‘It does not give me any pleasure.’ Gov. Murphy tightens indoor, outdoor gathering limits due to COVID-19 spike
Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday said he will be reducing indoor and outdoor gathering limits because of the COVID-19 resurgence.
“It does not give me or any of us any pleasure to Institute these restrictions,” Murphy said.
The governor said that he will order indoor gatherings to fall from 25 to 10 and outdoor get-togethers from 500 to 150 people. The new indoor limit goes into effect Tuesday, while the outdoor level kicks in on Nov. 23.
New Jersey's coronavirus levels have been spiking, which Murphy has said amounts to a “second wave.”
Click or tap on the photos below to view the governor's COVID-19 briefing
“We know indoor gatherings in homes are particularly dangerous places for COVID-19 to spread. And the smaller the gathering is, the less likely it is that someone is infected and puts their loved one at risk. It's that simple,” Murphy said.
The average increase over the first seven days of this month reached roughly 2,135, up from about 590 cases a day in early October. The average caseload increase for the first week of September was nearly 340 cases, according to state Health Department figures.
There are some exceptions to the limits, the governor said. Among them are religious services, political activities and weddings.
Murphy said the tighter limits are aimed at limiting house parties, which he said contributes to climbing COVID-19 rates.
“I think there's some kind of notion that when you're in your house, you've passed through a magic doorway,” Murphy said.
The governor added that he feels that people growing tired of the pandemic and the restrictions are a factor in escalating the infection curve.
“We had a fear of the unknown. None of us had ever lived through this in the spring,” Murphy said. “And now we've got this fatigue that we've been around, ‘OK, here we go again, we've been around this thing.’”
The governor said that he had not ruled out more restrictions if the infection rate gets worse.
“We talked about elective surgery. I hope to heck we keep indoor dining. Please God, I hope we can keep indoor sports…it all depends on people's behaviors,” Murphy said.
There are currently 2,115 COVID-19 patients in New Jersey’s hospitals – a number not seen since June 2. State officials also announced 14 additional deaths related to the virus.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.