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Murphy: NJ Reserves Right To Another Shutdown, New Restrictions On Gatherings Are Here

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy
NJ Gov. Phil Murphy Photo Credit: NJ Office of the Governor

The highest number of new COVID-19 cases since the onset of the pandemic were reported over the weekend in New Jersey: 4,450.

While there isn't one number that would catapult the state into another shutdown, Gov. Phil Murphy said he's not ruling it out as an option.

"Do we reserve the right to shut everything down?" the governor said in a Monday morning interview with WPIX. "Sadly, with these numbers we have to."

On Monday afternoon, state officials are expected to announce another change: New limits on private indoor and outdoor gatherings. 

Indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people, and outdoors 150 people. The current limits are 25 and 500, respectively.

"Those are steps we think help," Murphy said. "A lot of transmission is happening private settings. We've got to plea with people, keep your guard up here. We are in the thick of the fight right now."

Closing schools down wasn't likely, Murphy said. In fact, only 52 of the hundreds of cases reporting within the school were from in-school transmission, Murphy said.

Considering there are more than 3,000 schools and education buildings across the state, "so far so good," Murphy said.

"Schools are doing it the right way," Murphy said, noting proper preparation, social distancing and face mask enforcement. "The problem is folks are letting their hair down particularly in private settings."

Murphy expects to announce more good news on vaccines Monday afternoon, which will help "get back to normal next year," he said. "But that's not this year."

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