New Jersey Casinos, Businesses Can Lift Most Restrictions

New Jersey Casinos, Businesses Can Lift Most Restrictions
By Lou Monaco

It’s back to a new normalcy for New Jersey casinos, restaurants and other businesses -- sort of.

In a sign of recovery from the coronavirus outbreak, New Jersey joined neighbors New York and Connecticut in eliminating many of its biggest COVID-19 restrictions beginning May 19, including capacity limits at casinos, restaurants and outdoor gathering limits. Indoor mask and social distancing protocols will remain.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont jointly announced the new measures at a news conference Monday in New York.

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Casinos, restaurants, gyms, personal services, movie theaters, stores, museums and amusement parks will be allowed to operate without set capacity limits for the first time in more than a year, though people will still need to wear masks indoors and groups will need to be separated by six feet.

In addition, seating at indoor bars will be allowed, with the same social-distancing restrictions. No longer will there be outdoor gathering limits, but you must wear a mask if you can’t socially distance.

“With our COVID-19 numbers, particularly hospitalizations, trending decisively in the right direction and our vaccination goals within reach, now is the time to take major steps to reopen our economy and loosen both indoor and outdoor gathering and capacity restrictions,” said Murphy, who started easing some restrictions in February. “We’ve done this the right way, in partnership with our neighboring states of New York and Connecticut, and by allowing data, science, and public health to guide our decision-making.

”Over these next few weeks, I encourage all remaining eligible New Jerseyans to get vaccinated so we can continue fighting back against this virus and move toward a ‘new normal’ for ourselves, our neighbors, and our loved ones.”

The announcement for the Garden State comes nearly 14 months after the first announced COVID-19 case and after more than 3.2 million people have been fully vaccinated in New Jersey as of Monday.

Neighboring States See Progress

Connecticut had already announced plans to lift all restrictions, except indoor masking, by May 19, and New York City announced plans to lift all restrictions by July 1.

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“The tide is turning against COVID-19 in New York, and thanks to our increasing vaccination rates, as well as our successful, data-based regional approach, we’re able to take more steps to reopen our economy, help businesses and workers, and keep moving towards returning to normal,” Cuomo said. “Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers and our partners in government, we are now able to increase capacity limits for businesses, event venues and residences to reflect what we’re seeing in the COVID data.

”Maintaining this progress is critical and in order to keep moving in a positive direction, New Yorkers must continue to take all the proper precautions. If we let up now, we could slide backwards and that is something nobody wants.”



Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media ( in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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