As Gov. Phil Murphy continues to gradually peel back the near-lockdown restrictions he put New Jersey under to fight to combat the coronavirus, he also cautioned the state would not fully reopen to a “new normal” until there was a vaccine widely available – something experts say may not happen for some time.
The governor did say he plans to announce today “a bunch more steps” of his multi-stage reopening plan heading into Memorial Day weekend, but the focus, Murphy said, will be largely on “outside stuff” for now.
“Not exclusively, but a lot of it is outside,” he said.
“And that will continue to be, at least in the near-term, our bias.”
On Wednesday, the governor said restaurants in New Jersey could be able to serve diners outdoors, nonessential businesses could let shoppers in stores within “a matter of weeks” and the likelihood of lifting more restrictions in the near term depends on whether the downward trends of new cases and hospitalizations continues.
In recent days, Murphy has allowed state and county parks to reopen with social-distancing restrictions, permitted nonessential retail businesses to offer curbside pickup, and said beaches, boardwalks and lakes can be open this summer with guidelines. For-hire fishing vessels and watercraft rental businesses in the state reopened this past weekend, as key fishing seasons get under way.
On Tuesday, he announced auto dealerships and bicycle shops can conduct in-person sales again, the day after he announced an executive order that allows “some additional outdoor recreational areas and businesses to restart their operations,” including batting cages, golf ranges, shooting and archery ranges and horseback riding.
Golfers may also now tee-off in foursomes.
Private tennis clubs and community gardens can also reopen, the governor added.
Some drive-through zoos are also reopening, such as Brookhollow’s Barnyard in Boonton, Space Farms in Sussex and Skylands Stadium in Augusta.
Meanwhile, there was some debate on whether all recreational campgrounds were reopening immediately ahead of the holiday weekend, after several announcements indicated that it was effective immediately. However, a spokesperson for Murphy said the grounds were not yet open.
“Recreational campgrounds remain closed,” the spokesperson said, noting that some residential campgrounds are open. This prompted the New Jersey Campground Owners and Outdoor Lodging Association to revise its statement.
New Jersey’s coronavirus death toll climbed Wednesday to 10,747, with 150,399 total cases since the outbreak began March 4, though the number of patients at the state’s hospitals being treated for the virus fell to the lowest level since health officials began publicly tracking that information.
What is open or reopening
Many restaurants, including fast-food chains, Starbucks and Dunkin’ are open
Restaurants and bars are open but have been ordered by Murphy not to accept dine-in customers. Takeout and delivery services are being offered and establishments that serve alcohol will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol, Murphy said.
Customers picking up food also must wear face coverings.
Starbucks said about 85% of its coffee shops across the nation have reopened under modified operations and hours as states ease restrictions.
You can now have your pet groomed and go to doggy day care
Breweries are delivering to your door
Breweries and brew pubs are also being granted special permission to conduct home deliveries.
Some had already started the service and then had to scramble for permission from the state.
New Jersey state and county parks and golf courses reopened at the beginning of May in the first major change to the near-lockdown orders implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
Fishing is also allowed. The Garden State’s trout season opened at the start of April.
You can buy a car or a house
Open houses, however, remain banned.
Auto dealers can make sales remotely and online, allowing vehicles to be delivered to customers or allowing for curbside pickup.
Only car repair and service centers had previously been allowed to remain open.
You can also test drive a car before you buy it.
Under revised rules issued at the end of April, if you order a vehicle online or over the phone, you now can test drive it before buying, as long you are alone in the car and the vehicle is cleaned and sanitized afterward should you decide not to buy it.
Auto repair shopsBanks and other financial institutionsBars and restaurants (for drive-through, delivery and takeout only)Bicycle shops (but only to provide service and repairs)Convenience stores and grocery stores (any stores that sell food)Farming equipment storesFood banksGas stationsGun shopsHardware storesLaundromats and dry-cleaning servicesLiquor storesLivestock feed storesMail and package delivery storesMedical supply storesMicrobreweries or brewpubs (for home delivery only)Mobile phone retail and repair shopsNurseries and garden centersOffice supply stores and printing shopsPet storesPet groomers, pet daycare providers and pet boarding businessesPharmacies and medical marijuana dispensariesStores that sell items for religious observance or worshipStores that sell supplies for young children
Many essential retailers, including supermarkets, have established shopping hours for seniors and those at risk if they were to be exposed to the coronavirus and have continued to limit the number of customers allowed in the stores at any one time.
Murphy has required all store employees and shoppers to wear face masks or coverings to help fight the coronavirus outbreak until further notice and has limited customers in stores to a max of 50% of the store’s capacity.
Store employees are allowed to limit the time offenders are allowed to stay in the store and ask anybody who is not wearing a mask or covering to stay away from other customers, a Murphy official said.
Those under age 2 or those with medical reasons for not wearing a face covering are exempt.
