Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday revealed the steps to New Jersey's "new normal," in announcing the signing of an executive order allowing additional outdoor recreation areas and businesses to reopen.
The goal moving forward is protecting New Jersey's workforce, the governor said.
"Together, we’re moving toward what we must all acknowledge will be a 'new normal,'" Murphy said. "We’re not nearly out of the woods yet, but we’re moving forward, carefully, methodically, and responsibly."
Businesses will be reopening according to their risk level, Murphy said, but this "won't be everyone at once."
At height of pandemic New Jersey was at Stage 0, with maximum restrictions. Right now, New Jersey in the midst of Stage 1 (see photo above), which included the reopening of outdoor recreation such as parks and beaches.
As of Friday, May 22 at 6 a.m.,batting cages, golf ranges, shooting/archery ranges, horseback riding, private tennis clubs and community gardens may reopen under Murphy's new orders.
Despite reopening parks three weeks ago, and allowing for the restart of nonessential businesses and construction, the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease, he said.
State officials are working toward Stage 2, which will allow restaurants to welcome diners to outdoor tables and hopefully a limited number of indoor ones. Select personal care businesses, libraries and museums will also reopen in Stage 2, Murphy said.
In order to get to Stage 2, New Jersey will need to see continued improvements in public health, testing and contact tracing, healthcare resilience, workplace safeguarding, sufficient capacity to safeguard child care facilities, schools and transit -- along with public compliance.
The "hardest nuts to crack" will be indoor facilities with no ventilation, the governor said.
Getting to Stage 3 depends on progress of Stage 2, the governor said. This includes allowing shoppers to once again enter downtown and main street storefronts, and limited gatherings with appropriate safeguards.
"If we see a backslide, we will not hesitate to take action," the governor said. "But we will move forward. We are preparing for a responsible process."
Residents must continue social distancing and wearing masks, and must accept that mass public gatherings won't be happening "anytime soon," Murphy said. Practicing safe hygiene and ensuring safeguards on both mass and public transit are integral, he added.
This is a developing story. Check back for more.
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