By CBS3 Staff


TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — As Memorial Day weekend kicks off, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that he is signing an executive order lifting the limit on outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 people. Murphy says each day shows the state is getting closer to entering phase two of the reopening plan.

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“If you were looking forward to gathering with your neighbors for Memorial Day cookouts, you may do so,” Murphy said. “So long that social distancing and personal responsibility remain the order of the day.”

The capacity will also be raised to 25 people for charter and fishing boats, outdoor batting cages, and driving ranges, along with other outdoor recreational businesses.

Since Thursday, New Jersey health officials are reporting  1,394 new coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to 152,719. Murphy says that the daily positivity rate for tests since May 18 is 14%.

Another 146 deaths related to COVID-19 complications were reported, raising the statewide total to 10,985.

The governor adds that the number of hospitalizations and those in intensive care has “dramatically” fallen.

Another positive sight, according to the governor, is that the rate of new cases at long-term care facilities is continuing to trend downward.

As families set to celebrate the holiday, Murphy wants everyone to remember to stay smart and practice social distancing.

“Enjoy this weekend, but do not get complacent. Keep up with your social distancing. Wear a face covering if you’re going out. Let’s prove that we can keep these trendlines moving in the right direction,” Murphy said.

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