Day: May 24, 2021

Governor Murphy Lifts Major COVID-19 Restrictions, Moves Forward with Most Significant Reopening Steps to Date

With Key COVID-19 Benchmarks Achieved, Governor Murphy Lifts Indoor Mask Mandate, Removes Social Distancing Requirements and Gathering Limits Among Others

Changes Effective in Two Phases – On Friday, May 28 and Friday, June 4

May 24, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 242, lifting major COVID-19 restrictions and moving forward with the state’s most significant reopening steps to date. Effective on Friday, May 28, the indoor mask mandate in public spaces will be lifted, as well as the six-foot social distancing requirement in both indoor and outdoor spaces, the prohibition on dance floors at bars and restaurants, and the prohibition on ordering and eating/drinking while standing at bars and restaurants. Additionally, effective Friday, June 4, indoor gathering and capacity limits will be lifted. 

Over the last two weeks, key COVID-19 benchmarks have been achieved across New Jersey, including a dramatic increase in vaccinations, and significant decreases in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, spot positivity rates, and rates of transmission, solidifying the foundation for the state’s sweeping reopening steps. Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, individuals who are not fully vaccinated — defined as two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-dose vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccination (Johnson & Johnson) – are strongly encouraged to continue masking and social distancing.  

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, my administration has been guided by science, data, and facts to put New Jersey on the road to recovery with the public health and safety of all New Jerseyans as our highest priority,” said Governor Murphy. “Together, we have made tremendous progress in crushing this virus, and the last two weeks have shown significant decreases in key areas of our data, including new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, spot positivity rates, and rates of transmission. These data points, coupled with a dramatic increase in our vaccination efforts resulting in over 4.7 million New Jerseyans with their first shot, allow us to lift major restrictions and move forward with our most significant reopening steps to date.” 

The following changes will go into effect on Friday, May 28:

  • Lifting the mask mandate in indoor public spaces
    • Businesses and entities overseeing indoor spaces will continue to have the ability to require masking for employees, customers, and/or guests. 
    • Per CDC guidance, masks will continue to be required in health care settings, including long-term care facilities and office-based settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation, as well as transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
    • Additionally, also per CDC guidance, child care centers and facilities, youth summer camps, and public, private, and parochial preschool program premises and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, are not affected by this announcement and continue to be governed by existing requirements. 
    • Indoor worksites that are not open to the public remain governed by existing health and safety protocols that employers must follow.
    • Masks will continue to be required in public-facing state offices, such as Motor Vehicle Commission agencies.
  • Lifting the six-foot social distancing requirement
    • The requirement will be lifted in businesses, including retail stores, personal care services, gyms, recreational and entertainment businesses, and casinos, and indoor gatherings, including religious services, political activities, weddings, funerals, memorial services, commercial gatherings, catered events, sports competitions, and performances.
    • Businesses and entities overseeing indoor spaces can continue to require social distancing should they choose.
  • Lifting prohibition on dance floors at bars and restaurants. The prohibition on ordering and eating/drinking while standing at bars and restaurants will also be lifted.

The following changes will go into effect Friday, June 4:

  • Removing the general indoor gathering limit, which is currently at 50 people.
  • Removing the indoor gathering limit for political gatherings, weddings, funerals, memorial services, performances, and other catered and commercial events, which is currently at 250 people.
  • Removing 30 percent capacity limitation for indoor large venues with a fixed-seating capacity over 1,000. 

For the full text of Executive Order No. 242, click here.

Update: 29 Year Old Trenton Resident Dead In West Windsor Crash

May 24, 2021

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Last night at 8:37 p.m. (May 23, 2021), a Grey colored Nissan Maxima operated by a 29-year-old resident of Trenton, NJ was traveling north on Clarksville Road approaching the curve at the Meadow Road intersection. The Nissan crossed over the double yellow line and side swiped a red Ford Escape that was traveling south on Clarksville Road.

The driver of the Ford, of Holland, PA pulled over after her vehicle was struck. After striking the Ford, the Nissan continued north on Clarksville Road with both the front and rear driver side tires over the double yellow line in the southbound lane of travel.

