This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Friday, May 22nd, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.

Read our guide to understanding New York on PAUSE, NY's stay-at-home order, as well as what the upstate reopening means; a look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is ourregularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.


Here's what you need to know:

New Jersey Will Allow Outdoor Groups Of 25 People

4:00 p.m. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced Friday that the state would allow outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people as long as social distancing is practiced.

“If you were looking forward to gathering with your neighbors for a Memorial Day cookout, you may do so,” Murphy said, during his daily press briefing.

Face coverings are recommended for outdoor gatherings, although not required.

Under the the state's stay-at-home order, the number of crowds had been capped at 10 people. The number would remain the same for indoor gatherings.

Murphy also said that the state's recreational campgrounds can reopen.

With more than 151,000 confirmed cases, New Jersey has had the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in the country after New York. On Friday, the state reported 146 additional deaths from the virus, bringing the total to 10,985.

In Response To Gatherings Outside Bars, NYC Launches "Take Out, Don't Hang Out" Campaign

2:00 p.m. Following reports of New Yorkers closely gathering together on city sidewalks with cocktails, New York City plans to install posters across city bars and restaurants reminding patrons not to linger after buying food and drinks.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the campaign on Friday, which uses the slogan "Take out, don't hang out."

"Memorial Day is a time to redouble our efforts, not lose our focus," he said, during his morning press briefing.

The long weekend that traditionally marks the beginning of summer will prove to be a big test for the city, as restless residents steadily break out of quarantine habits. In addition to cracking down on spontaneous nightlife gatherings, the mayor said the city would ramp up enforcement at beaches and city parks this weekend. City beaches will be closed to swimmers, although walking and sitting along the shore will be permitted.

The NYPD will increase its presence at city beaches by 30 percent, and 159 Department of Parks officials will also be on hand. Another 2,300 social distancing ambassadors will monitor city parks. Two weeks ago, the city began restricting the number of parkgoers entering Domino Park in Brooklyn and Sheep Meadow in Central Park.

De Blasio reminded the public that the city has fencing in place at city beaches in the event officials decide to completely close them off to New Yorkers.

"That is not our goal," the mayor said. "Our goal is to make this work."

In response to photos of New Yorkers congregating outside of bars last weekend, epidemiologist Stephen Morse told Gothamist, "I think it’s best to err on the side of caution. We can’t say with certainty about any individual, who just might be one of the unlucky ones. Some of these people may be willing to take the risk.  For my part, I’ll continue all the same precautions and, while wearing my facemask, give them a wide berth (at least 6 feet) if I see them."

De Blasio Says Construction, Manufacturing And Curbside Retail Could Reopen In Early June

1:30 p.m. New York City could allow construction, manufacturing and curbside retail to begin operating sometime during the first two weeks of June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"We expect to be able to move into phase one," de Blasio said during his morning press briefing.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has said construction and manufacturing can reopen under the first phase, but has not indicated a timeline for a full reopening. Other portions of the state have already been cleared for reopening after meeting the state's hospital and testing criteria.

On Friday, the mayor announced a change in the way the city would decide whether to reopen. Rather than seeing a sustained decline in hospital admissions and positive coronavirus testing, the administration is now looking for the benchmarks to fall under certain thresholds.

Despite being on track to open certain businesses, the city has no immediate plans to reopen beaches.

"Later in the summer, there’s a real opportunity to look at doing more with our beaches," he said.

He later added: "We can’t give you a date but it’s on the table as a possibility."

A New York Times report of a possible beach reopening in June was spurred by news that the city's Parks Department had begun lifeguard training.

But during the press conference, Mitchell Silver, the city's parks commissioner, said the training was more of a pre-emptive measure to ensure that the lifeguards would be ready should the city reopen beaches later in the summer.

"We expect it will take a few weeks," he said. "It’s not just training, we want to make sure the lifeguards are ready."

Another 13 Miles of Streets Will Be Open To Pedestrians This Weekend

1:00 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday announced that the city would reserve another 13 miles of streets for pedestrians under the city's open streets program. The streets in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens will open on Saturday, May 23rd.

This brings the total amount of open streets to 45 miles.

De Blasio, who had initially been resistant to closing streets to cars, said the the city had reached "the sweet spot where we can do the open streets, keep them safe, make sure there's enforcement where it's needed, and allow people to enjoy it, especially in strategic locations where it's gonna help avoid crowding in parks and other areas where it's important to have them."

Hours for city-run open streets are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Open streets organized by business improvement districts have more restricted hours. According to the city's Department of Transportation website, vehicle traffic during open street hours "is limited to local deliveries, pick-ups/drop-offs, necessary city service vehicles, utility vehicles and emergency vehicles only."

NYC Beaches Are Closed But Will Surfing Still Be Allowed?

Heading into Memorial Day weekend, New York City's beaches will officially be closed but city officials have signaled some confusing exceptions to the rule.

The New York Post has reported an NYPD official as saying that while swimmers would be barred from entering the ocean, surfers would be allowed in.

“The beaches are open, but the water is not for swimming,” said Brian Conroy, assistant chief of the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, in a press briefing at the Abe Stark Sports Center in Coney Island.

“You can go in ankle deep, wade in the water,” Conroy continued. “Surfers will be allowed into the water.”

The comments drew criticism from elected officials, including Brooklyn City Councilman Justin Brannan, who called the policy "more mixed messaging."

The NYPD did not immediately respond to an inquiry about Conroy's statements.

Throughout the pandemic, surfers have continued to ride the waves at Rockaway Beach in Queens. Located at 90th Street, the designated surf beach that is open year round. There are no lifeguards and the rule is "surf at your own risk."

In California, the issue has led to a standoff between surfers and local officials, who have threatened surfers with $1,000 fines. Orange County last month closed Lower Trestles, one of its most popular surf spots. The measures have drawn the ire of devout surfers, who have argued the physical and mental benefits of the sport and say that social distancing can be practiced in the ocean.

As Long Island and New Jersey prepare to open their shorelines Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio has faced scrutiny over his decision to keep city beaches closed, although the Daily News editorial board recently agreed with the decision.

"New Yorkers can’t be piling onto trains, buses and ferries to get to Coney or Brighton or the Rockaways, not when public transit is still reserved for essential workers and only the most important travel. And with no controlled entry to any city beaches, distancing there is a bear to enforce," the editorial read.