Just in time for the holiday weekend, Gov. Phil Murphy is lifting restrictions on outdoor gatherings — with some caveats, of course. His new order has effects from the backyard to the driving ranges. The order does not allow for outdoor dining at restaurants or outdoor graduations. More guidance is expected on that in the next week or so.
The administration says it made the decision because all key indicators continue to fall. For the 16th consecutive day the state reported fewer than 2,000 new confirmed cases. Total positive tests now stand at 151,719. Overnight another 146 more lives were lost due to COVID-19. Statewide, the total death count is 10,985 since the coronavirus outbreak began roughly 11 weeks ago.
There was some concern the last few days as the spot positivity rate spiked up to 18% after hovering around 12% last week. The governor called that a “weekend distortion.” The rate is now back to 14% as of May 18.