Although “non-essential” New Jersey retailers can reopen on June 15, malls still have to remain shuttered, Gov. Phil Murphy said.
“We’re not there on malls,” Murphy said Thursday, as his administration rolls back restrictions put in place in mid-March to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Still, Murphy clarified that although people could not enter the mall, they would nonetheless be able to go into stores that are part of the physical structure, but have an outdoor entrance.
Starting June 15 at 6 a.m., non-essential retailers can open their doors at 50 percent capacity. They must enforce social distancing, and face coverings must be worn by customers and employees alike. High-touch areas such as credit card machines, keypads and counters need to be frequently sanitized.
As part of Stage 2 of the state’s reopening, which New Jersey is now entering, hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to reopen on June 22. Gyms and fitness centers will also be allowed to reopen at limited capacity in the near future, the governor said, but a date has yet to be put forward for those entities.
But indoor malls, which have remained closed since March 17, will remain so for the foreseeable future.
“One of the industries or sectors that we’re looking at is malls,” Matt Platkin, the governor’s chief counsel, added on Thursday, but he offered no timeline.
New Jerseyans have been awaiting dates on when they can once again resume indoor dining, museums, libraries, casinos, concerts and sporting events. Many of those fall into the third stage of the state’s reopening, which is contingent on a continual, steady decline in the number of new cases, hospitalizations and fatalities of COVID-19.
But, Murphy indicated he would like to see the state’s casinos reopened in some fashion by July 4 weekend.
“[W]e’ve got to be exceedingly careful on indoor sedentary, lacking ventilation, close proximity realities,” he warned at his May 28 briefing.