Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the stay-at-home order that has been in effect since the height of the coronavirus outbreak at a press conference today.
This comes after Murphy faced tough criticism for participating in a protest over the weekend for Black Lives Matters, that broke the governors own limited gathering rules and was evident that social distancing was not adhered to.
“With more and more of our businesses reopening, we are no longer requiring you to stay at home, but we are asking you to continue to be responsible and safe,” Murphy said at his regular COVID-19 briefing in Trenton Tuesday. “And, when you do go out, please continue to wear face coverings and keep a social distance from others, whenever possible.”
Along with the news of ending the stay at home order, Muphy said outdoor gatherings up to 100 people are now permitted (the previously limited was 25). The maximum levels will rise to 250 people on June 22nd and then 500 people on July 3rd. Indoor gatherings will now be capped at 50 people or 25% of the building’s normal capacity, whichever amount is lower. The current indoor limit is 10.
The revised 100-person outdoor limit does not apply to any and all “First Amendment-protected outdoor activities” including religious services protests.
The governor also announced churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship may reopen to indoor services with new capacity limits after months of restrictions. He also raised the number of outdoor gatherings.
Religious institutions are included in an executive order that allows people to gather indoors at either 25% of a building’s capacity or 50 people in total — whichever number is lower, he said. People must also wear face coverings and stand six feet apart, Murphy said.
But Murphy said his order doesn’t require houses of worship to open their doors, or discontinue outdoor services that some have adopted during the outbreak.
“No one should reopen unless, and until, they feel fully confident in their ability to do so,” he said.