Relieved Their Concerns Were Addressed in Executive Order Announced Monday
A little more than a week after Senator Kristin Corrado and Senator Anthony M. Bucco called on the Governor to allow in-person alcohol and narcotics support group meetings to continue, Murphy issued an executive order exempting these meetings from the new 10-person indoor limit.
Senator Corrado and Senator Bucco commended Governor Murphy for responding to their request and exempting in-person 12-step-style support meetings from the 10-person cap. (SenateNJ.com)
“This sensible decision will help save lives, especially now, with increased stress levels during the pandemic and holiday season,” said Corrado (R-40). “We expressed our concerns to the Governor about the risks of preventing individuals from getting access to the help they desperately need, and I am glad we were able to persuade him to make this change.”
Executive Order No. 204 specifies that indoor meetings of addiction groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, are not limited to 10 people. Support meetings are now restricted at 25 percent of the capacity of the room in which it takes place, and limits shall never be larger than 150 persons or smaller than 10 persons.
“We asked the Governor to reconsider the limits for the sake of the recovering community and the many families impacted by alcohol and narcotics,” said Bucco (R-25). “We anticipated the new restrictions coming and we fought to ensure the guidelines would preserve these crucial meetings. We are glad that the Governor addressed our concerns, and that is good news to many New Jersey residents.”
Bucco, in a letter to the Governor in October, requested the loosening of the 25-person cap on alcohol and narcotics support group meetings.
On the heels of the return of in-person recovery meetings, Bucco noted that organizations were expecting a significant increase in attendance.
“In discussions with a substance abuse counselor in Morris County who is involved with the reopening of meetings in our area, he related the frustrations of many hundreds of local men and women desperately seeking the help provided by in-person meetings and his fear of having them turned away at the door because of the 25-person ceiling,” the Senator wrote.
“The support available at these groups have been life saving for many individuals, and the valuable connections and productive breakthroughs that occur in person cannot be duplicated on a Zoom session. I ask you to please consider lifting the capacity limits for 12-step meetings,” Bucco’s letter continued.
After Murphy issued an executive order lowering indoor gatherings to 10 people on Nov. 16, Corrado and Bucco urged the Governor to protect the 12-step-style meetings.
“There are thousands of New Jersey residents in recovery who struggle with addiction every day,” said Corrado in a press release. “Many of these individuals rely on a 12-step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, or similar organizations. It is critical that these life-saving support groups be allowed to continue to hold in-person meetings to ensure that these individuals have access to the help and counseling they depend upon.”
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