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Murphy orders new restrictions, may ‘shut everything down’ as COVID-19 cases hit record highs

New Jersey will lower its limit on indoor and outdoor gatherings after a weekend of record-setting COVID-19 numbers, Gov. Phil Murphy said on Monday. Private indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people, down from 25, and outdoor gatherings will be capped at 150 people.

The changes come after the state reported its highest COVID-19 increases since the pandemic began. On Sunday, the state reported its largest single-day increase yet, with more than 4,500 new cases, for a total of nearly 9,000 cases over the weekend.

“I understand why there might be frustration with this step,” Murphy said of the updated restrictions at a Monday press conference. “As we had been saying, this will not be a normal Thanksgiving.”

Governor Murphy did not rule out a statewide economic shutdown at a press conference Monday (Edwin J. Torres/Governor’s Office).

Murphy also said he would not rule out another statewide shutdown to control the virus in a Monday interview with WPIX.

“Do we reserve the right to shut everything down? Sadly, we have to with these numbers,” Murphy said in the interview.

The indoor gathering restrictions do not apply to restaurants, which will be able to continue operating at 25% capacity. Religious services, weddings, funerals, and performances will also be allowed to operate at 25% capacity, or up to 150 people, Murphy tweeted Monday.

Indoor gathering restrictions will go into effect on Tuesday, with the outdoor restriction going into effect on Nov. 23.

Murphy did not clarify whether the gathering restrictions will apply to schools, many of which remain open throughout the state.

Daniel O’Connor can be reached at Find him on Twitter @itsDanOConnor

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