As the New Jersey reopening moves forward, many Garden State residents are thinking about a Fourth of July or summer party or barbecue.

Indoor gatherings are now capped at 25% of capacity with a maximum of 100 people while the total allowed for outside activities has been raised to 250.

Gov. Phil Murphy is encouraging people who are planning celebrations or gatherings in the coming weeks to make it an outside affair and encourage all guests to wear face coverings.

“There’s no question indoor, intense intimacy, proximity, sedentary behavior without face coverings is a really bad fact,” he said.

“If you can do it outside, do it outside,” Murphy said Tuesday. “That’s not to say you’re out of the woods, but it’s just a whole different ballgame outside.”

Murphy also believes it’s a good idea for party hosts to keep track of their guests, perhaps with a sign-in sheet, to make it easier to alert them if a COVID-19 outbreak develops.

“I think knowing who was there in case something, God forbid, goes off the rails, that’s not a bad thing,” he said. "The more information we have about the people we come in contact with, the better — without being, without turning into a Big Brother reality, George Orwell here," he said.

Murphy said no state has done as well as New Jersey in social distancing and driving down the infection rate.

“We just need you to continue doing just what you’ve been doing," he added.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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