N.J.’s COVID indoor gathering limits end today including large concert, sports venues. Here are the details.

New Jersey on Friday took more steps to remove some of its last remaining coronavirus restrictions, lifting all indoor gathering limits and capacity limits for large indoor venues.

That means there won’t be any COVID-19 capacity or social distancing restrictions on events such as indoor concerts and sports in the state for the first time in nearly 15 months. It also means the state no longer has any COVID-19 capacity restrictions on businesses.

Plus, private businesses in the Garden State are now allowed to let their employees work maskless if they’ve been vaccinated, while people who have been working remotely can now be called back into the office.

Gov. Phil Murphy has removed many of the state’s remaining restrictions in recent weeks as numbers continue to fall dramatically while more people get vaccinated. The state recently lifted mask mandates in most public places — though some exceptions remain — and removed social distancing rules for restaurants, businesses, and more.

Murphy said during a television interview Friday morning that “there are very few restrictions in place, frankly.”

“Our health numbers have consistently day-to-day gone in the right direction,” he said on MSNBC. “Things are getting back to normal. God knows, we need it. You can feel an unburdening up and down the state.”

Limiting gatherings was one of the first moves the governor made last spring as the virus began spreading rapidly through the state, an early coronavirus hotspot. On March 12, 2020, he recommended that all public gatherings of 250 people or more in New Jersey be canceled.

Murphy later made both indoor and outdoor gathering limits an order, increasing them and decreasing them various times as the pandemic ebbed and flowed over the last 15 months.

Until today, the limits were 50 people for private indoor gatherings and 250 people for indoor political activities, wedding ceremonies and receptions, funerals, memorial services, performances, catered events, and commercial gatherings.

There was also a 30{066dbc63777e5ed549f406789d72fdeebd77a32711d57f7b38ff2b35c4ba2a42} capacity limit for large indoor venues with fixed seating of 1,000 or greater.

All of those are now gone.

The state lifted all outdoor gathering limits May 19, the same day it ended fixed, percentage-based capacity limits for restaurants, retail stores, churches, and more.

The state ended its mask mandate in most cases last Friday — though there are exceptions and unvaccinated people are still strongly encouraged to wear face coverings. Plus, the state removed 6-foot social distancing requirements for businesses that day.

Originally, Murphy said businesses not open to the public were among the places where masks would still required. But he announced last week that those places can allow vaccinated people to ditch masks and social distancing starting Friday.

Businesses, though, are permitted to keep requiring masks and social distancing of all employees if they choose.

Plus, state employees will be required to wear masks at the office regardless of vaccination status.

There are still a few other COVID-19 restrictions in place across New Jersey — including mask mandates on public transportation; in schools, daycare, and summer camps; and in public-health settings.

Friday’s moves come the same day Murphy is expected to sign an order lifting the state’s 15-month public emergency over the pandemic, which has given the Democratic governor sweeping powers to battle the virus. He will also sign a law the Democratic-controlled state Legislature passed Thursday that will allow Murphy’s administration to retain some powers to keep responding to the declining pandemic over the next eight months. Republicans vehemently opposed the bill, saying it does not go far enough to curb his powers and was passed too quickly, without public input.

“With our state’s public health metrics continuing to trend decisively in the right direction, we are confident that now is the right time to take this action, particularly as the final limits on gatherings are lifted tomorrow,” Murphy said in a joint statement with state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex.

The state, they added, will now “move closer to normal than at any time since March 2020.”

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

More than 4.1 million people who live, work, or study in the state have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at New Jersey sites. That includes 92,500 out-of-state residents who were vaccinated in New Jersey. Another 168,100 New Jersey residents have been vaccinated in other states.

The state has set a goal of having 70{066dbc63777e5ed549f406789d72fdeebd77a32711d57f7b38ff2b35c4ba2a42} of New Jersey’s 6.9 million adults vaccinated by the end of this month. About 57{066dbc63777e5ed549f406789d72fdeebd77a32711d57f7b38ff2b35c4ba2a42} adult residents have been fully vaccinated so far. More than 240,100 children between the ages of 12 and 17 have also been vaccinated in New Jersey.

Nearly 5 million people have received at least their first dose at a New Jersey site — about 54{066dbc63777e5ed549f406789d72fdeebd77a32711d57f7b38ff2b35c4ba2a42} of the state’s 9.2 million residents, according to the state’s numbers.

The state’s latest seven-day average for new confirmed positive COVID-19 tests is 243 — down 43{066dbc63777e5ed549f406789d72fdeebd77a32711d57f7b38ff2b35c4ba2a42} from a week ago and 84{066dbc63777e5ed549f406789d72fdeebd77a32711d57f7b38ff2b35c4ba2a42} from a month ago. Hospitalizations, meanwhile, have declined to the lowest level since late September.

NJ Advance Media staff writer Matt Arco contributed to this report.

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Brent Johnson may be reached at [email protected].

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