New Jersey Easing COVID Restrictions For Restaurants, Outdoor Gatherings And More

Murphy said indoor capacity will rise to 50% three days early, on Friday, May 7. That will allow proms to take place over the weekend. CBS2's Meg Baker reports.

Video Transcript

- New Jersey is also fully lifting capacity limits indoors and outdoors on May 19th. Some rules will still apply, though.

- And Governor Murphy also announced some big news for proms taking place this weekend. He is now moving up the date to allow 50% capacity indoors. CBS 2's Meg Baker live in Manasquan with more on that. Meg.

MEG BAKER: Kristine and Dick, everyone is looking forward to a more normal summer. And with this announcement of the lifting of the restrictions, they're hoping to enjoy fireworks and other fun events like that, and hoping to boost business. But most of the owners I spoke to here say this news may do little for them.

BOB FAHEY: As far as adding more tables and have people socially distant, it's impossible. You can't do it.

MEG BAKER: Bob Fahey he owns three restaurants and bars down the shore, including Reef and Barrel in Manasquan. He says the governor's announcement allowing 100% capacity indoors starting May 19th is a step in the right direction, but won't change things much. Tables still must be six feet apart, so he can't fit anymore. What will help? Opening up bar seating. The governor is lifting this restriction with caveats, also.

PHIL MURPHY: Ensure proper social distancing between patrons at their bars, and prevent congregating at the bar, as we have warned all along that those situations present a higher danger of allowing the virus to spread.

BOB FAHEY: If children can go to school and now be three feet apart, why can't two adults sitting at a bar and have a cheeseburger together?

MEG BAKER: In two weeks, restaurants can host tables of any size. It was limited to eight people indoors. And the state will lift the prohibition on buffets and self-service restaurants. Outdoor gathering limits will also be removed.

PHIL MURPHY: The events that we all associate with a summer, from fireworks displays, to parades, to the State Fair, can all go forward, as long as attendees are keeping six feet of distance. And should the CDC, as I mentioned a minute ago, revise its six-foot distancing guidance, we will revise our requirements accordingly. I have no inside knowledge here. My guess is that that six-foot number will come down, assuming the nation continues to make progress.

MEG BAKER: The governor's goal is to have 4.7 million people vaccinated by June. Right now, the state is at 3.2 million. I'll have more details on other restrictions that are being lifted at 6:00. For now, we're live in Manasquan, New Jersey. Meg Baker, CBS 2 News.

- All right, Meg, thank you.