Murphy orders increased limit from 10 people to 25 for outdoor gatherings

KYW Staff
May 22, 2020 - 11:42 am

UPDATED: 5/23/20, 1:42 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says your Memorial Day cookout can be a little larger, as long as you practice social distancing. He's raising the limit on outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 people.

The governor's latest executive order lifts the limit on outdoor groups from 10 people to 25 people. At his daily briefing on Friday, Murphy said this means larger groups on charter fishing boats and at batting cages, but not everywhere.

"This does not include outdoor dining. We hope to get to outdoor dining sooner than later," he said. "And it does not yet include guidance on graduations."

There's still a limit of 10 people indoors. 

Public and private campgrounds will be allowed to reopen, effective immediately. 

Murphy said the continued drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations, among other indicators, allows him to ease the outdoor restrictions.

“Each day brings with it more signs that we’re moving closer to being able to enter Phase 2 of our restart,” Murphy tweeted.

The lifting of government-imposed restrictions on business and residents is a major point of contention and an increasingly partisan issue. The state Republican Party filed a lawsuit Thursday in state Superior Court in Cape May County seeking to overturn the governor's executive orders shuttering nonessential businesses.

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State Party Chairman Doug Steinhardt says Murphy overreached arbitrarily when he singled out which businesses were considered nonessential.

GOP state Sen. Michael Testa, who is also an attorney, said during a video teleconference that the governor's orders could mean the end of boardwalk shops, for instance, which aren't currently permitted to open even as the unofficial start of summer arrives this weekend.

Murphy said he had no "insight" into the suit and declined to discuss it.

Surprising no one, he said at the Friday briefing, the health crisis in New Jersey is leading to a budget crisis.

"The revenue losses we can already project stemming from our current emergency are drastic. A projected $10 billion over the next, slightly more than calendar year," he said.

And with a budget due at the end of September, Murphy said, “The hard choices I predicted are now at our doorstep."

Murphy once again called on Congress to provide direct federal cash to states as part of a coronavirus aid package.

New Jersey releases updated case count

Murphy released updated coronavirus statistics Saturday, reporting 443 new positive cases, bringing New Jersey's total to 153,104.

He also confirmed 96 additional deaths, raising the statewide death toll to 11,081.

The governor stressed that the new numbers may be underreporting, due to a significant amount of lab reports yet to be processed.

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KYW Newsradio’s Mike DeNardo, Eric Walter and Andre Bennett, as well as the Associated Press, contributed to this report.