TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey restaurants and businesses no longer have to worry about most COVID-19 restrictions. Starting Wednesday, there are no longer capacity limits for dining indoors or outdoors.
But restaurants still have to maintain a distance of six feet between tables.READ MORE: Crash Involving SEPTA Bus, 4 Vehicles In Philadelphia's Cobbs Creek Neighborhood
“To say that we’ve dropped everything right now is inaccurate. We have not, but these are big, big steps,” Murphy said.
Among the restrictions that will stay in place but expand on May 19: Catered events will be allowed to have a maximum of 250 people; Large indoor events with 1,000 or more fixed seats can go up to 30% capacity; And private indoor gatherings can have up to 50 people.
“Every single activity that we just discussed is substantially safer if you are vaccinated than if you are unvaccinated,” Murphy said.
Meanwhile, the indoor mask mandate will stay in place in the Garden State as Gov. Murphy will not follow the CDC, which says fully vaccinated people can drop their masks. The CDC’s mask guidance has been adopted by the surrounding states of Pennsylvania and New York.READ MORE: Woman Facing Arson Charges After Allegedly Intentionally Setting Fire At Howard Johnson Hotel In Blackwood
“We’re not out of the woods yet. The majority of New Jerseyans are still unvaccinated, and we’re not checking anyone’s vaccine status at the door when you go to the supermarket or to a hardware store for instance,” Murphy said. “I don’t know how we can expect workers to be able to tell who is vaccinated from who isn’t.”
Murphy lifted the state’s mask mandate for outside in public spaces.
Officials say increasing vaccination rates have slowed and COVID-19 cases aren’t going down fast enough and New Jersey continues to have some of the highest death rates in the country.
“This is a serious and unrelenting virus. Cases are declining, but we are still seeing 1,000 infections per day even with vaccines. Last summer, case numbers were as low as two to 300 per day,” Judy Persichilli said.MORE NEWS: Taste With Tori: Wake Coffee Roasters' Unique Way Of Selling Coffee Makes All Extra Happy In Morning
About 53% of New Jersey is now fully vaccinated. The goal is 70% by the end of June.