TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey will allow visitations at prisons beginning this Saturday, albeit with heavy COVID-19 restrictions still in place.
Visitations have been suspended at state facilities since the start of the pandemic.
All visits will need to be made via a reservation by phone on a first-come-first-serve basis. They will take place in outdoor areas, weather permitting, to allow for social distancing. To maximize the number of incarcerated people who can receive visits and to accommodate social distancing, the total number of visitors permitted for each incarcerated person will be limited to two adults and two children per visit.
“We recognize that families provide critical support to the incarcerated,” said NJDOC Commissioner Marcus Hicks in a statement. “Data from our universal testing initiative coupled with the vaccine program has made it possible to resume this important activity, with COVID-19 provisions in place. We will continue to track the data and make operational changes as needed with the safety of those entrusted to our custody, staff, and visitors in mind.”
Each visitor will be temperature scanned at the facility, answer a questionnaire regarding possible exposure to COVID-19, and sign an agreement acknowledging the revised visitation guidelines which include mask-wearing, hand sanitizing and prohibited physical contact .
The state department of corrections claims that COVID-19 positive cases have held steady at less than 1% among inmates and staff. They continue to test each at regular intervals and have administered over 11,500 vaccine doses to both staff and the incarcerated.