At the intersection with Meadow Road, the Nissan collided head on with a white Chevrolet that was traveling south. 

Upon the arrival of patrol officers, the driver of the Nissan was unconscious and had no pulse. Lifesaving efforts were performed, and Driver #1 was transported to UPPMC.  However, he was pronounced dead at 9:23 pm.   All four occupants of the Chevrolet were also transported UPPMC with numerous non-life-threatening moderate/serious injuries.  The driver of the Ford sustained no injuries.  

Investigation on scene indicated that the Nissan was traveling at a high rate of speed and was unable to negotiate the curve on Clarksville Road which caused the Nissan to strike both vehicles. 

The roadway was closed for just over three hours. The ongoing investigation is being led by Traffic Officer Brown under the direction of Traffic Sgt. Bal.  If you have any pertinent information into the incident, please contact Traffic Officer Brown or Traffic Sgt. Bal at our main line (609) 799-1222, our Anonymous Tip Line (609) 799-0452, email at or  

No Identities are being released at this time of any of the involved parties as this Investigation is ongoing and in respect to the deceased’s family.  

Responding to the scene were: West Windsor Police Department, West Windsor Division of Fire and Emergency Services, Princeton Junction Fire Company Station 44, West Windsor Volunteer Fire Company Station 43, Princeton First Aid Squad, Mercer County Prosecutors Office Serious Collision Response Team.

See last night’s story here: Road Reopened After Serious Accident Investigation In West Windsor

Trenton Man Dies In Motorcycle Crash, Passenger Seriously Injured

May 24, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On May 24, 2021, at approximately 2:53 a.m., a single motor vehicle crash occurred on South Broad Street near the intersection of Lalor Street. The driver Christopher Garcia of Trenton, NJ was operating a 2014 Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle east on Lalor Street Mr. Garcia failed to negotiate the turn from Lalor Street onto South Broad Street and struck the concrete center median. Mr Garcia and his passenger Joel Yanes of Medford, NJ were ejected from the motorcycle into the north east side of South Broad Street  Mr. Garcia was unresponsive at the scene of the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene by Paramedics from Capital Health System at Fuld.  Passenger Yanes was alert at the scene, and transported by ambulance to Capital Health System at Fuld with serious injuries.    

The crash is being investigated by Officer K. McDonald and Officer J. Anaya.  Any witnesses are asked to contact the Hamilton Police Traffic Unit at (609)581-4000.

Information may also be left anonymously on the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at 609-581-4008.

Woman With 4 Outstanding Warrants Arrested After Stabbing Boyfriend

May 24, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A verbal dispute between a boyfriend and girlfriend turned violent last night, when the female stabbed the male in the 200 Block of Coolidge Avenue.

The victim is a 28 year old black male and the suspect is a 36 year old black female. The woman was placed under arrest for aggravated assault with weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. She also had four outstanding warrants for her arrest, Trenton Police Detective Sergeant Cynthia Hargis told

No further information is available at this time.

Bridgeton Man Arrested In Mass Shooting, Victims Identified

May 24, 2021

FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, NJ (CUMBERLAND)–The New Jersey State Police have arrested Kevin Dawkins, 36, of Bridgeton, N.J. in connection to the mass shooting in Fairfield Township, Cumberland County on May 23. He was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a large-capacity magazine, certain persons not to have weapons, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He is currently lodged at the Cumberland County jail pending a bail detention hearing.

Asia Hester, 25, and Kevin L. Elliott, 30, both of Bridgeton, have been identified as the two victims that were killed in the shooting.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Jersey State Police Bridgeton Station at 856-451-0101 or submit a tip via the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office tipline at Anonymous tips are welcome.


Governor Phil Murphy said at a press conference today on the mass shooting, “Our hearts are shattered by the mass shooting that occurred in Fairfield Township on Saturday night. We will not normalize this senseless gun violence. We will continue to lead the nation in gun safety and be a model for others.