Story at a glance
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will set new limits on certain private gatherings in light of new COVID-19 cases.
- California also blamed private parties and gatherings for a rise in cases.
In response to growing case numbers, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced on Monday that he will tighten restrictions on indoor gatherings.
This measure comes as officials are connecting the uptick in cases to small gatherings in private homes — the same cause of the recent rise in cases across California. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that Ocean County is one of the counties leading in infections and is home to the Jersey Shore, a popular summer destination.
State health department data further indicates that while new infections are still down from its peak in early to mid-April, cases are plateauing into early August, resulting in 182,614 confirmed cases.
Given these trends, Reuters reports that Murphy is limiting private events to 25 percent of any given room’s capacity with a maximum of 25 people, down from the previously assigned limit of 100 people.
Speaking with reporters, Murphy admonished the state residents who are not carefully following prescribed health protocols.
“The actions of a few knuckleheads leaves us no other course,” he said. “We have to go back and tighten these restrictions once again until we begin to see the numbers of cases decrease.”
These restrictions will notably not apply to events like funerals, weddings and memorial services, as well as religious and political activities. Murphy said that these are protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Prior to this reinstatement, New Jersey had entered Stage 2 of reopening on June 15. This is defined as a moderate-risk activities restart, which still require face masks and social distancing while in public. For the state to continue progressing, its health and coronavirus metrics must meet specific requirements, which are currently threatened by the resurgence of new cases.
“Let me reiterate, we remain in a public health emergency,” Murphy concluded. “Over the past week we saw numbers of cases that we had not seen in eight weeks, our rate of transmission is now more than double where it was a few weeks ago. Everyone needs to get it together folks.”