New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Monday morning that people are less allowed to gather, both indoors and outdoors, on record days of new COVID-19 cases outside the home in New Jersey.
Murphy said 25 to 10 people would be dropped at winter ceremonies and 500 to 100 people would be driven out of the house during the winter holidays. Changes on indoor food do not affect the current 25% capacity limit.
The governor said during an interview on MSNBC, “We think those are the steps, paired with some other steps that we expect these numbers to take down.”
“It’s a lot of fatigue, it’s a lot of private setting transmissions,” he said. “Especially with the upcoming holidays, we have been urging people not to let their hair fall, be vigilant, social distance, face covering, basic stuff.”
Murphy has not provided additional details, but a briefing is scheduled for the afternoon.
The current range of indoor and outdoor gathering includes a varying number of specific indoor activities such as weddings, funerals, memorial services, and entertainment centers. It is unclear whether they will replace the current 150 people or 25% of a room’s capacity. Indoor religious and political activities are currently limited to 150 people or 25% of capacity, whichever is less.
“We’ll do everything we can to enforce compliance,” Murphy said during a separate morning interview on Pix 11.
Murphy warned residents that the epidemic “has gotten worse, and it is about to get worse.”
“So we’ve been honest with people,” he said. “Especially with the cold weather … with the holidays, it’s going to get worse. Please God, it’s not for the levels we saw in spring.”
New Jersey reported 8,935 more COVID-19 cases over the weekend – 4,395 on Saturday and another 4,540 on Sunday.
Both of those figures broke records – but with one caveat. According to the state health department’s COVID-19 dashboard, the state’s testing capacity in spring was about 4,000 tests a day, while current daily tests range between 15,000 and 55,000. This means that there were many more cases in the spring that went undetermined.
Nevertheless, hospitalization and daily percentage positivity are steadily increasing, and officials warn of deaths – which have not risen to the rate they did in the spring so far – are likely to increase.
“We’re in for a rough ride, there’s no question about it,” Murphy said.
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The state has imposed some other restrictions in recent times to help fight proliferation. New Jersey bars and restaurants in the state are now required to shut down indoor meals every day between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. In addition, the governor has given local governments the option to cease trading at 8 pm if they wish. And all indoor interstate games up to high school level will be off-limits under the new rules.
Meanwhile, Murphy met Sunday with the governors of four neighboring states to possibly coordinate new sanctions. He did not disclose any new policies on Sunday night.
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Brent Johnson Can be reached [email protected].