New Jersey will require restaurants to stop indoor dining by 10 p.m. and prohibit all indoor, interstate organized sports up to the high school level, two administration officials confirmed to POLITICO Monday morning.
The new rules will take effect Thursday morning, according to the officials, who requested anonymity.
Gov. Phil Murphy plans to formally announced the new restrictions during his regular coronavirus briefing at 1 p.m. Monday in Trenton.
“We’ll take some steps later today, but they won’t come close to what we were doing in the spring,” Murphy said during an appearance on CNBC, without offering specifics. “This is not a lockdown, but this is tweaking our parameters at the edges.”
The moves were later confirmed by the administration officials. News of the restrictions was first reported by NJ Advance Media.
The details: The officials said restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges and casinos will no longer be able to serve indoors between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Restaurants can still serve outside, they said.
Moreover, bar seating will be banned under the new restrictions. But bars and restaurants will be allowed to seat groups of people at tables closer than six feet together, if they are separated by plexiglass. Restaurants will also be allowed to set up “outdoor igloos.”
The governor is also banning indoor interstate sports for elementary through high school students. Those restrictions don’t impact professional or collegiate sports.
Background: The new restrictions are being imposed as cases of coronavirus are surging again, with more than 2,000 new cases reported on Sunday.
Pfizer on Monday announced positive results of an early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trial. Those results show the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective among trial volunteers.
Murphy said that despite the early good news from Pfizer, New Jerseyans need to stay vigilant, predicting that the United States is potentially “plus or minus” six months before the virus is under control.
“This is not forever and always we got a six-month window, basically, to keep this thing at check,” Murphy said on CNBC. “We’re not entirely in the clear, but a dramatically different and better place as much as six months from now.”
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