Tri-state area to begin lifting most COVID-19 restrictions

Those long-awaited reopening plans now have a date

In a little more than two weeks New Jersey will lift most COVID-19 capacity limits on restaurants, bars, gyms, and other businesses. Gov. Phil Murphy credited the dramatic loosening of restrictions to declining COVID-19 cases.

Effective May 19, New Jersey will join New York and Connecticut in removing capacity limits on outdoor gatherings and indoor dining. Limits are also to be removed for gyms, casinos, salons, retail and indoor recreation. There are a few caveats: Indoor gatherings will be limited to 250 people and large indoor venues — places with 1,000 fixed seats — will be capped at 30% capacity. The rule for social distancing will still apply; it remains at 6 feet. And masks must be worn if you’re not eating or drinking.

Murphy says the state’s progress, which includes more than 3 million residents now fully vaccinated, is reason to push up other reopening steps originally planned for next week. Instead, beginning Friday, May 7, outdoor gatherings limits will increase to 500 people. Indoor gatherings for events like proms and weddings will get a bump to 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is less.

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