New Jersey increases capacity for indoor gatherings

Photo courtesy of Phil Murphy, Flickr

While COVID-19 cases have been on a slight downward trend in New Jersey, it is not yet time to return to normal life. In fact, students at Ramapo expect more of the same as Bergen county continues to be the leading area of cases in New Jersey.

New Jersey is currently looking at approximately 3,000 new cases per day. Yet, Governor Murphy has decided the small decrease is grounds for easing up, just in time for Superbowl Sunday.

According to, Murphy is allowing restaurants to stay open past 10 p.m. and increase their capacity by 10% to 35% but capped across the board at 150 patrons. The hope seems to be that the open spaces in public settings will offset the number of private gatherings that would lack social distancing and masks.

This Sunday is one of the most popular days of the year for gatherings, but 2021 is still looking very different from our norm. Bergen County alone has more cases than 38 U.S. states, according to the county’s official website. 

While the number of cases is still startling, New Jersey residents can look forward to the possibility of their vaccines coming sooner rather than later. The number of vaccination sites has been expanding, and according to, state officials hope to vaccinate more than 70% of adults by Spring.

The same article, updated Jan. 29, said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli estimates more than 36% of available doses in the state have already been distributed. Several Ramapo students have already begun their first doses for the vaccine, and few have completed their second.

In a recent Facebook post, Ramapo showed nursing students getting their vaccines, as many students are currently working in healthcare.

As for on-campus efforts to stunt the spread of COVID-19 cases, Ramapo has implemented monthly surveillance testing for all residential students. This system, organized with VisitHealthcare, splits students into four groups, testing one group per week.

Since Jan. 1, Ramapo has had 13 reported cases of Coronavirus on campus. The school’s website also reports how many students are being housed in the residential quarantine spaces. As of Feb. 3, only 5 students are quarantining.

The COVID-19 Updates page offers extensive information on the cases reported on and off-campus. Few classes still are being offered on campus, and dining services remain open in a limited capacity. Though, students may now enjoy visits inside the dining hall while following strict social distancing guidelines.

After a large spike of cases in early January, the U.S. looks once again to be flattening the curve. As vaccines roll out across the country, we can hope to see those numbers decrease even more. Until then, social distancing and mask-wearing must continue.