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Can funerals or memorial services be held?
Funerals and memorial services may continue to be held and must comply with the limits on gatherings.
Indoor funerals, memorial services, wedding ceremonies, and religious and political activities protected under the First Amendment must be limited to 150 people or 25% of a room's capacity -- whichever number is lower. All attendees at indoor gatherings must wear face coverings and stay six feet apart.
There is no limit for outdoor gatherings for funerals, memorial services, religious activities, wedding ceremonies, or political activities.
To save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and stay home if you are sick. Face coverings are required in indoor public spaces and in outdoor public spaces when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Note: Beginning November 5, employers must adhere to new employee protection guidelines, summarized here. Detailed requirements, as well as exemptions for certain employers, can be found in Executive Order No. 192.
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:
- 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.
Source: Executive Order No. 152; Executive Order No. 161; Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 7/29/20; Executive Order No. 183; Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 10/15/20; Executive Order No. 196; Executive Order No. 204