Governor Phil Murphy

This Week in NJ: March 12th, 2021


Governor Murphy & Governor Cuomo Announce Indoor Dining in New Jersey and NYC Will Expand to 50 Percent Capacity Beginning March 19

Governor Phil Murphy and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New Jersey and New York City will expand indoor dining capacity to 50 percent beginning March 19. Currently, New Jersey and New York City restaurants are operating at 35 percent capacity and the rest of New York State is operating at 50 percent capacity. This follows Governor Cuomo’s announcement that restaurants outside of New York City will expand to 75 percent capacity beginning March 19. 

“In New Jersey, we will continue to move deliberately, responsibly, and incrementally, guided by public health data,” said Governor Murphy. “We feel confident in this step given the improving metrics we have seen over the last several weeks in both New Jersey and New York City, as well as the continued ramp up of our vaccination program. Our states will continue to work together to protect the health of as many residents as possible.” 

"In New York State, our decisions are based on science and data and we are encouraged by the continued decline in infection and hospitalization rates," Governor Cuomo said. "In partnership with the State of New Jersey, we have adjusted with rigorous testing and limited capacity indoor dining openings in New York City to expand to 50 percent. We will continue to follow the science and react accordingly. If we keep the infections down and vaccinations up, we will continue to stay ahead in the footrace against this invisible enemy and reach the light at the end of the tunnel together." 


Governor Murphy Announces Increased Capacity Limits for Indoor Businesses and Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings

Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 230, which will increase indoor capacity limits for certain businesses and increase both the general indoor and outdoor gathering limit.

“We believe we can confidently take these steps today as our COVID-19 metrics continue to trend in the right direction,” said Governor Murphy. “However, our mask mandate and COVID-19 health and safety protocols remain in effect. I am hopeful that we’ll be able to take further steps in expanding capacity responsibly and incrementally guided by public health data.” 

These changes will go into effect on Friday, March 19th at 6:00 a.m., aligned with increases in capacity in Connecticut and New York.
Executive Order No. 230 will effectuate the following changes:

Indoor Businesses
The following businesses may increase indoor capacity limits from 35 percent to 50 percent, excluding the employees of the establishment:

  • Indoor premises of restaurants, cafeterias, and food courts, with or without a liquor license, and bars;
  • Indoor recreation, amusement, and entertainment businesses (including casinos and gyms); and
  • Personal care services (barber shops, nail salons, and other personal care businesses). 

These businesses must continue to abide by current health and safety protocols, including face covering and physical distancing requirements.  

Indoor Gatherings

  • The general indoor gathering limit will increase from 10 people to 25 people.
  • Indoor gatherings that currently have a higher limit  – religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services, or performances – will remain unchanged.   

Outdoor Gatherings

The general outdoor gathering limit will increase from 25 people to 50 people.

Outdoor gatherings that are religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals or memorial services will remain unchanged by the Order.


Governor Murphy Continues Visits to New Jersey Vaccination Sites

Governor Murphy visited vaccination sites in Paterson and Lakewood, highlighting New Jersey's rapidly expanding vaccination efforts and the state's commitment to equity.


Department of Education Announces NJ Schools Have Bridged the ‘Digital Divide’

The New Jersey Department of Education announced that all public school districts report that every one of their students now has the technology needed to connect with their classroom online. 

“As of today, New Jersey’s digital divide is no more. It has been closed,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Closing the digital divide wasn’t just about meeting the challenges of remote learning – it’s been about ensuring every student has the tools they need to excel in a 21st century educational environment. This is vitally important as more and more of our students return to in-person instruction – whether their schools are all in-person or are reopening to allow in-person classes on a hybrid schedule. Their laptops are not just for home instruction. They’re just as critical as any textbook.”

Bridging the “digital divide” – the number of students who didn’t have access to devices or the internet connectivity needed for online instruction – has been a major obstacle that schools around the country have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the use of virtual instruction. While the education community has worked diligently to provide high-quality learning opportunities for all students at every stage of the pandemic, the prevalence of virtual learning has underscored the importance of ensuring every student has access to digital learning technology.  

“New Jersey educators and school leaders did an amazing job of pivoting to remote instruction during the pandemic,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education. “However, our education system was not designed with a remote-instruction model in mind, and our schools found themselves competing with schools across the globe for devices to deliver online learning to students. These facts did not derail us. Instead, we found ways to connect students to their classrooms and now can proudly say that we have bridged the digital divide.”