Monday, June 15th, is the day non-essential retail stores are allowed to start welcoming customers for in-person shopping for the first time since March 21st.

Retailers must follow all the same rules people have come to expect at grocery stores and essential retailers: face coverings are required; social distancing a must; capacity limited 50% occupancy; plastic guards at checkout; strict sanitation requirements must be followed.

Monday also is the day that bars and restaurants can begin serving diners in outdoor seating areas, only.

The interior spaces of malls and indoor shopping centers remain closed. Personal care services such as beauty shops, nail salons, day spas and barbershops return June 22.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday said retailers can return to business because "our heath metrics tell us that we can."

New Jersey, which has been leading the nation in infections and deaths from the coronavirus, now has one of the lowest transmission rates.

Murphy on Friday blasted southern and western states that "rushed to reopen without taking time to put protocols in place or waiting for the wave to subside."

"The foolhardiness of their actions is now being seen," he said.

Murphy has been criticized by Republican lawmakers and some business leaders for not reopening businesses sooner.

Hospitalizations have dropped dramatically since the peak of the pandemic in mid April, when more than 8,000 COVID-19 patients were being treated in New Jersey hospitals. On Friday, that figure was down to 1,480 in acute-care hospitals and just six in the field hospitals set up by the Army Corps of Engineers. On Thursday, hospitals admitted 117 new patients and discharged 133.

New Jersey, however, still ranks fourth in the nation for hospitalizations and third in daily deaths, which have totaled more than 12,500. The state is 26th for new cases.

Stores that are reopening

Reopening 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 16, except for shops inside malls.

All eight departments stores across NJ open 11 a.m. Monday, June 15

All 10 stores in NJ open 10 a.m. Monday, June 15

Reopening 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 16, except for shops inside malls.

Out of 30 stores across NJ, some are reopening at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 17, including Cherry Hill, Holmdel, Lawrenceville, Marlton, Old Bridge and Toms River.

All 8 stores in NJ reopen 10 a.m., starting June 15

Reopening 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 16, except for shops inside malls.

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