Some outdoor events resume in New Jersey as officials raise limits on outdoor gatherings

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Some outdoor events resume in NJ as officials raise limits on outdoor gatherings
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Some outdoor events are preparing to resume in NJ as officials raise limits on outdoor gatherings.

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Some event planners wasted no time after news that outdoor gatherings are a "go" in New Jersey.

On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the limit for outdoor gatherings is now 100 people. That number could be upped to 250 by June 22, and 500 people by July 3 as long as COVID-19 numbers don't spike.

Rancocas Woods, New Jersey is quiet now, but in a few weeks, craft vendors will set up shop.

Hours after Murphy raised the limits for outdoor gatherings, Rancocas Woods Events announced their outdoor craft and antique fairs will resume on June 27.

"This green light for our vendors is huge. A lot of these people - at least for our shows - this is what they do full time," said Janeen Hovnanian, director for Rancocas Woods Events.

Local shops like Creek Mercantile antiques say these events bring in a lot of business.

"This whole stretch really benefits from any events that we have going on outdoors. It's just a way to get a lot of traffic through our doors as well as new customers that come out," said manager Randi Gonnelli, adding that several businesses will be holding a sidewalk sale on June 20, the weekend before the craft fair.

Down the shore, Avalon Borough officials say they're bringing back movies on the beach on July 7, but no fireworks, saying they draw far too big of a crowd.

New Jersey hair and nail salons can reopen on June 22. At Olive Nail Lounge in Cherry Hill, they're already booked solid for their first two days.

"It feels like we are essential," laughed owner Lana Le. "Our clients need us and we are so excited to be open."

Owners say they won't be taking walk-ins, so they can space out their clients in the salon and there will be masks, gloves and temperature checks at the door.

And at Akira Hibachi and Sushi Bar, owners are planning to put some tables outside starting this Monday, but their hibachi grill areas are now being used for storage. There's still no word on when indoor dining might be able to resume in New Jersey.

"You can still order takeout, but you kind of lose the whole meaning of hibachi. You have fun, you have parties, the chef does a show and everything like that," said owner Frank Zheng.

On Wednesday, Murphy laid out a plan to quadruple the number of contact tracers working in New Jersey.