Outdoor, indoor capacities to increase; proms may have dancing



TRENTON — Because of improving COVID-19 data, increased capacities will be allowed for a variety of indoor and outdoor venues throughout New Jersey on May 10, affecting school proms and graduations, church, entertainment and sports events, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday. 

Indoor room capacities will increase from 35 percent to 50 percent, from the current 150 to 250 person maximum, for private catered events such as weddings, funerals, political events and performances. Dance floors may open at private events such as proms, but not at public venues such as nightclubs, which are less controlled, the governor said.

“However, a reminder that the requirement for wearing a face mask and keeping a social distance from other groups on a dance floor will be maintained and strictly enforced,” he said.

The state Department of Education has issued specific guidelines for school proms and graduations.

Capacity limits for indoor restaurants and stores will remain at 50 percent capacity for now.

“But if the numbers keep going like they’re going, stay tuned,” regarding loosening of restrictions at restaurants, the governor said.

Also on May 10, general outdoor venues will be allowed to increase capacity from 200 to 500 individuals. 

“Should our public health metrics continue to trend as they have been, we would hope to increase this limit yet again before Memorial Day,” Gov. Murphy said.

The capacity for large outdoor venues such as stadiums, with 1,000 or more fixed seats, will increase from 30 to 50 percent, with social distancing, the governor said. 

“We’re also redefining large outdoor venues from those with 2,500 seats to 1,000 seats,” he said. “We will be prepared to relax the 6-foot distancing, should the CDC move in that direction.” 

In addition, outdoor carnivals and fairs such as county and state fairs will be permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity, the governor said.

On Wednesday, the state will issue new guidelines for operating children’s day camps and summer camps.

The loosening of restrictions is possible because COVID data has been trending in the right direction for the past couple weeks, Gov. Murphy said.

The statewide rate of transmission is currently 0.9 – a decreasing rate of spread. The positivity rate for all PCR tests recorded on April 22nd was 6.44 percent – based on 38,732 PCR tests.

Gov. Murphy said 2,819,226 New Jerseyans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, putting the state at 60 percent of the way toward its goal of having 4.7 million fully vaccinated adults by June 30.

The number of hospitalized patients is 1,797, trending downward by 25 percent since April 7, the governor said. There are 398 patients in intensive care units and 246 on ventilators. 

There were 19 new in-hospital deaths, bringing the state’s cumulative confirmed death toll to 22,788. 

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