New Jersey is reducing the number of people allowed to gather both indoors and outdoors to fight the rising second wave of COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday morning after the state set record days for new cases of coronavirus over the weekend.
Indoor gatherings will be reduced from 25 to 10 people, and outdoor from 500 to 100 people, with the winter holidays fast approaching, Murphy said. But he said the change does not affect the current 25% limit on indoor state dining capacity.
“We think these are steps combined with some of the other steps we̵
“It’s a lot of fatigue, it’s a lot of transmission of private settings,” he added. “Especially with the upcoming holidays, we need to urge people not to let their hair down, to be vigilant, to distance themselves, to cover their faces, the basics.”
Murphy also warned residents that the pandemic “has gotten worse and will get worse.”
“So we have to be honest with people,” he said. “Especially with the cold weather … with the holidays, it’s going to get worse. Please, God, it doesn’t reach the levels we saw in the spring. “
And Murphy left open the possibility of installing another blockade across the country, as he did during the first wave in March.
“Do we reserve the right to exclude everything? “Unfortunately, we have to deal with these numbers,” he said in a separate interview with WPIX.
Current restrictions on indoor and outdoor collection include separate numbers specific to indoor activities, such as weddings, funerals, memorial services and entertainment centers. It is not clear whether they will change from the current 150 people or 25% of the capacity of a room. Currently, indoor religious and political activities are limited to 150 people or 25% of capacity, whichever is lower.
Murphy said the new restrictions applied to “your personal situation.”
“We ask people to make a very small Thanksgiving only with your loved ones,” the governor said.
He added that employees would “enforce” whenever they could.
“That’s all, from revoking your alcohol license to closing your restaurant,” Murphy said. “It’s harder to do if it’s in a private setting, but we’ll do our best to enforce it.”
Murphy is expected to reveal more during his latest coronavirus briefing in Trenton at 1 p.m.
New Jersey reported 8,935 more COVID-19 cases over the weekend – 4,395 on Saturday and another 4,540 on Sunday.
Both numbers broke records, but with a warning. The state’s capacity for testing in the spring was about 4,000 tests a day, while current daily tests range between 15,000 and 55,000 a day, according to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard. This means that in the spring there were probably many more cases that remained unsolved.
There were also 2,115 patients hospitalized in New Jersey with confirmed or suspected cases by Sunday night – well below the 8,300 patients during the spring peak.
Still, hospitalizations and the daily positivity rate are steadily rising, and officials warn that deaths – which have so far not risen at the rate they reached in the spring – are likely to increase.
“We have much more capacity than in the spring,” Murphy told hospitals. “We know a lot more about this virus than we did in the spring. But the numbers are clearly going in the wrong direction. “
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In recent days, the state has introduced several other restrictions to help fight proliferation. Currently, New Jersey bars and restaurants in the state have to close the indoor dining room between 10pm and 5am every day. Plus, the governor has given local authorities the choice to arrange for the closure of the business at 8 p.m., if they wish. And all indoor interstate organized sports up to the high school level will be banned under the new rules.
Murphy said schools continued to be a positive moment during the pandemic with 52 cases of school transfers in the state of about 3,000 buildings.
Asked whether the state would close schools if the number reached a certain level, the governor said: “I hope not. Our school experience has actually been good so far. “
“By the way, schools are a good example of this when you prepare properly, distance yourself socially, put up barriers, impose disguise,” he told WPIX. “That’s why we see low levels of transmission in schools – because they do it the right way.”
Murphy, meanwhile, met with governors of four neighboring states on Sunday to discuss possible coordination of new restrictions. They did not reveal any new policies on Sunday night, but Murphy said there may soon be a test and quarantine report related to students returning from college for the holidays.
“We will try to do as much as we can regionally,” Murphy said in a separate interview with Fox 29. “Our steps may not be exactly the same. But the overall thematic approach is very consistent across countries. “
On the positive side, Moderna announced that its coronavirus vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective. This comes a week after rival Pfizer Inc. announced that its own COVID-19 vaccine appears to be about 90% effective. Federal authorities hope to release vaccines in the new year.
“The news about the vaccine is really good,” Murphy said. This is great. But he’s not here yet. We are in a hellish battle. This thing is growing and we need to stay strong. “
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Brent Johnson can be reached in firstname.lastname@example.org.