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NJ lifts coronavirus stay-at-home order, asks residents to take precautions

Shawn M. Carter

New Jersey residents are no longer bound by the state’s stay-at-home order.

Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday that he would sign an executive order lifting the rule effective immediately. He also said he would sign an order to increase the limit on outdoor gatherings.

Stay-at-home rules went into effect in March to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“With more and more of our businesses reopening, we are no longer requiring you to stay at home, but we are asking you to continue to be responsible and safe,” Murphy said at a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday. “And, when you do go out, please continue to wear face coverings and keep a social distance from others, whenever possible.”

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Under new guidelines, indoor gatherings will be allowed at either 25 percent of a building’s capacity or 50 people in total, whichever number is lower. For outdoor gatherings, 100 people will be allowed to congregate. Those numbers could increase to 250 by June 22 and 500 by July 3.

The executive order also allows for pools to open June 22, along with all outdoor and recreational businesses, but not yet for amusement parks, arcades and water parks.

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There are roughly 165,000 positive COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, data show, and more than 12,300 people have died from the virus there. Murphy said there were 375 new cases overnight.

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All 50 states have started to reopen in some capacity, but there are stark variations based on how big of an impact of the virus. New York, for example, which has had 208,000 coronavirus cases and 17,127 deaths, is reopening but leaving two weeks in between each phase to monitor possible infection spikes.

Some businesses operating in the pandemic could foreshadow what the new normal could look like. Hotel chain Hilton, for example, partnered with the maker of Lysol and consulted with the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Response Team to develop enhanced cleaning procedures. Meanwhile, Airbnb is enforcing stricter protocols, requiring rentals to stay vacant for at least 24 hours between checkout and a new reservation.

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