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New Jersey edged cautiously forward toward reopening its economy from the COVID-19 pandemicby allowing elective procedures to resume and athletes to hit the turf once again.
Under Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order, elective surgeries and invasive procedures, both medical and dental, will be allowed to resume Tuesday as long as safety guidelines are in place.
Medical facilities must implement disinfection and cleaning protocols and separate COVID-19 patients and non-COVID patients. Visitors will also not be allowed except for limited circumstances such as labor and delivery and pediatric patient surgery, according to the governor's order.
“Hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers are encouraged to gradually resume full scope of services when possible and safe to do so consistent with the Department’s guidance,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “This is an important step forward for individuals who are battling an illness or are dealing with chronic pain as these surgeries are vital to their health and well-being.”
Professional sports teams were also given the green light to officially return to training and competition as the state contiues to end restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
And by July 6, Murphy announced that schools will be allowed to hold outdoor graduation ceremonies as long as the events comply with social distancing protocols.
The latest coronavirus-related developments in New Jersey come just a few days after Murphy announced that he expects daycare centers and camps in New Jersey to reopen “sooner than later."
Daycare “is at or near the top of our list” since the economy cannot be reopened successfully without giving working parents “an opportunity to have their kids properly looked after," Murphy said on CNN’s “State of the Nation."
Earlier this month, Murphy outlined how New Jersey’s shore towns can open their beaches safely in time for Memorial Day weekend, keeping his promise that they would reopen in some form for the holiday weekend, which usually marks the unofficial start of the summer.
New Jersey health officials earlier posted information stating that the number of deaths associated with the coronavirus in the state now tops 11,100.The state health department cited more than 154,150 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 and a total of 11,133 deaths associated with the virus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.