Murphy Expands Capacity in New Jersey

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (l.) has increased capacities for casinos and other businesses from 25 percent to 35 percent thanks to a reduction in the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state, and allowed restaurants to stay open past 10 p.m.

When you’ve spent a year dealing with the economic uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, little things mean a lot. On February 3, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy increased capacities for casinos, gyms and restaurants to 35 percent from 25 percent, beginning February 5.

The easing of restrictions—in time for the Super Bowl—came about because the number of cases of Covid-19 have declined. Hospitalizations are also down 20 percent over the last three weeks. The increasing number of vaccinations also contributed to the restrictions being eased, according to CBS Philly.

“But when you’re inside and when you’re taking your mask off to eat and drink, just remember, that you are taking on more risk,” Murphy said. “We think it’s a responsible risk. It’s risk that can be safely taken.”

New Jersey will also end the unpopular 10 p.m. service limit on restaurants, but will continue to enforce a ban on sitting at bars.

“It creates a danger of close and prolonged proximity between and among patrons, bartenders and servers,” Murphy said. “However, municipalities or counties may continue to regulate the hours of operation of in-person restaurant service after 8 p.m. This approach gives local officials the ability to respond to unique situations where they are noticing noncompliance.”

Beverage service on the casino floor and restaurant service at the casino restaurants will be permitted after 10 p.m., as well.

The maximum number of people allowed inside a theater will be capped at 150.

“We believe that we can make this expansion without leading to undue further stress in our health care system,” Murphy said.