Included in the governor’s final executive order released late Saturday afternoon, charter fishing services and for-hire vessels will be allowed to reopen to the public so long as they adopt policies that include:

• Reduced capacity to no more than 10 people on a vessel at any one time;

• Electronic or telephone reservation and payment systems;

• No make-up or open boat trips;

• Social distancing measures on the vessels and in waiting and boarding areas, including demarcation and signage;

• Prohibiting sharing of fishing equipment, bait, and gear;

• Limiting the use of nets or gaffs to the crew;

• Infection control and hygiene practices;

• Providing sanitization materials to passengers and crew;

• Frequent sanitization of vessel and high-touch areas;

• The crew and passengers must wear a mask while aboard the vessel;

• Prohibiting food and beverage service; and

• Briefing all passengers prior to embarking on social distancing, capacity limits, and hygiene requirements


On Sunday morning, Capt. Bob Rush of the 70-foot Starfish and 55-foot Susan Hudson out of Sea Isle, on behalf of the United Boatmen, said there was a 1 p.m. press briefing planned for Sunday by state legislators hoping to address the situation

New Jersey’s fishing charters and other watercraft rentals resumed on Sunday, with social distancing measures in place, as conditions related to the state’s coronavirus pandemic continued to improve.

The state reported another 1,272 Covid-19 cases on Sunday, for a total of 146,334. Deaths rose by 107 to 10,356. On both measures, New Jersey is second only to New York, among U.S. states.

Hospitalized coronavirus patients by Saturday night were 3,411, down 58% from the peak reported on April 14 and the lowest since the state started publicly reporting the figures in early April.

Some 819 patients were intubated and 1,030 in intensive care, both the lowest in six weeks.

Governor Phil Murphy announced the relaxation of restrictions on watercraft on Saturday. It followed a vow on Thursday that New Jersey’s beaches will be open for next week’s Memorial Day holiday, the unofficial start to summer in the U.S.

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Murphy has vowed “deliberate incremental steps” to bring the state’s economy back from a shelter-in-place order designed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“The data says that it is possible” even as the blanket stay-at-home order imposed on March 21 mostly stays in place, he said on Saturday.

Murphy said Saturday he’d outline within days the medical and other markers he’ll be assessing toward lifting the stay-at-home order. A patchwork of activities are now permitted in the Garden State: golf, for example, but not tennis.

“While we know we are not entirely out of the woods yet, New Jersey is beginning to fall a little bit more in line with some of the big states and neighbors we compare ourselves too,” he said.

Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. exceed 89,000 and cases are over 1.47 million.