Governor Murphy: This Will Not Be a Normal Holiday Season as Thanksgiving Gets Cuts

TRENTON –  New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced on Monday that over 4,450 new positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported and has signaled the start of New Jersey’s second shutdown.  Starting next Monday, indoor gatherings will be restricted in New Jersey and Thanksgiving dinner has been shrunk to just 10 people.



“I know you think you’re invincible.  Maybe you think that people aren’t getting sick anymore, or going to the hospital, or dying anymore,” Murphy said.  “Maybe you think you’re the victim of some witch hunt. Whatever that reason is, I can assure you it false. It is a myth.”

“And to that end, I must again pull back the reins at another aspect of our reopening. It gives me no joy to be doing this, by the way. Today I’m signing an Executive Order to reduce indoor gathering limits to no more than 10 persons; that’s down from 25 persons,” Murphy said. “That’s a limit that we set that has been in existence since August 3rd. This provision will take effect tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. There are several exemptions from this: religious services or celebrations, political activities, wedding ceremonies, funerals or memorial services, and performances will continue to be limited to 25% of capacity but with a maximum of 150 people. But all other private indoor gatherings such as house parties and public events must be capped at no more than 10, and in this we will be in In line with a growing number of our fellow states throughout the region. We had a really good five Governors Zoom call yesterday with New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, and myself, and more on that later, but that was one of many of the good exchanges we’ve had over the past eight or nine months.”

Murphy said New Jerseyans must readjust their Thanksgiving plans.

“What we’re doing today we know will cause some people to readjust their Thanksgiving plans, and I understand why there might be frustration with this step. But as we have been saying, Judy and I in particular, with a good helping from Pat and Tina and others, we’ve been saying for weeks that this will not be a normal Thanksgiving,” Murphy said. “It’s not a normal school year, it’s not a normal Thanksgiving, it wasn’t a normal Halloween, it won’t be a normal Hanukkah or Christmas, and 2020 won’t be normal, period. We’re urging everybody to keep their Thanksgiving plans as small as possible because we know that indoor gatherings and homes are particularly dangerous places for COVID-19 to spread. The smaller the gathering is, the less likely it is that someone is infected and puts their loved ones at risk. It is that simple.”

Governor Phil Murphy on Monday signed Executive Order No. 196, which lowers indoor and outdoor gathering limits. Effective Tuesday, November 17 at 6:00 a.m., the indoor gathering limit will decrease from 25 to 10 people. The outdoor gathering limit will decrease from 500 people to 150 people, effective Monday, November 23 at 6:00 a.m.

“As we have been saying for weeks, this will not be a normal a holiday season, and it’s incumbent on all of us to avoid the type of gatherings that have proven to be particularly dangerous places for COVID-19 to spread,” said Governor Murphy. “With the alarming numbers we are seeing right now, we have to take these steps today to preserve and protect public health and to slow the spread of this virus.”

The limit for weddings, funerals, memorial services and religious and political activities remain unchanged and will be limited to 25% of the capacity of the room in which the gathering takes place, up to a maximum of 150 individuals.

Indoor sporting competitions and practices will be permitted to exceed the 10 person limit only for individuals necessary for the practice or competition, such as players, coaches, and referees, but may not exceed 150 individuals.  For most indoor sports, this will mean that there can be no spectators.

Legislative and judicial proceedings are not subject to the indoor gatherings limits.

Weddings, funerals, memorial services, and religious and political activities are not subject to the outdoor gatherings limit. All other types of gatherings, such as a high school football game or an outdoor concert, will be limited to 150 individuals.  Athletes, coaches, referees and other individuals necessary for a professional or collegiate sports competition are not counted towards the 150 person limit.

Outdoor gatherings continue to be subject to strict social distancing restrictions, including the requirement to wear masks whenever it is not possible to social distance.