New Jersey COVID-19 Reopening Update Guidelines

May 27, 2020Municipal Law

In light of the fluid rules regarding what is permitted under COVID-19 restrictions, we offer the below guidance. Municipalities are free to impose more stringent regulations for health, safety and welfare reasons, so long as they do not conflict with any of Executive Orders. Note that today, the Governor announced that outdoor, in-person graduations will be allowed beginning July 6, 2020. 

Social distancing requirements described below apply to all individuals except for immediate family members, caretakers, household members and couples. Where face masks are not required by Executive Order, they are strongly encouraged, except where use would inhibit an individual’s health/safety and for children under 2 years of age. 

Outdoor gatherings on private/public property of up to 25 people at any one time are permitted. Examples include backyard cookouts or local park picnics.

The following restrictions apply:

  • Attendance must be monitored to ensure there are no more than 25 people at any one time and account for people coming and going.
  • Everyone must stay outside the entire time, except to use an indoor restroom. Organizers may use pop-up tents, etc. for rain or sun protection. 
  • Attendees must stay 6 feet apart, with no contact. People should not go into a host’s home, except to use a restroom, and should not mingle inside.
  • No organized or contact sports are allowed. For example, there should be no pick-up basketball, football, soccer or volleyball games.
  • Attendees should wear masks where social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as when going to the restroom or where they might accidentally encounter another person. 
  • Organizers should designate 6-foot spacing via cones or other markers.
  • Seating must be limited to one individual and sanitized before/after use. Have guests bring a blanket/mat to sit on the ground.
  • Equipment may not be shared and must be sanitized before/after use. Use disposal cutlery and dishes and do not share serving utensils.
  • If prepayment for the gathering is involved, the host must offer contactless option where feasible, such as pay online or over the phone.
  • Special events like festivals, concerts, fireworks, and movies (except drive-in movies, as discussed below) remain prohibited. Do not have any of the above at a gathering so as not to encourage congregation. 


Other Restrictions

  • Indoor gatherings are still limited to 10 people at any one time, with all social-distancing precautions practiced.
  • Vehicle gatherings, such as birthday or teacher caravans, are permitted so long as individuals remain in vehicles at all times, except to use a restroom. Unless vehicles are 6-feet away from each other, windows, doors and sunroofs must remain closed. Individuals managing such events must wear masks where they cannot maintain social distance.
  • Drive-in movies would be permitted, with the same restrictions that are required for vehicle gatherings. Attendees must remain in cars.
  • Outdoor day camps at this point in time remain prohibited because there would potentially be more than 25 individuals, including campers and staff.  
  • In-person municipal meetings remain prohibited because they are indoors and could potentially have more than 10 people in attendance. Congregation indoors is not to be encouraged. This would also apply to volunteer group meetings.
  • Restrictions on other activities & businesses
    • Individuals are allowed on school property, but only for permitted passive recreation or to participate in a permitted gathering. For example, people can use a school track to walk or run, or may attend an outdoor gathering organized by the school.
    • Nonessential retail (e.g. a florist or clothing store) is now open for curbside pickup only. Brick & mortar premises remain closed, so customers may not walk into nonessential stores and make purchases. 
    • The following outdoor businesses may open, but must maintain no-contact reservation/prepayment, limit capacity to no more than 10 people at the same time, place physical barriers between employees/public wherever feasible, limit equipment to one person, maintain 6-foot social distancing, practice infection control/sanitation, and limit restroom occupancy.  
      • Archery ranges
      • Batting cages
      • Golf driving ranges
      • Horseback riding
      • Shooting ranges
      • Tennis clubs
      • Amusement parks, arcades, etc. remain closed, even if located at outdoor businesses that are open. 
  • Still closed: fitness centers, locker rooms, pavilions, playgrounds, picnic areas, and other buildings and facilities, except restrooms and those providing only access to an outdoor facility. So, people can picnic at a public park, but cannot use the actual picnic area or pavilion. 
  • ATV/dirt bike rental businesses may open for curbside pickup only
  • Community gardens may reopen with social distancing restrictions
  • Golf courses may allow groups of up to 4, caddies, and rentals with certain limitations. 
  • Outdoor dining at restaurants is not yet permitted. Restaurants remain limited to delivery or take-out. 
  • All construction work is now open subject to social distancing requirements.

Fred Semrau