New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced he will ease the state’s indoor gathering limits and lift the 10 p.m. ET curfew for restaurants, citing decreasing hospitalizations and a lower rate of Covid-19 spread.
Starting Friday at 8 a.m. ET, indoor gathering capacity limits will be raised from 25% to 35%, including indoor dining. Local restrictions may still remain in place.
The prohibition on indoor bar seating will still remain in effect, the governor said during a news conference Wednesday.
New Jersey is the only state that has not walked back its indoor dining capacity limits once implemented, according to Murphy. Indoor dining has been capped at a 25% capacity limit since late September.
The easing of indoor capacity restrictions to 35% also applies to religious ceremonies, political activities, funeral services, and indoor performance venues, Murphy explained. However, such gatherings may not exceed 150 individuals.
“I feel confident in signing this order because of the recent trends in our hospitals, and our rate of transmission,” Murphy said. “While some of these numbers are still high, and we’ll get to that later, we believe that we can make this expansion without leading to undue further stress on our healthcare system.”
On Jan. 13th, there were 3,726 New Jersey residents hospitalized with either confirmed or suspected Covid-19 cases. That number has since decreased roughly 20%, the governor said.
Murphy emphasized that state health officials will continue to closely monitor the potential further spread of the highly-contagious novel coronavirus variants from South Africa and the UK.
837,225 vaccine doses have been administered so far, the governor went on to report, adding that appointment rescheduling's due to the winter storm will not create a “domino effect” on future appointments.
Remember: These numbers were released by the state’s health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.