Call it a dawn after the COVID-19 storm. It looked that way at sunrise on the Shrewsbury River on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It felt that way to many with Tuesday’s news from NJ Gov. Phil Murphy that offered what many saw as that hint of light rising out of a dark pandemic era. The governor, as part of a staged reopening of the state, has lifted the stay-at-home edict in place since late March.
As the state moves into stage two of reopening, the governor yesterday specifically raised indoor gathering guidelines, effective immediately, from a maximum of 10 to 50 people or 25 percent of capacity, whichever works out to be lower. Masks and social distancing, the governor, stressed, are still critical. People should continue to wear masks and stay at least six feet apart, he said.
Outdoors, people may gather in groups of up to 100. Previously, the limit was 25. Protests and outdoor religious services are exempt. Still, masks and distancing as much as possible apply.
The outdoor gathering limits will be upped in increments going forward. As of June 22, the limit will be 250; and from July 3 forward, 500.
The total lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in NJ as of Wednesday afternoon were 165,306, up 510 from 164,796 yesterday. In Monmouth County alone, there were 8,563 positive test results and 652 deaths. The total lab-confirmed county death toll from the virus is now at 12,377.
The governor said on Tuesday that his decision was based on evidence that outdoor transmission of COVID-19 is a lot less likely than indoor.
There has been a lot of pressure by restaurant owners and residents to relax standards and get people back to work. There has been an equal amount of pressure from those who believe that another spike in transmission will come with the relaxed standards.
In the Rumson-Fair Haven area, the longstanding Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, always slated for the last week in August, has been cancelled for the first time since the late 1950s. The fair, replete with dining, rides and games of chance, attracts thousands per night. Fair organizers said they felt the cancellation was in the best interest of the community’s health.
In Fair Haven, the COVID-positive test results, as of Tuesday, stand at 27. In Rumson, there are 38. Sea Bright has 12. There are 229 positive reported cases in Red Bank.
Thanks to the sunrise snapshots on the Shrewsbury provided by John Kinsey, who was out fishing and caught a great view of it!