NEW JERSEY — New Jersey raised its limit on the capacity for outdoor gatherings as the businesses in the state continue to slowly reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effective Friday, a crowd size of up to 500 people will be allowed for outdoor gatherings — just in time for the Fourth of July weekend and in-person graduation ceremonies, which are allowed to be held beginning Monday, according to Gov. Murphy.
The capacity doubled from the previous limit of 250 people.
First Amendment-protected activities, including political and religious gatherings, will have no limit for outdoor gatherings, Murphy added.
However, limits on indoor gatherings remain unchanged at either 25% capacity, with a maximum of 100 people, Murphy said.
The governor also announced he has extended the public health emergency in the state for an additional 30 days.
By extending the public health emergency, the state has the authority to remain vigilant and prepared to act in case a new outbreak of COVID-19 occurs, he said.
Gov. Murphy and Health Commissioner Judith Perischilli reminded New Jerseyans to continue to practice social distancing, wear masks and frequently practice proper hygiene.
Murphy also reminded people who will spend time at outdoor bars and restaurants not to let their guards down and keep masks on unless they are eating or drinking.
“We cannot have an overcrowded bar turn into a COVID-19 tinderbox,” he said.
The state has seen progress in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. New Jersey has reported 172,356 confirmed cases of the virus and a death toll of 13,251.