NJ governor to make 'major announcement' on easing COVID restrictions

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is expected to make a "major announcement" on Monday afternoon on easing additional COVID-19 restrictions.

Video Transcript

- Just a year ago, New York City was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the mayor announced the city will be fully reopened for business on July 1st. That's the goal. Mayor Bill de Blasio announcement marks a stirring rebound for a city that lost more than 10,000 people in just the first month of the pandemic. He says the vaccination rate and decrease in hospitalizations are making this possible.

The mayor wants restaurants, shops hair salons, gyms, and stadiums back to full capacity. But the city cannot reopen unless Governor Andrew Cuomo approves the plan Action News reporter, Bob Brooks joining us now live from Collingswood in New Jersey where Governor Murphy hinted today that perhaps New Jersey could be on the road to reopening as well. Bob.

BOB BROOKS: Yeah, sure, the governor did say that. However, he did not give a timeline. But nonetheless, this is some really big news, especially for some businesses that have had to remain closed throughout the entire pandemic. We got a quick tour this evening inside of the Ritz theater in Hatton township. Right now, they're busy making some upgrades inside after more than a year of being closed.

BRUCE CURLESS: We haven't done anything. We've been closed.

BOB BROOKS: But theater founder, Bruce Curless says soon, they'll be running a theater kids camp. Maybe in September, a full schedule of shows.

BRUCE CURLESS: And I'm sure there's a lot of reluctancy on coming back to us. I'm a believer in what Murphy is helping us to do. And so we will follow his instructions.

BOB BROOKS: The optimism comes after COVID cases in New Jersey continue to fall. Today, Governor Phil Murphy announced 2,092 new cases. Hospitalizations fell below 1,700. And the state's transmission rate fell below 0.8 for the first time in eight months.

GOC. PHIL MURPHY: We keep up that work together, folks, we're going to open this sucker up wide sooner than later.

SHANNA HORN: Thank you.

BOB BROOKS: And dining out at Villa Barone, in Collingswood, we met two customers who agree. It's time to open.

SHANNA HORN: It's nice to get out and support the businesses.

FELICITY GAREY: Like more like vaccines out, more people are able to get out. And they feel more comfortable.

BOB BROOKS: We also spoke with Tommy Foy working who wants that as well.

TOMMY FOY: We're seeing other states within the tri-state area move towards reopening a 100%. So I think we need to follow suit.

BOB BROOKS: In fact, at this point, he doesn't think restaurants should have restrictions.

TOMMY FOY: I think that, you know, having a mask up here but then sitting at a table right there with no mask, and you're eating and masticating, there's not much logic to it.

BOB BROOKS: And it's hopeful for a great summer season with a full dining room.

TOMMY FOY: Having a great time, laughing, enjoying a meal with each other. You know, seeing that for us does a lot.

BOB BROOKS: Now, Rick, I reached out to the city of Philadelphia to see when they might reopen. They say they hope that soon. But at this point, there is no timetable. They are letting the science still guide them. Reporting live in Collingswood, Bob Brooks for Action News at 10 on PHL 17, Rick.

- All, right, Bob, thank you.