How can people safely get together? What are the limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings?
Attending a gathering, ceremony, or celebration is permitted, but different limits apply depending on the type of gathering and where it is happening:
Face coverings are required in indoor public spaces and in outdoor public spaces when social distancing is difficult to maintain. Given the current surge in COVID-19 cases, indoor gatherings should be limited to immediate household members if possible.
- General indoor gatherings must be limited to 25 people. All attendees at indoor gatherings must wear face coverings and stay six feet apart.
- Indoor gatherings for religious services and celebrations, including wedding ceremonies, funerals and memorial services that involve a religious service, must be limited to 50 percent of a room's capacity. Wedding ceremonies, funerals, and memorial services that do not involve a religious service must be limited to 35 percent of a room's capacity, but no more than 150 individuals.
- Indoor wedding receptions are capped at 35 percent of the room's indoor capacity, but no more than 150 individuals. Learn more. At 6 a.m. on Friday, April 2nd, this limit will also apply to all indoor private catered events at dining establishments or at businesses that work with licensed caterers.
- Indoor gatherings for political activities protected under the First Amendment must be limited to 35 percent of a room's capacity, but no more than 150 individuals.
- Indoor sports practices and competitions may exceed the general indoor gathering limit under specific exceptions, described in this article.
- Indoor performances at entertainment centers, including movie theaters, performing arts centers, and other concert venues, must be limited to 35 percent of a room's capacity, but no more than 150 people, not including staff.
- Large venues, including sports and entertainment venues, with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or more may host events at 10 percent capacity indoors; the 10 percent capacity limit excludes participants, such as athletes and performers, and staff, such as coaches and ushers, but include patrons and other members of the public. At 6 a.m. on Friday, April 2nd, venues with a seating capacity of 2,500 or more will be permitted to host events at 20 percent capacity indoors.
- Indoor meetings of addiction support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, must be limited to 35 percent of a room's capacity, but no more than 150 individuals.
- Legislative and judicial proceedings are not subject to the limits on indoor gatherings.
- General outdoor gatherings must be limited to 50 people and social distancing must be practiced. At 6 a.m. on Friday, April 2, the general outdoor gathering limit will increase to 200 people.
- There is no limit for outdoor gatherings for wedding ceremonies, funerals, memorial services, religious activities, or political activities.
- Outdoor wedding receptions are limited to 150 individuals. Learn more.
- Outdoor sports practices and competitions may exceed the general outdoor gathering limit under specific exceptions, described in this article.
- Outdoor performances at outdoor entertainment centers, including movie theaters, performing arts centers, and other concert venues, are limited to a number that ensures that all people can remain six feet apart, but no more than 150 people. Outdoor performances in an outside area adjacent to an indoor entertainment centers must be limited to 35 percent of the facility's indoor capacity, but no more than 150 people, not including staff.
- Large venues, including sports and entertainment venues, with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or more may host events at 15 percent capacity outdoors; the 15 percent capacity limit excludes participants, such as athletes and performers, and staff, such as coaches and ushers, but include patrons and other members of the public. At 6 a.m. on Friday, April 2nd, venues with a seating capacity of 2,500 or more will be permitted to host events at 30 percent capacity outdoors.
Safety Tips For Gatherings:
To avoid putting your loved ones at risk as COVID-19 cases remain high, the NJ Department of Health has offered safety tips for in-person gatherings:
- Wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and stay home if you are sick.
- Given the current surge in COVID-19 cases, only gather indoors with immediate household members if possible. Indoor gatherings are particularly dangerous places for the virus to spread. Host outdoor activities rather than indoor activities as much as possible.
- If you do host indoors, increase ventilation by opening windows and doors or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
- The smaller the gathering is, the less likely it is that someone is infected and put loved ones at risk.
- Require guests to wear masks when not eating, whether indoors or outdoors.
- Plan ahead and ask guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
- Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others outside their household.
- Make hand sanitizer available for guests.
- Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
- When hosting activities, do so with people only from your local area as much as possible. Activities with attendees traveling from different locations increase the risk of infection and spread, especially if they are coming from or traveling to a location with higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread.
- Remind invited guests to stay home if they have been exposed to the virus in the last 14 days, are showing COVID-19 symptoms, or recently travelled to an area or a state with high COVID-19 infection rates.
- Limit the number of people handling or serving food—for example, consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
- Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
- Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.
- Consider keeping a list of guests who attended for potential future contract tracing needs. If you are called by a contact tracer, it's critical that you answer the call to protect us all. Your help is the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives.
- Download the COVID Alert NJ App. The app is New Jersey's free and secure mobile app that anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. COVID Alert NJ uses Bluetooth proximity technology, never records any identifying data, and all users will remain anonymous. Download the app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
Fraud Alert: We have received reports of scammers reaching out to people offering to register them for funeral assistance. FEMA has not sent any such notifications and we do not contact people prior to them registering for assistance.Fraud Alert: We have received reports of scammers reaching out to people offering to register them for funeral assistance. FEMA has not sent any such notifications and we do not contact people prior to them registering for assistance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
We are working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways we can best provide this assistance, and to enlist their help with outreach to families and communities. FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April.
Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.