Indoor bar seating resumes as more NJ COVID-19 restrictions loosened

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Indoor bar seating can resume in New Jersey starting Friday as more COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

Governor Phil Murphy moved up the latest phase of Garden State reopenings from Monday, May 10 to Friday, May 7.

Along with indoor bar seating, Murphy removed a prohibition on tables of eight people or more. Tables can be spaced closer than 6 feet if partitions are used.

Social distancing is still required between parties.

SEE ALSO: New Jersey residents can get free beer after first vaccine shot this month

The ban on buffets and other self-service foods ends, as well.

Other changes include increasing the outdoor gathering limits to 500 people, and raising indoor capacities to 50% up to 250 individuals for political gatherings, weddings, funerals, memorial services and performances.

Privately catered events will also be permitted to have dancing.

Both indoor and outdoor capacity increases are good news for proms and graduations in New Jersey.

The general indoor gathering limit which applies to house parties and other social events such as a birthday party is doubled from 25 to 50 people, the governor said.

Outdoor stadiums and venues with more than 1,000 seats can also increase to 50-percent capacity.

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Indoor bar seating can resume in New Jersey as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

"We feel confident in moving up this timetable by three days given the accelerated progress we are seeing in our vaccination program and hospital metrics and lower daily case counts," Murphy said Monday.

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New Jersey will lift many COVID-19 capacity limits at retail stores, restaurants, gyms and other businesses - and will remove a hard cap on outdoor gatherings - beginning May 19.

New Jersey will lift all COVID-19 outdoor gathering limits and remove a 50% capacity limit on indoor restaurants and bars beginning on May 19 as long as social distancing can be maintained, Murphy said.

On May 19, the state will also lift the limit on outdoor gatherings.

Murphy said the state's positive coronavirus trends have enabled the state to make the change.

"This means that the events that we all associate with summer, from fireworks displays to parades to the state fair, can all go forward, as long as attendees keep 6 feet of distance," he said.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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