New Jersey’s houses of worship are now allowed to increase to 50 percent capacity, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

The easing of restrictions comes as the state’s COVID-19 figures are on the decline after worrisome spikes in December and January.

Murphy said during Monday’s press briefing that places of worship can bump up their capacity to 50 percent from the previous 35 percent starting now.

The news came as he announced that sports and entertainment venues in the state that have fixed seating for more than 5,000 people can open at 10 percent capacity indoors and 15 percent capacity outdoors starting March 1.

Meanwhile, two parents or guardians of college athletes can attend events as long as the crowd doesn’t exceed 35 percent capacity in indoor facilities and social distancing can be maintained for outside activities. This matches what the state began allowing earlier in the month for youth and high-school sports.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey’s houses of worship are now allowed to increase to 50 percent capacity.
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Social distancing and masks are still required at any of these events and sites, Murphy said.

New York’s houses of worship are already allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.

The Empire State’s large stadiums and arenas will welcome back fans at 10 percent capacity this week, however only venues with 10,000-person capacity are eligible.

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