outdoor gathering limits will increase to 500 people, and Murphy said he hopes to increase this substantially before Memorial Day as long as trends continue in the right direction, which is promising for graduations and celebrations.
Outdoor capacity for large venues (that have 1,000 or more fixed seats) will increase to 50 percent with six feet of distance between seated groups. Many school stadiums are considered large venues and if they can fit 500 people safely in the stands and socially distance more on a football field, they can allow more people in.
Murphy also gave hope for 2021 graduates by reminding us that the CDC is currently reviewing guidelines for social distancing. If that changes from the current six feet recommendations, the state will increase capacity accordingly.
Lastly, he added that guidance for day and overnight summer camps will be coming soon and reminded restaurants that outdoor dining isn’t subject to capacity limits, as long as physically distanced spacing is enforced.