When Could N.J. Hit Stage 3 of Coronavirus Reopening?

nj coronavirus reopening stages

New Jersey could move to “Stage 3” of its coronavirus reopening plan — a phase that includes indoor dining, reopened bars and entertainment with restrictions — within weeks if the coronavirus outbreak in the state continues to slow, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

“I think this is a question of weeks and not months,” Murphy said Monday when asked for a date on Step 3. “I hope we’ll be giving more some more guidance on some steps even as much as later this week.”

The state officially started Stage 2 of the multi-phase recovery plan Monday, with the reopening of outdoor dining with social distancing requirements and indoor nonessential retail at half capacity. Stage 3 would be the final step before what Murphy’s administration has described as a “new normal” once a vaccine or treatment for coronavirus becomes widely available.

Murphy has not committed to a date for Stage 3, which also includes expanding personal care and critical in-office work. While the statewide stay-at-home order was lifted last week, Murphy has continued to order business to allow work to be done remotely whenever possible.

“There is still a lot we don’t know about this virus, but we know two things with absolute certainty – first, that outdoor environments are safer than indoor environments, and, secondly, wearing a face covering is safer than not wearing a face covering,” Murphy said. “This also goes for office environments. We know that businesses are eager to have their employees back at their desks. But, these indoor environments pose the same problems as any other. For the time-being, all employees who can work from home we want to ask you to remain on the work-from-home status.”

New Jersey has now lost 12,676 lives over the last three months to the coronavirus. But new deaths, cases and hospitalizations have all declined steadily since hitting a peak in mid-April.

“We are able to move into Stage 2 today because the data we have been tracking — the dropping rate of transmission, the dropping hospital numbers — particularly new hospitalizations, and increasing health care system capacity — tell us we are in a safer position to do so,” Murphy said.

Earlier Monday, Murphy said that health officials would be tracking numbers closely and that a new round of closures could not be ruled out if there’s a spike in cases.

Murphy also issued several clarifications to the Stage 2 reopening plan on Sunday to include rules for curbside pickup for libraries, yard sales, real estate open houses and car washes. Those activities also resume Monday.

All of the reopening steps, however, come with restrictions calling for social distancing of at least six feet, face coverings whenever possible, hand washing and increased sanitizing of frequently-touched surfaces.

Hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors, and other personal-care businesses can reopen June 22. So can pools and outdoor, non-contact organized sports. And both youth day camps and in-person summer school can operate beginning July 6. All will have restrictions.

In addition, the current 100-person limit on outdoor gatherings could increase to 250 by next week and double to 500 by July 3. Schools may also hold in-person graduations starting on July 6.

Source: NJ.com