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Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Murphy Begins Stage 2 of Recovery

Gov. Phil Murphy 

By Vince Conti

To access the Herald’s local coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage, click here.

TRENTON – On June 1, Gov. Phil Murphy says he is ready to begin a gradual move to Stage 2 of his multi-staged Road to Recovery plan.

Satisfied that the health statistics continue to trend positively with the rate of new cases and fatalities slowing, along with declining COVID-19 hospitalizations, Murphy today announced dates for the opening of non-essential retail and outdoor dining.

Murphy said both could begin in two weeks, on June 15, with restrictions. The date comes just over two weeks after short-term rentals, hotel and motels began operating at reduced capacity and one week before they can return to full capacity.

The patchwork of openings across lodging establishments, restaurants, and retail continues to make coordinated efforts to present an integrated experience for tourists and visitors difficult. With the peak of the summer season fast approaching, shore communities must improvise ways to provide that summer experience so vital to the region’s economy.

Murphy did not detail the restrictions in his announcement, but they are likely to include required sanitation protocols, social distancing rules, use of protective equipment and capacity limits.

Murphy also said the personal care establishments could reopen by June 22, with restrictions. He went on to hint that gyms and health clubs would restart soon, but gave no date.

The governor said the entry into Stage 2 of his recovery plan is “not a flick of the switch,” cautioning that the moves at reopening would still be gradual, protocol driven and subject to change if the health numbers spike.

“Data determines dates,” he said.

When Murphy first announced his staged plan, Stage 2 also contained reduced capacity indoor dining, and the opening of museums and libraries. He gave no dates for these activities today.

Murphy unveiled his staged recovery plan May 18. Although it promises expanded activities, it also calls for “significantly reduced capacity” for most of them.

The question in Cape May County is whether or not the relaxation of restrictions is coming fast enough to facilitate a reasonably successful economy for the key months when many local businesses earn the bulk of their annual revenues.

In a tweet, Murphy said, “Only a successful Stage 2 can get us to Stage 3,” which Murphy has previously described as “the new normal.”

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