N.J. governor eases more COVID-19 restrictions; casinos can reopen next week

Annie McCormick Image
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
New Jersey casinos, indoor dining at restaurants can open at 25% capacity next week
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has eased more COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, including the reopening of personal care businesses.

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Indoor dining at restaurants and casinos in New Jersey can open in a limited capacity next week, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday.

Starting Thursday, July 2, casinos can operate at 25% capacity, and indoor dining at restaurants can also resume at a 25% capacity.

More health and safety guidelines will be released in the next several days, Murphy said.

Meanwhile, New Jersey hair salons, barbershops and other personal care businesses were permitted to reopen on Monday under Phase 2 of Governor Murphy's coronavirus reopening plan, but with some restrictions.

New safety standards from the State of New Jersey mean things will look a little different at personal care businesses. Masks are a must, clients will be spaced out, there will be temperature checks at the door and no more walk-ins.

Nail salons, spas, tanning salons, hair braiding shops, and tattoo parlors were also permitted to reopen.

Indoor dining at restaurants and casinos in New Jersey can open in a limited capacity next week, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday.

"Finally we're open," said German Rodriguez, the owner of Fresh Cutz in Hammonton.

Many people said they are looking forward to supporting local businesses.

"Hopefully the economy gets back up to where it should be," said Juan Perez.

Business owners say they are taking the state-mandated safety precautions to make sure they can continue to stay open, like by ensuring that all staff and client pairs maintain at least a six feet distance between each other, unless separated by a physical barrier.

The state is also allowing outdoor pools, like the Downs Farms Swim Club in Cherry Hill, to reopen and some youth sports to start back up.

This much to the delight of many parents and clearly, children.

"Thrilled. My kids have been cooped up inside for three months and they've missed their friends and they were so excited to come back to this wonderful pool that we come to every year," said parent Lauren Kemner.

But unlike year's past, there are some COVID-19 compelled changes.

Members have must undergo a brief health screening, and cleaning is more stringent than ever.

"We sanitize all the ladders, all the diving wells, the bathrooms on the hour," said Chris DelRossi, Mgr. at Downs Farm Swim Club.

Above and beyond cleaning also in full effect at tattoo studios like Body Graphics in Pennsauken.

"We've always operated you know, above the standard regulations for body art establishments," said Haley Streets.

Here, you'll find staff taking temperatures and keeping record of it.

High-grade air filters and rooms filled only with the artist and client are now part of the experience.

"In our perspective, it is safer for all clients and also safer for us as well. We all have families. I'm a mom, I don't want to go home and have to be concerned for rest of my family," Streets said.

RELATED: Gov. Murphy says NJ malls can reopen June 29, higher education can resume July 1

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the reopening date for malls in New Jersey.

Last week, Governor Murphy signed an executive order allowing higher education to resume July 1. He also announced that shopping malls can reopen later this month.

Murphy's executive order allows for all in-person clinical, lab, and hands-on programming at institutions of higher education to resume as of July 1 with enhanced health and safety protocols.

It will also allow trade and training schools to reopen on July 1.

"As we move forward in our restart and recovery, these institutions will play a huge role. They are where our future workforce is being created," said Murphy. "While New Jersey continues to face the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I am pleased that we are able to take this step forward for our students and educators."


Restrictions are relaxed on activities that can be easily safeguarded.

Phased-in businesses and activities, with adherence to safeguarding and modification guidelines, include:

Outdoor dining (beginning on June 15th)

Limited in-person retail (beginning on June 15th)

Hair salons and barber shops (beginning on June 22nd)

Youth summer programs (beginning on July 6th)

In-person clinical research/labs

Limited fitness/gyms

Limited in-person government services (e.g. - Motor Vehicle Commission)


All workers who can work from home should continue to work from home.

Precautions that apply across all stages include:

Clinically high-risk individuals who can stay at home should continue to do so.

All residents and businesses should follow state and federal safeguarding guidelines:

-Wash hands

-Wear masks in public

-Respect social distancing

-Minimize gatherings

-Disinfect workplace and businesses

-Minimize gatherings

-No mass gatherings

New Jersey will move toward subsequent stages based on data that demonstrates improvements in public health and the capacity to safeguard the public, including:

Sustained improvements in public health indicators, including new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, individuals in intensive care, and ventilator use;

Substantial increase in testing and contact tracing capacity;

Sufficient resilience in New Jersey's health care system to include adequate bed capacity, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and workforce;

Widespread safeguarding of workplaces;

Widespread safeguarding and capacity of child care, schools, and mass transit;

Continued public compliance.