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Executive Order No. 156 & Re-Opening of Playgrounds

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. June 24, 2020 Posted in Firm News

On June 22, 2020 Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 156. This executive order supersedes the capacity limitations, established by Executive Order No. 152, by increasing the amount of individuals permitted at both indoor and outdoor gatherings. Our prior blog on Executive Order 152, is here.

Indoor gatherings are now permitted to allow for 25% of the capacity of the room in which the gathering takes place, but regardless of the capacity of the room, such limit shall never be larger than 100 individuals or fewer than 10 individuals. This is an increase from the maximum limit of 50, established by Executive Order 152. Executive Order 156 also states: “All other requirements for indoor gatherings contained in Paragraph 1 of Executive Order No. 152 (2020) shall remain in effect.”

In considering the opening of indoor amenity areas, we encourage communities to consider liability. Posting signs and requiring individuals utilizing these areas to execute waivers are some ways that liability may be decreased. However, we urge communities to proceed with caution in approaching the maximum limits of 100 people in indoor spaces. The community should ensure that there is adequate social distancing at all times. In considering the lower limit of 10 people, you should understand that if a specific room’s capacity would normally be twelve (12) people, according to the Executive Order, you do not need to reduce it now to three (3) people (which would be 25%). However, you may find that, despite the Executive Order permitting you to allow ten (10) people in the room, you may want to use your authority to set that limit to a lower number (maybe 6 people, for example). This depends on the time how close people will be by virtue of the space available. We urge communities to consider that the maximum limits authorized by the Executive Order are only those limits that will prevent enforcement from the Attorney General – the maximum limit is not an excuse from liability. In other words, you may still be potentially sued, even if you have 25 people, in a room that would normally allow 100 people in the room. Executive Order 104 also prohibits the opening of the fitness centers and movie theaters. That Order has not been lifted.

Outdoor Gatherings are now permitted to allow for up to 250 individuals, with an exception granted to religious services and political gatherings, which are not required to comply with the numerical limit on individuals. With all other requirements of Paragraph 1 of Executive Order No. 152 remaining in effect, such requirements include but are not limited to the requirements of social distancing, face covers, and the demarcation of appropriate social distancing spacing.

As the State continues in the Phase 2 of the re-opening process, Governor Phil Murphy also announced on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, that playgrounds, outdoor amusement parks and outdoor water parks will be able to open their doors just in time for July 4th weekend. Beginning on Thursday, July 2, 2020, playgrounds and various other outdoor entertainment venues will be able to reopen. However, there will be a capacity limit of 50% and face masks must be worn by workers and attendees, where practicable.  Consistent with the past phased reopening’s, individuals shall continue to practice social distancing, by maintaining a 6 foot distance from other individuals.

On reopening Gov. Phil Murphy stated, "With next week's July Fourth holiday weekend rapidly approaching, and with families rightfully looking for ways to enjoy their time off together, we want to make it known that yes, the rides will be in operation,"  With the standard regulations, including face masks, consistent cleaning, strict hygiene protocols and social distancing measures have already been announced, specific guidance that operators will need to follow will be provided within the next few days. 

We will provide you with further updates to keep you informed!


The information in this Client Alert is provided solely for information purposes. It should not be construed as legal advice on any specific matter and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based upon particular circumstances.  Each legal matter is unique, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


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