NEW YORK (WABC) — New Jersey is taking big steps forward as the state moves into stage two this week that will include outdoor dining and some indoor retail, but on Sunday the reopening of churches begins across the state.

Churches will finally be opening their doors to parishioners for mass and services, limiting to 50 people or 25 percent, whichever number is smaller. Though they will look a little different with a much smaller gathering than before, it’s a start as face masks and social distancing is required.

On Monday, the Archdiocese of Newark also plans to reopen as well as non-essential retails stores can let customers back inside rather than just curbside.

Restaurants can also offer “outdoor” dining along with take out.

The governor says with this phase 2 reopening the state has launched an initiative to help small businesses called “One Jersey Pledge.”

In light of these new restrictions on service, some churches will do first-come, first-serve, while other churches and temples have opted not to reopen and keep streaming services online for now.

The city remained below all three required thresholds for hospitalizations (70), ICU patients (339), and percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 (3%).

Mass Transit and traffic is increasing in the city as restrictions ease. According to de Blasio:
– Subway ridership is up 25%
– Bus Ridership is up 23%
– Staten Island Ferry ridership is up 31%
– Traffic on East River Bridges is up 17%
– Traffic on Harlem River Bridges is up 14%

In Brooklyn Friday afternoon, dozens of children riding their bikes in the streets called on the governor and mayor to reopen the city’s sleep-away camps, schools and playgrounds. The young demonstrators and their parents rallied in Williamsburg demanding an end to the shutdown.

Phase 2 reopening began Wednesday, meaning outdoor dining and some retail stores are back open for the first time in weeks in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said 67 playgrounds throughout Nassua County’s 35 parks will reopen Saturday, while dog parks in the town of Oyster Bay reopened Friday.

Curran also announced public pools will reopen to residents only on July 3, just in time for the holiday weekend.

New York State saw new lows in both COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths on Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.

Hospitalizations totaled 1,734 while 32 new deaths were reported, both the lowest marks since the coronavirus pandemic first struck New York.

The state’s rate of transmission, which Cuomo called “the most important factor in all of this,” is 0.77, the lowest in the country.

“We were spreading at the highest rate in the nation, we are now at the lowest rate in the nation,” Cuomo said.

The percentage of positive tests in New York City following the city’s first week of reopening was 1.7%.

Cuomo also announced that Western New York will enter Phase 3 of the reopening on Tuesday and the Capital Region will do the same on Wednesday.

There were 523 more positive cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey on Friday for a total of 166,605. 103 people died Friday for a statewide total of 12,589.

New Jersey is set to enter Phase 2 of its reopening as the state emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, and Governor Phil Murphy announced a lawsuit Friday against one town defying his executive order.

The city of Asbury Park made a controversial decision, with the City Council voting to allow limited indoor dining at its restaurants even though only outdoor dining is permitted.

Along with Phase 2, churches are welcoming back parishioners for weekend masses, with restrictions, and non-essential in-person retail and child care services are also allowed to resume Monday.

On Monday, June 22, personal care services can reopen. The include:
– Beauty salons
– Barber shops
– Day spas – no saunas or shared bathing
– Medical spas
– Nail salons
– Hair braiding shops
– Massage parlors
– Tanning salons
– Tattoo parlors

Also on June 22, libraries can begin to offer curbside pickup and the health department will put out guidance on organized sports.

Governor Phil Murphy visited President Trump on Friday night in Bedminster, New Jersey. In a tweet, President Trump said NJ would get federal funding to replace Portal North Bridge, a two-track moveable swing-span railroad bridge over the Hackensack River in Kearny and Secaucus that was constructed over 110 years ago.

Just finished dinner in Bedminster, New Jersey, with Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) and his wonderful wife, Tammy. Talked about many things, including the opening of the beautiful Garden State, getting people back to work, and…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2020

Federal health officials are sounding the alarms about a potential large spread of the coronavirus as the CDC is predicting that as many as 25,000 Americans could die between now and July 4.

This coming as a new ABC News analysis finds that the number of daily deaths from the coronavirus is increasing in 13 states. The nation’s leading infectious disease official continues to stress a cause and effect approach.

New York City Transit officials demonstrated the ultraviolet technology it is using to kill COVID-19 in a pilot program to disinfect entire trains. The pilot is initially focused on identifying ways to eradicate COVID-19 in rolling stock, including car classes R188, R62, R46, R68, and R160 at Corona, Coney Island, Jamaica and Pelham Maintenance Shops.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, faced with the reality of much of the country’s reopening, released guidelines for events and gatherings like weddings, concerts, festivals, parades and conferences.

Tens of thousands of people living with special needs inside small group homes in New York who haven’t been able to see their loved ones believe they’re the forgotten ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, a group of lawmakers are taking action.


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