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'Retightening Restrictions': New Jersey Limiting Number Of People At Indoor, Outdoor Gatherings

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is implementing new restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings in an effort to stop the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases across the Garden State. Murphy signed an executive order Monday limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people, down from 25, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Outdoor gatherings will also be limited to 150 people, down from 500, starting Nov. 23. Outdoor gatherings are subject to strict social distancing guidelines -- including mask requirements where social distancing is not possible.

Murphy says religious services, celebrations, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services, and performances may continue to operate at 25% of a room's capacity up to 150 people.

The Garden State had a record number of COVID-19 cases Saturday. Then, the state broke that record Sunday with more than 4,500 cases, so Murphy says the changes are needed.

"We have got to get back in front of this virus," Murphy said.

New Jersey officials reported another 2,232 coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the statewide total to 281,493.

"In just four days, we're increased our cumulative total by 14,566 to 281,493," Murphy said. "Yesterday's and Saturday's numbers are the first- and second-highest daily counts we have recorded since our first confirmed case when this pandemic hit our state on March 4. That was 257 days ago. We have to get back in front of this virus."

Officials are urging residents to keep their Thanksgiving gatherings to immediate family members as private parties are believed to be the main setting where the virus is being spread.

In a cable news interview on Monday morning, Murphy said, "We think those are steps, coupled with some of the other steps we've taken, which will hopefully begin to shave these numbers down. This is a lot of fatigue, it's a lot of private setting transmission. Particularly with the holidays coming up, we've got to plead with people to not let their hair down, to be vigilant, social distance, face coverings, the basic stuff."

Murphy says indoor sports practices and competitions will be allowed to exceed the 10-person limit only to accommodate the necessary people -- coaches, players and referees. In most cases, spectators will not be permitted.

"As a parent, I understand the importance of watching our kids play and the thrill of cheering them on. But right now, with the numbers we are seeing, we have to take these steps to preserve and protect as best we can," Murphy said.

"I know you think you're invincible," Murphy said. "Maybe you think that people aren't getting sick anymore, or going to the hospital, or dying anymore. Maybe you think you're the victim of some witch hunt. Whatever that reason is, I can assure you it is false. It is a myth."

And in the capital city, the mayor is going even further. Most of Trenton's businesses, including restaurants, bars and grocery stores will have to close by 10 p.m. every night.

Still, bartenders at the Mill Hill Saloon and Eatery seem understanding.

"It's kinda safe than sorry thing," bartender Nils said.

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora also says drive-thru and delivery services will have to stop by 11 p.m.

"Unless we really adhere to social distancing practices, wearing a mask and the like, sanitizing your hands, this will spread further," Gusciora said.

The New Jersey health commissioner is also urging people not to take loved ones from long-term care facilities home for holiday celebrations, saying some of those facilities are also seeing outbreaks.

CBS3's Matt Petrillo contributed to this report.

Stay with, CBSN Philly, and CBS3 for the latest on the coronavirus response across the region.


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