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Murphy announces increase in indoor capacity for businesses, venues

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced yesterday that indoor dining capacity will be increased to 35 percent and the 10 p.m. curfew will be lifted. – Photo by NJdotcom / Twitter

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) held a press conference yesterday to issue a new executive order and give updates on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in New Jersey.

The state reported an additional 2,021 positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 631,309 confirmed cases. They also received 508 new positive antigen tests that have yet to be confirmed. Murphy said that since Jan. 13, the number of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases have decreased by approximately 20 percent.

There were 2,986 hospitalizations as of Tuesday night, with 525 patients in critical or intensive care and 374 patients on ventilators. 

In addition, there were 52 new confirmed deaths, bringing the total to 19,506 deaths statewide. Another 2,187 deaths were potentially linked to COVID-19.

Murphy signed an executive order yesterday to increase the indoor dining capacity from 25 percent to 35 percent, starting Friday. The state will also lift the 10 p.m. curfew for indoor dining, though counties and municipalities may still enforce limits after 8 p.m.

“I’m proud that we’ve been able to protect our restaurants from the rollercoaster of openings and closings that other states have had to implement,” Murphy said. “We have been consistent in our approach. Because we opened indoor dining responsibly, never once have we had to reduce capacity.”

Maximum capacity for indoor entertainment and recreation areas, as well as personal care businesses, will also increase to 35 percent. Indoor gatherings such as religious ceremonies, weddings, political activities, memorial services, funerals and venue performances will have 35 percent capacity but no more than 150 individuals allowed.

Murphy said a total of 837,225 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered as of yesterday. All six mega-sites in New Jersey reopened yesterday after having closed for the winter storm from Sunday to Tuesday.

A federal retail pharmacy program will launch next week through the state’s partnership with Rite Aid and CVS Pharmacy, Murphy said. It will receive additional vaccines from the federal government outside of the state’s supply, he said.

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