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New state order reopens buffets, clarifies attendance rules for indoor sporting events
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New state order reopens buffets, clarifies attendance rules for indoor sporting events

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A new state order gives a little more wiggle room to who can attend certain indoor sporting events and permits the return of buffet-style service at New Jersey restaurants.

Gov. Phil Murphy and State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan on Wednesday announced an administrative order that adjusts gathering limits for non-professional and non-collegiate indoor sports activities.

The adjustment clarifies that athletes, coaches, up to two parents and guardians per participating athlete under 21, and other individuals necessary for the practice or competition do not count toward the general indoor gathering limit of 25 people.

The order also allows retail businesses to permit customers to use self-service food, such as buffets and salad bars.

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“As our vaccination effort expands rapidly across the state and our entire adult population becomes eligible, it is now possible to take further incremental steps toward a return to normalcy,” Murphy said in a news release. “Clarifying gathering limits to allow more spectators at sports activities and allowing the return of self-service foods are two small steps of what we hope are many more measures we can take as millions of New Jerseyans are vaccinated.”

With regard to the clarification of indoor gathering rules for athletic events, according to the state, in no case shall the number of people present in the room, inclusive of parents and guardians, exceed 35% of the room’s capacity.

With regard to the use of buffets and salad bars, the state says retail businesses should limit self-service food and drink stations to those that can be routinely cleaned and disinfected.

The order takes effect immediately.

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