New Jersey’s on ‘The Road Back’ – what’s reopening when?

This post will be updated as additional guidance for reopenings is issued.


Restaurants and bars welcomed back patrons for outdoor dining on Monday, June 15.

Tables must be placed 6 feet apart and are limited to eight customers per table.

Reservations are not required but are suggested, and patrons waiting for tables are encouraged to wait in their cars or away from the establishment.

Employees must wear face masks and gloves and must frequently sanitize high-touch areas, as well as communal items like pens and menus. Patrons are required to wear face coverings when passing through the indoor portion of the restaurant.

Any open, self-serve style areas like buffets, salad bars and drink dispensers must stay closed.

Bars and restaurants with liquor licenses have been temporarily granted permission to serve alcohol outdoors, beyond their permanently licensed property.

Restaurants were scheduled to be able to reopen for indoor dining at 25% capacity on July 2, but Gov. Murphy has rolled back those plans indefinitely.



Retail businesses that were not deemed essential – such as clothing and housewares – were able to once again open their doors to customers on June 15, limited to 50% capacity.

Employees must wear masks and gloves, and customers are required to wear face coverings. High-touch areas such as keypads, counters and shopping carts must be frequently cleaned and disinfected.

Stores are required to place clear signage and markers on the floor to encourage social distancing, and physical barriers should be installed wherever staying 6 feet apart is not possible.

On June 29, indoor shopping malls will also be permitted to open.

As with all previous retail openings, mall stores will be limited to 50% of their capacity, and both employees and shoppers must wear masks or face coverings.

Movie theaters, arcades and food court seating areas must all remain closed, but restaurants located inside malls can provide takeout, delivery and outdoor dining.



Personal care businesses like hair and nail salons, barbershops, spas, massage parlors and tattoo parlors were all given the go-ahead to reopen on June 22.

Cosmetology shops, day spas, electrology facilities and medical spas are permitted to take clients as well.

All personal care businesses are limited to appointment-only services and must perform health screenings for both clients and staff, including temperature checks.

Each staff-client pair must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other pairs.

Clients and staff are also required to wear face coverings at all times, unless face down on a massage table or in other situations when wearing a mask could inhibit an individual’s health.



Atlantic City’s nine casinos are cleared to open on Thursday, July 2 at 25% capacity.

Guidelines for casino visitors and staff will likely include mandatory face coverings as well as health screenings.

In-person betting can also resume at racetracks on July 2, including at sports books and lounges. There’s no set capacity, but operators will have to abide by the indoor occupancy limit that is in place at the time.

Outdoor amusement parks and water parks can also reopen July 2, but attendance must be kept to 50% capacity.

Ride operators will have to ensure six feet of distance between groups and will be required to frequently sanitize the rides. Parks must place markers on the ground as a reminder to stand 6 feet apart while waiting in lines.

Museums, aquariums, indoor bowling alleys, batting cages, shooting ranges, boardwalk arcades and indoor recreational facilities will all be able to reopen on July 2 as well, but at 25% of their capacity. Masks will be required for all customers and staff.



Kids will be welcomed back to day camps on July 6. Campers and staff must go through a health screening every day, and anyone with a fever over 100.4 or COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from entering.

Residential and overnight camps are not allowed to operate, and day camps aren’t allowed to plan any off-site activities, full-contact sports or overnight activities such as campouts.

Staff and campers must wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible, but they may take them off in extreme outdoor heat or when campers are in the water.

Any shared equipment or other high-touch items and areas must be frequently cleaned and sanitized.

Groups of campers should include the same children each day and the same staff member should be assigned to that group to limit contact.

Camps are also encouraged to consider staggering drop off and pick-up times to keep large groups from congregating in one location.



Beginning July 6, modified in-person graduation ceremonies will be permitted. Only outdoor ceremonies will be allowed, and they must be capped at the limit on outdoor gatherings that is in place at the time. Gov. Phil Murphy has said he expects to raise the limit on outdoor gatherings to 500 people by July 3.

Social distancing rules will be in place, excluding between immediate family members, and face coverings are strongly encouraged.

Schools are also strongly encouraged to limit the length of ceremonies to limit exposure and to limit speeches and performances as well.

In-person summer learning programs can also resume on July 6, including traditional summer school, extended school year programming, and classes for English language learners.

Schools are not required to provide these programs in-person and may continue with remote learning.

The New Jersey Department of Educations says schools must follow protocols similar to day camps, including mandating health screenings, wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing and staggering drop-off and pick-up times.

At colleges and universities, in-person clinical, lab and hands-on learning can resume on July 1, but schools must submit reopening plans at least 14 days before anyone returns to campus.

Career and training schools have also been given the go-ahead to reopen on July 1.



Day cares and other childcare centers were able to reopen on June 15.

Centers must screen children and staff every day, and anyone with a fever over 100.4 or COVID-19 symptoms will be prohibited from entering.

Staff members are required to wear masks, and children over the age of 2 are encouraged to wear face coverings a well. Masks for children under age 2 are prohibited.

Groups are limited to 10 children, and groups must be spaced 10 feet apart throughout the center. Staff members are not allowed to move between groups.

The sharing of supplies, food, toys and other items must be limited as much as possible, and close contact among children — such as through hugging, wrestling or games involving touching — is discouraged.



Contactless curbside pickup and drop-off of books, DVDs and other items began at libraries on June 15.

Library buildings will be able to reopen their doors to patrons on July 6 but will be limited to 25% of capacity.



Organized sports resumed on June 22 – including youth and adult leagues – but are limited to outdoor, non-contact activity. Players and officials must also maintain 6 feet of distance from one another.

Low-risk sports such as golf and tennis may resume competitions. Medium-risk sports – baseball, softball, soccer, and outdoor basketball – are limited to non-contact drills and practices only. And for high-risk sports such as football, only non-contact drills and practices may resume on June 22.

Any sports governed by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association or the NCAA must abide by those organizations’ rules.



Outdoor municipal and private club swimming pools were also given the go-ahead to open on June 22.

Pool managers have been instructed to stagger entry and exit points to avoid people congregating and to offer cashless options for payment whenever possible.

Capacity at pool facilities is limited to 50% at a time, and hot tub capacity must be reduced so individuals can maintain 6 feet of distance.

Face coverings are encouraged while around the pool but should not be worn in the water. Lifeguards should not wear face coverings while on duty.



NJ Motor Vehicle Commission locations reopened on June 15 for drop-off and pick-up services.

Licensing centers are processing and validating permits from driving schools and high schools on a drop-off basis, and vehicle centers are able to process registration and title work from dealers. License plates can also be surrendered by drop-off at these agency locations.

On June 29, the MVC is scheduled to reopen for in-person road tests and inspections. The in-person issuing of new licensing and permits has been pushed back to July 7 while the text notification system undergoes testing. The system is designed to check people in and allow them to wait outside the building for their appointment.

Designated licensing centers will be processing new licenses and permits, out-of-state transfers and REAL ID for appointments that were canceled due to COVID-19. Designated vehicle centers will be adding individual registration and title transactions.