The state’s order also prevents hairdressers and other personal care business workers or owners from providing services in their own home, other homes or business settings to anyone but family members, other members of their households, or individuals with whom they have close personal relationships, such as a caretaker. This includes hosting clients or visiting their homes.
A business relationship alone does not count as a close personal relationship, the order states.
Dentists can do emergency procedures
Many dental offices around the state are currently closed but can render elective — or non-emergency — surgeries and invasive procedures, starting next week.
Medical marijuana can be picked up curbside
Dispensaries can now offer curbside pickup to patients, ridding them of the need to enter the storefronts or stand in lines.
Patients also can register caregivers or designated people to pick up their medicine at the reduced fee of $20 previously offered to some low-income patients.
Banks are open
Yes, banks can remain open, but some have opted to close locations.
Some day care centers are open
” State officials have unveiled a program to help cover child care costs for essential workers fighting the virus outbreak.
The post office is open and mail is being delivered.
FedEx and UPS are delivering too
United States Postal Service offices remain open and continue to deliver mail, according to its website’s s section. Printing and office supply shops and mail and delivering shops will be allowed to remain open.
“We removed quantity limits on products our suppliers can send to our fulfillment centers,” Amazon spokesman Timothy Carter said in an email. “We continue to adhere to extensive health and safety measures to protect our associates as they pick, pack and ship products to customers, and are improving delivery spe across our store.
“We are stating that gatherings of vehicles, such as drive-in movies or religious services, are not a violation of my order prohibiting mass gatherings, so long as all participants remain in their cars,” Murphy said on May 13.
“If vehicles are closer than six feet apart, then all windows, sunroofs or convertible tops must remain closed, unless the safety of the occupants is endangered.”
Here is a list of houses of worship offering live-streaming.
Catholic churches within the Diocese of Trenton will begin to reopen for private prayer, but gatherings for Mass or other group liturgical celebrations remain on hold until further notice. Bishop David O’Connell created a task force of pastors to develop a phased approach that will gradually reopen churches to traditional worship.
New Jersey’s largest Catholic diocese reopened its churches across the state for private prayer on Sunday as phase one of a three-phase reopening process announced by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the Archbishop of Newark.
Some Catholic cemeteries are allowing visitors for the first time in nearly two months: The Archdiocese of Newark says visitors may return, while adhering to social distancing guidelines, to the eight cemeteries. The cemeteries are open, with limited Monday through Saturday hours.
Murphy’s decision to deem firearm dealers an essential business follows guidelines issued by the federal Department of Homeland Security, which added gun dealers, ranges and manufacturers to its essential business guide for its coronavirus response.
The gun shops may re-open “by appointment only and under limited hours,” Murphy said. He said the state would continue to enforce its regulations on gun sales.
Some courts are back in session – virtually
While new Superior Court jury trials and grand jury proceedings remain suspended at least through the end of May, other court activity has moved to the virtual world, with video conferences and phone calls replacing in-person sessions to keep pending cases moving along.
NJ Transit, PATH running on modified schedules
Officials of the rail line that runs between South Jersey and Philadelphia previously said the schedule would be reduced and stations closed.
SEPTA has returned to a regular schedule on many of its bus and trolley lines.
You can donate blood
Several organizations and state health officials are asking people to continue to step up in the fight against COVID-19 by donating blood. Donating blood is considered an “essential” service during statewide lockdowns, so you are allowed to venture outside your house to donate.
Some county fairs are still scheduled, others are cancelled
Around New Jersey, organizers of county fairs are closely watching developments in the pandemic and making tough decisions about whether to carry on with their events as planned. Several have already canceled the annual traditions, while others remain hopeful that life will return to normal by opening day.
What is closed
Schools closed through the rest of the 2019-20 academic year
High schools are now working on plans for virtual graduations, following the state Department of Education’s announcement May 8 that only virtual ceremonies should be planned for the Class of 2020.
Schools have been closed since March because of the coronavirus outbreak, and schools in the three states that border New Jersey — Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania — have already announced that in-person instruction has been halted through the end of the academic year.
Adult medical day care centers are closed
Centers are closed statewide until further notice.
Libraries around the state have been ordered closed, but residents can continue to access many of their resources without having to leave the comfort of their own bedrooms.
Digital collections — like e-books, videos and music — are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at various libraries across the Garden State, particularly larger ones that cater to a wider base of library users.
Gyms and fitness centers remain closed
Murphy has ordered all gyms and fitness centers to close indefinitely.
Any workouts need to take place at home or at alternative sites.
When will Six Flags Great Adventure open?
Patrons will have to register through an online reservation system, which Six Flags says will prevent overcrowding. Sales will not be available at the gate, and people without advance reservations will not be allowed to enter.
Movie theaters are not open
Murphy in March ordered all movie theaters to close.
Casinos are not open
A reopening date could be announced soon.
J. Motor Vehicle Commission locations remain closed
All Motor Vehicle Commission offices in the state are closed.
Online processing of some documents is available on Motor Vehicle Commission’s website.
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