New Jersey expanded its reopening again on Monday, entering Stage 2 of its plan to restart its economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health officials continue to monitor the state's coronavirus data, and a downward trend in deaths, hospitalizations and new case prompted state officials to move forward.
The Garden State's Stage 2 allows:
- Restaurants and bars to resume offering outdoor dining.
- Non-essential retailers may again allow shoppers inside, as long as stores are kept at half-capacity.
- Child day care centers may reopen, but with daily temperature checks, limited class sizes and limited contact between kids and staff.
- Children will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks.
- Staff members are required to wear masks.
- Houses of worship resumed indoor services last week. Indoor religious gatherings can be 25 percent of building capacity or 50 people, whichever number is fewer.
- Masks are recommended.
- Outdoor special events, including legal fireworks displays are permitted.
- Crowds much be limited to 100 people. Limit could be increased to 250 on June 22 and 500 on July 3.
- Libraries may offer curbside pickup. The public is still not allowed inside libraries; staffing should be kept to a minimum.
- Real estate open houses may resume, provided they comply with restrictions on indoor gatherings and that attendees wear face coverings.
- Car washes can reopen.
- People can hold yard sales.
"This is a big day," Murphy told NBC's Today Show on Monday morning from the Asbury Park boardwalk. "We're slowly but surely getting back on our feet. We're opening back up and it feels great."
With each stage, state officials are pleading with residents to continue wearing face coverings when they got out and to continue observing social distancing guidelines.
While the virus appears to be on the wane in New Jersey, many other U.S. states and many European and Asian nations have endured deadly second waves. Officials hope that can be avoided that by exercising additional caution and graduating their economic reopening.
New Jersey reported 40 new deaths and 305 new cases in the last 24 hours on Sunday. The state has confirmed 12,625 deaths and 166,881 cases since officials began counting in March.
As of Monday, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors and other personal-care businesses were set to reopen, starting June 22. Governor Murphy has yet to make an announcement on when gyms and fitness centers can reopen.
Murphy has not yet projected when Stage 3 would likely begin.
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