New Jersey tightens restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19

Gov. Phil Murphy announced new restrictions Monday on gatherings as coronavirus cases reach new records in New Jersey.

Under the new restrictions, indoor event gatherings are limited to just 10 people and outdoor events will be limited to just 150 people. The indoor change takes effect Tuesday at 6 a.m. The outdoor limit begins Nov. 23.

"More and more people are fighting for their lives against COVID-19 and more people are dying," said Murphy from Trenton. "2,115 patients in our hospitals. 417 patients in our ICUs. 137 patients on ventilators. 27 hospital patients died yesterday."

Over the weekend, state health officials sounded the alarms as the state broke the record for the highest daily coronavirus cases two days in a row.

"These numbers are ALARMING and continue to rise. Take this seriously. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe," the governor wrote in a tweet Sunday.

During an interview on Good Day Philadelphia Monday, Murphy broke the news that the state would be implementing new restrictions.

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"We think those are steps that will help, and we reserve the right, unfortunately, to take more steps if we need to," Murphy added.

Last week, the Democratic governor took a more measured approach to combating the second wave when he gave towns and counties the power to regulate non-essential business hours after 8 p.m.

Earlier in the week, he ordered bars and restaurants to halt indoor dining between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. while allowing them to stay open for takeout and delivery.

After announcing those restrictions last week, Murphy backed up his decision by citing a peer-reviewed study that used data from 98 million cell phones to trace 80% of new infections to indoor businesses such as restaurants and gyms.

During his interview on Good Day Philadelphia, Murphy stressed that the state is doing everything possible to keep businesses, including restaurants, open. 

He pointed to a continued focus on outdoor dining, and relaxed restrictions that allow closer table settings as long as there are physical barriers between them.

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