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Can I still get married? Are wedding venues open?
Yes, so long as ceremonies and receptions comply with the limits on gatherings and other safety guidelines.
See below for more details on ceremonies, venues, and marriage licenses.
Whenever outside, please do your part 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.
WEDDING CEREMONIES AND VENUES
Outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions may be held so long as they comply with the limits on outdoor gatherings, which limits events to 150 people at one time, and social distancing must be practiced.
There is no limit for outdoor gatherings for wedding ceremonies, funerals, memorial services, religious activities, or political activities.
Indoor wedding ceremonies may be held so long as they comply with the limits on indoor gatherings. Weddings, funerals, memorial services, 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.
Any establishments that serve food or alcohol must comply with the health and safety protocols for indoor and outdoor dining, including prohibiting consumption of food or beverages indoors between 10 pm and 5 am.
Beginning September 4, indoor wedding receptions may also be held so long as they comply with the limits on indoor gatherings, and venues that serve food indoors including banquet halls and wedding venues may reopen in accordance with the safety protocols detailed in Executive Order No. 183 and the Department of Health's Health and Safety Standards for Indoor Dining.
Unfortunately, dance floors at all venues are closed due to the high-risk of spreading COVID-19 in these spaces, where many individuals may be in close contact with one another.
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
During this difficult time, we understand everyone wants to be with family and friends. But being cautious when you interact with others is particularly important as New Jersey is seeing increasing signs of community spread. To ensure we don't inadvertently spread COVID-19 and needlessly put our loved ones at risk, the NJ Department of Health has offered safety tips for in-person gatherings:
- Indoor gatherings pose more risk than outdoor gatherings. Host outdoor activities rather than indoor activities as much as possible.
- Ask guests to wear face coverings when they cannot social distance.
- Make hand sanitizer available for guests.
- Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
- Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. Limit numbers of attendees as much as possible.
- 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.
Those seeking a marriage license should apply for one in the New Jersey municipality where either party resides. The license is valid throughout New Jersey.
However, due to the public health emergency, please contact your local registrar first to determine if they are still open for business at this time as they may be closed to protect the health of residents and workers against COVID-19.
The Governor has also announced an executive order that allows individuals to use videoconferencing technology for the licensing process and the marriage ceremony.
The requirement that a marriage or civil union be solemnized in the physical presence of an officiant and two witnesses can be satisfied through the use of live audio-visual technology, provided certain conditions are met.
The order also suspends the 72-hour waiting period between the license application and issuance, extends the period that a license is valid from 30 to 90 days, and waives fees imposed for the issuance of a second marriage or civil union license if the original has expired.
For more information, contact your local registrar.
Source:Executive Order No. 135;Executive Order No. 152; Executive Order No. 157;Executive Order No. 161; Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 7/29/20; Executive Order No. 173; Executive Order No. 183; Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 10/15/20