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New Jersey Officials Announce Stages Of Reopening To Reach 'New Normal' As COVID-19 Cases Surpass 148,000

TRENTON (CBS) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state will reopen in stages in order to get to the "new normal" as coronavirus cases surpass 148,000. From maximum restrictions, the state will go through three stages before hitting the new normal on the road to recovery.

The focus remains keeping New Jerseyans safe and protecting the workforce during the reopening process.

"We will move through stages toward our new normal," Murphy said. "Our singular goal will be to prevent another attack by COVID-19. We will be guided by public health, data and science."

The state recorded another 1,735 coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the statewide total to 148,039. Murphy says there were also an additional 83 COVID-19-related deaths as the death toll climbed to 10,435.

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During the stages of reopening, the state will ensure workplace safeguards are in place to protect the employees, customers and clients as about 60% of the state's workforce engages in a large amount of contact with co-workers and the public.

Murphy says the state has already started to move into the first stage as some low-risk activities have reopened or will be opening this weekend, including Jersey Shore beaches.

"I'm confident that we will be able to pass each test and move through the subsequent stages," Murphy said. "We are managing today and planning for tomorrow."

Murphy is also signing an executive order to allow additional outdoor recreational areas and businesses to reopen.

Beginning Friday, May 22, batting cages, golf ranges, shooting and archery ranges, horseback riding, private tennis clubs, and community gardens can resume business.

Officials are using data to determine when it is safe to move into each stage in order to get the Garden State reopened. Social distancing continues to be a key factor in flattening the curve.

"I want to say thank you to the millions of you who are the reason we can move forward with our plans," Murphy said. "It's because of you that the curves have flattened. I know we can continue to rely on you to flatten them even further as we begin our restart. This isn't going to be quick. We're going to move deliberately based on data. We have to move forward based on the facts. Together, we'll get to the end of this journey stronger and fairer than ever."

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