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Mask Guidelines In New Jersey Remain Unchanged, But Many Other COVID-19 Protocols Eased As Summer Approaches

POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Less than two weeks from Memorial Day weekend, the COVID-19 safety guidelines changes could have a big impact down at the Jersey Shore this summer.

CBS2's Meg Baker checked out the scene on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach on Wednesday.

You won't have to wear your mask on the beach or outside on the boardwalk, but you better remember to have one with you if you want to stop in to a restaurant for a slice of pizza.

A mother and daughter from Denville walked off the beach carrying their masks, but admitted at first, "We actually walked up and then had to come back because we forgot," the mother said.

Sunshine and very warm weather brought families to the beach, most maskless.

"It kind of feels weird. I'm not going to lie," said Jamie Mayo of Milltown.

READ MORENew Jersey, For Now, Says No To New CDC Mask Guidelines; Gov. Murphy: School In-Person Learning To Return In Fall

Unlike New York and Connecticut, the big difference in New Jersey is Gov. Phil Murphy is keeping the mask requirement indoors in public spaces unless eating or drinking.

"I think they are going to enforce it to the best of their abilities, but I think people are so anxious to get out there and be normal," Grace Tarascavage of Lyndhurst.

Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra said the lifting of many restrictions is a step in the right direction, but is also confusing.

"We are kind of over this and I think people are looking for return to normalcy," Kanitra said.


Some other big changes that go into effect Wednesday include restaurants, which have done away with percentage-based capacity limits. However, establishments must keep at least six feet between groups. Tables are no longer limited to eight people.

READ MORENew Jersey Easing COVID Restrictions At Nursing Homes

There are no longer capacity limits for religious services, stores, gyms, personal care businesses, and indoor and outdoor amusement parks, but six feet of distance between groups is still required.

In addition, all outdoor gathering limits are removed, and indoor gathering limits for house parties and other social events are raised to 50 people.

READ MORECOVID Vaccine In New Jersey: Vaccination Clinic For Children Ages 12 And Up Opens In Hoboken

Catered events, conferences, expos and trade shows are limited to 250 people as long as social distancing is maintained.

Capacity limits for events at indoor venues with 1,000 or more fixed seats is increased to 50%, with six feet between groups.

Capacity limits for indoor and outdoor pools are eliminated as long as 6 feet of social distancing is maintained.

The ban on indoor interstate youth sports is now lifted.


The big question from some workers and visitors to the boardwalk is who is going to enforce indoor masks?

"Businesses all understand what then new rules are. They will make sure when patrons come in they have masks on, even though they can take them off five seconds later when they sit down in their chairs and eat their meal. It's very conflicting stuff," Kanitra said.

Some women who grew up in Jersey City together decided to meet up for a beach day and all had different views on the situation. When Baker told Debbie Sarg of Smithville she saw a few people run into the bathroom without their masks, Sarg replied, "I think it's definitely going to happen because people who are vaccinated feel freer."

"I think masks are too much now," added Doreen Metallo of Carlstadt.

"You just still have to be careful because you don't know everything and everybody has got a different story and everybody has a different treatment and everybody has a different idea about it," added Laura Burke of Brick.

Mayor Kanitra also pointed out that many from out of state visit the attractions in Point Pleasant Beach and may also be confused by the need to wear a mask indoors. Others that spoke to CBS2 said it is just second nature now to have a mask on hand and they don't mind putting it on out of respect for the workers.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report

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