Just one week away from the first scheduled Brick Summerfest 2020 celebration, officials are holding out hope that Gov. Phil Murphy will expand the limit on outdoor events.
The township is planning four Summerfest events, which consist of a concert, food trucks, a beer-and-wine garden and a fireworks display at Windward Beach Park. The series was supposed to have been held week throughout July, but the state’s 500 person limit on outdoor events prompted officials to reschedule all of the bands, food providers and fireworks technicians for the August dates. As the calendar change is quickly approaching, Murphy has not announced a change to the limit on outdoor events. Summerfest often draws 4,000 to 5,000 revelers – sometimes even more.
There are mixed signals from Trenton as to how the outdoor limit might play out. On one hand, instead of easing regulations in recent weeks, Murphy’s administration has made the wearing of face masks mandatory outdoors when social distancing is not possible. The state has also imposed quarantine regulations on people coming from 36 other states and territories as the coronavirus pandemic has flared up elsewhere. But there are signs that outdoor events could get the green light in the near future.
After Murphy reiterated an order barring public gatherings on Monday, he left room for discussion when he appeared on a sports talk radio show later in the day.
“I think the answer has to be yes,” Murphy said Friday morning on the “Moose & Maggie” show on WFAN when asked if fans will be able to attend Giants and Jets at some point during the season. “We just can’t promise that.”
Other towns in New Jersey have combated the outdoor gathering limit by effectively fencing off different areas of a single event and classifying them as multiple crowds – in essence, four groups of 500 people would allow 2,000 people at a separated-out celebration.
Mayor John Ducey is hoping an announcement comes soon.
“Hopefully it will be in August,” Ducey said. “[We’re] waiting to hear from the governor about the gathering size increasing.”