Nonessential construction has resumed and nonessential retail businesses are allowed for curbside pickup in New Jersey beginning Monday.
Drive-thru facilities are also allowed to open, which could usher in outdoor religious services for worshippers who remain in their vehicles.
"Today we are taking the next steps down New Jersey's road back and each step that eases us down this road is being taken because public health medical experts and the data tell us that it is now safe to do so," Gov Phil Murphy said last week. "We are sequencing our decisions so we can learn from them and apply these lessons as we move ahead. We want to be quick but we have got to be right."
The governor made the announcement at his daily coronavirus pandemic briefing on Wednesday. He has said that any economic recovery for the state must be based on a public health recovery. He said the order takes effect for construction and retail on Monday, May 18, at 6 a.m.
"Gatherings of vehicles, such as drive-in movies or church services, are not a violation of my order prohibiting mass gatherings, as long as all participants remain in cars," Murphy said. "If vehicles are closer than six ft apart, all windows, sunroofs, convertible tops must remain closed."
More than a month ago, Murphy signed an executive order shuttering nonessential businesses with storefronts as well as nonessential constriction.
New Jersey's Health Department reported 141,560 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 9,702 deaths through Wednesday.