Authorities in New Jersey have issued orders to further tighten restrictions statewide Dec. 5 and 7 due to increases in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. Under the new directives, indoor youth and adult sports practices and competitions must cease Dec. 5 through at least Jan. 2. The measure does not affect collegiate or professional sports teams, nor private lessons at gyms or fitness centers. Additionally, starting Dec. 7, outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people will be banned, with the exception of wedding ceremonies, memorials, funerals, religious ceremonies, and political activities.
The state is also keeping a travel advisory in effect. The guidelines, which were modified Nov. 25, strongly discourage all inter-state travel and urge all travelers entering New Jersey from any other US state or territory to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or the duration of their visit. Individuals arriving from the states of New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, or Connecticut, are exempt, as are business travelers and workers employed in critical manufacturing fields. While the guidelines are not mandatory, officials expect compliance, and travelers are asked to fill out a form upon arrival to the state.
Other restrictions remain unchanged. Indoor gatherings of more than 10 people are banned, except for events such as weddings, funerals, and religious and political activities, which continue to be limited to 25-percent of the venue's capacity or a maximum of 150 people. Indoor sporting competitions may also surpass the 10-person limit, but only for the individuals involved in the event. Restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and other businesses that serve food or drinks must close their indoor premises 2200-0500. Outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery services can continue after 2200. Casinos will also not be able to serve food or drinks 2200-0500, except for room service takeout.
Retail businesses, malls, and food and beverage establishments may operate at 50-percent capacity. Gyms, fitness centers, personal care services, indoor recreational facilities, and casinos may operate at 25-percent capacity. Recreational and entertainment businesses, including outdoor and indoor amusement parks and water parks, may operate at 50-percent capacity for outdoor areas and 25-percent for indoor premises. All businesses must ensure compliance with social-distancing standards, enhance sanitation procedures, and provide employees with any necessary personal protective equipment. Officials have also ordered residents to wear protective facemasks in all indoor public spaces and outdoor settings whenever compliance with social-distancing measures is not possible.
Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.
Heed the directives of the authorities. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.
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