NJ boosts outdoor crowd COVID limits to 200, more at large venues
As spring weather continues to warm up, a number of crowd capacities will be increasing with a continued emphasis on outdoor events.
Outdoor gathering limits will increase to 200 people, effective at 6 a.m. on Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced at Monday's state briefing. General indoor gathering limits will remain at 25 people.
Also effective on Friday, seating at venues of that can fit 2,500 or more people would double to 20% capacity with capacity for outdoor seating increasing to 30%.
The governor said his pending directive would clarify that banquet halls and similar venues will able to host up to 35% indoor capacity with a limit of 150 people.
He added that would align all catered events with the same capacity as indoor weddings, whether it be a bar mitzvah, birthday, anniversary or other celebration.
Outdoor limits for the following events remained uncapped based on First Amendment grounds:
- Religious services
- Political activities
- Memorial services
While noting that there was not yet specific guidance issued for high school graduations, Murphy said he hoped that the current updates on capacity limits would give people "the signal" that another increase would be forthcoming.
He added that was assuming the spread of COVID-19 variants remained relatively under control, statewide.
The Prudential Center reacted on Twitter, noting the announcement on crowd capacity means the release of more tickets to see Devils’ games on home ice.
Among the state's minor league baseball teams, the Jersey Shore Blueclaws also cheered the expanded capacity limit, saying it "takes us one step closer to welcoming all our our fans back to the ballpark."
Along with the planned boosts for capacity limits, the state noted continued progress on vaccine distribution, with more than 4 million doses now administered.
As of mid-morning Monday, 2.56 million first doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have been distributed while there were 1.47 million fully vaccinated people statewide.
490,000 vaccine doses this week were being received, Gov. Phil Murphy said.
As of Monday, those now eligible for vaccination statewide include:
- Restaurant, food processing and distribution industry workers
- Grocery personnel
- Warehouse workers
- Remaining eldercare workers
- Hospitality workers - hotels and casinos
- Elections workers
- Postal/shipping workers
- Judicial system employees
Restaurant workers are included separately in food distribution, while hospitality references the hotel industry and casinos.
All adults and those 16 and older will be eligible on May 1, per federal directive.
New York on Monday announced an earlier timeline for those 30 and older to become eligible to schedule and receive COVID-19 vaccines as of Tuesday.
A week later, starting April 6, all New Yorkers age 16 and older would be eligible to schedule and receive vaccines, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.