N.J. Ponders How to Safely Restart Indoor Dining and Reopen Gyms

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy offered a hint of normalcy for residents locked out of their gyms since March: His office was meeting with fitness-center representatives to discuss reopenings, he said.

The governor, at a Trenton news conference, cautioned that he had “no news to report” of his own after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he will issue guidance on Monday for resuming gym operations in that state. But Murphy said his staff was meeting on the matter Friday with gym operators.

“We are trying to find a way to get to both indoor dining and get gyms open,” said Murphy, a first-term Democrat who ordered non-essential businesses to close on March 21. To date, the virus has killed almost 16,000 people in New Jersey. “We’re going to need to continue to see good numbers. There will be significant parameters, especially around capacity matters.”

One New Jersey gym, Atilis in the Philadelphia suburb of Bellmawr, had its business license revoked this week after repeatedly defying orders to close. Its co-owners have been arrested and fined thousands of dollars while online supporters have raised more than $260,000 toward their bills.

Murphy was set to allow indoor dining to resume on July 2, but delayed that indefinitely after social-media images showed widespread flouting of masking and distancing orders, particularly in outdoor bars. Later in the month, the virus showed evidence of spreading, but the state’s transmission rate since has improved.

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