Restaurants and other businesses can operate at half their maximum indoor capacity starting in less than 10 days, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday.

The increase from 35% to 50% amid pandemic restrictions was set to take effect on Friday, March 19, for indoor dining at restaurants and bars, gyms, casinos, salons and other indoor amusement spots, the governor said.

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Retail stores already had been operating at up to 50% indoor capacity since February, under state directives.

The state’s indoor capacity for dining and personal care and other businesses was last increased roughly a month ago, up from 25% to 35% with a 150-person limit.

As for private gatherings, the state limit has been roughly doubled to 25 people indoors and crowds of 50 outdoors, with continued exemptions for political activities, religious services, and wedding ceremonies.

Murphy’s directives were announced on the same day that Maryland rolled back similar limits.

In that state, capacity limits will be lifted on outdoor and indoor dining and businesses, while Maryland’s large outdoor and indoor venues would start operating at 50% capacity, with social distancing and mask protocols remaining in place there, according to Gov. Larry Hogan.

Pennsylvania restaurants have been open at 50% capacity since January, provided they continue certain protocols.

Restaurants in New York, with the exception of New York City, will be allowed to operate at 75% of their capacity also as of March 19, up from 50%.

As of Wednesday mid-morning, the state reported 2,671,480 total vaccine doses administered. Just under 900,000 of those were second doses.

Also, for the first time the Johnson and Johnson developed vaccine (distributed under the Janssen brand) registered as 1% of all doses given so far, at 9,700 shots statewide.

Moderna made up 52% and Pfizer shots were 47% of all vaccines distributed, as of Wednesday.



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