NJ loosens COVID-19 restrictions, lifts curfew for restaurants

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GOV. Phil Murphy announced on Wednesday, Feb. 3 an executive order that relaxes indoor dining restrictions in the state.

Murphy lifted the 10 p.m. indoor dining ban that has been in place since November and announced that due to statewide case totals and hospitalizations trending downward in the past three weeks, indoor dining capacity is expanded to 35 percent. He added that counties and municipalities can still enact their own curfew after 8 p.m. if they so choose.

The executive order will go into effect Friday, Feb. 5.

“We are able to take this step today because the data says we can,” Murphy said. “I feel confident in signing this order because of the recent trends in our hospitals and our rate of transmission. We believe that we can make this expansion without leading to undue further stress on our health care system.”

In a joint statement, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Hoboken Mayor Ravinder Bhalla said, “Based on guidance provided by Governor Murphy and the State of New Jersey, we have made the joint decision to allow bars and restaurants to operate during normal, regular business hours without a local curfew. Businesses must continue to follow the capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements put forward by the state.

They mayors added that they will be monitoring businesses to make sure safety precautions remain in place.

“This time around, we believe that a coordinated regional approach is the best way to implement safety measures, when necessary. Our public safety officers and City staff will be aggressively monitoring all bars and restaurants during overnight hours to ensure COVID-19 safety precautions are being taken at all times,” their statement read.

If not followed, any bar or restaurant will be subject to immediate penalties, including but not limited to closure.

Indoor entertainment and amusement and recreation facilities – including gyms, casinos and personal care businesses across the state can also expand their indoor capacity limits.

As of Wednesday, 837,225 vaccinations have been administered across the state – 691,229 first doses and 145,979 second doses.

New Jersey’s six mass vaccination sites reopened on Wednesday after appointments had to be rescheduled Monday and Tuesday due to the snow storm.

The state death toll stands at 19,506 and the current rate of transmission is .95, which means that a person with COVID-19 is not likely to infect multiple people with the virus.

Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at [email protected].

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