New Jersey governor tightens gathering limits amid rising COVID-19 cases


NEWARK, NJ – AUGUST 14, 2019: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks about Newark’s ongoing water crisis during a press conference held at the Newark Health Department. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Getty Images)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday said he will be reducing indoor and outdoor gathering limits because of the COVID-19 resurgence.

The Democrat said Monday at a news conference 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 Nov. 23.

The lower levels come just before Thanksgiving and ahead of the winter holidays.

Murphy said he understood that the new limits would lead to frustration, but said little about this year has been normal.

“I must again pull back the reins,” he said. “It gives me no joy.”

New Jersey’s coronavirus levels have been spiking, which Murphy has said amounts to a “second wave.”

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 contribute to climbing COVID-19 rates.

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