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NJ tightens indoor gathering restrictions amid alarming coronavirus data

Virus Outbreak New Jersey
Posted at 2:20 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 23:08:33-04

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey is rolling back its capacity limits on indoor gatherings amid a continued increase in the rate of virus transmission, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

Indoor gatherings are now limited to 25 people or 25% of a room’s capacity. House parties are capped at 25 people.

Previously, indoor capacity was set at 100 people.

Weddings, funerals, memorial services, and religious and political activities protected under the First Amendment are exempt from the new indoor restrictions and can continue to operate under the previous limit of 25% of a room’s capacity, but with a maximum of 100 people.

The number of new cases has reached a level the state has not seen in eight weeks, according to Murphy. Additionally, the rate of transmission has more than doubled than what it was a few weeks ago.

New Jersey’s rate of transmission on Monday was 1.48. The last time it was at that level was in early April, according to Murphy.

"Until we begin to see the numbers of cases decrease – not just for one day, but over at least a seven-day trend – and our rate of transmission drop appreciably over a sustained period of time, these new restrictions on indoor gatherings will remain in place," Murphy said during a coronavirus briefing.

A rate of transmission over 1.0 means that one new case of coronavirus will lead to at least one additional case. Health and science experts recommend a transmission rate below 1.0.

The increase is believed to be partly linked to indoor house parties, Murphy said.

“We know that there are many more of you who've been responsible in your actions, and who've taken your civic duties to help us defeat COVID-19 seriously,” the governor added. “Unfortunately, the actions of a few knuckleheads leave us no other course. We have to go back and tighten these restrictions.”

When asked if New Jersey was entering a "second wave" of the coronavirus outbreak, Murphy said he doesn't think the state ever got out of the "first wave."