TRENTON – Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday signed Executive Order No. 196, which lowers indoor and outdoor gathering limits. Effective 6 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, the indoor gathering limit will decrease from 25 to 10 people. The outdoor gathering limit will decrease from 500 people to 150 people, effective 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 23.
“As we have been saying for weeks, this will not be a normal a holiday season, and it’s incumbent on all of us to avoid the type of gatherings that have proven to be particularly dangerous places for COVID-19 to spread,” Murphy said. “With the alarming numbers we are seeing right now, we have to take these steps today to preserve and protect public health and to slow the spread of this virus.”
As Murphy encouraged New Jersey residents to keep their Thanksgiving holiday celebrations to the immediate family, newly re-elected Congressman Jeff Van Drew issues a statement criticizing Murphy for his executive order.
“As elected officials we take an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the First Amendment is crystal clear about the right of the people to peacefully assemble, particularly in the privacy of their own homes ahead of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the rest of the Holiday Season,” Van Drew said. “This is the United States of America, and no matter how noble Gov. Murphy may believe his intentions to be, he must respect the rule of law and the limits on his executive authority or the State Legislature and the people of New Jersey must hold him accountable.”
The limit for weddings, funerals, memorial services and religious and political activities remain unchanged and will be limited to 25% of the capacity of the room in which the gathering takes place, up to a maximum of 150 individuals.
Indoor sporting competitions and practices will be permitted to exceed the 10 person limit only for individuals necessary for the practice or competition, such as players, coaches, and referees, but may not exceed 150 individuals. For most indoor sports, this will mean that there can be no spectators.
Legislative and judicial proceedings are not subject to the indoor gatherings limits.
Weddings, funerals, memorial services, and religious and political activities are not subject to the outdoor gatherings limit. All other types of gatherings, such as a high school football game or an outdoor concert, will be limited to 150 individuals. Athletes, coaches, referees and other individuals necessary for a professional or collegiate sports competition are not counted towards the 150 person limit.
Outdoor gatherings continue to be subject to strict social distancing restrictions, including the requirement to wear masks whenever it is not possible to social distance.
For a copy of Executive Order No. 196, click here.