"We stayed true to the guiding principles" that would lead the state to reopening, Murphy said.
"Don't be a knucklehead", he said.
Gov. Murphy says he hopes to raise the limits on indoor gatherings to allow for larger religious services as early as June 12th.
The governor said he planned to announce more reopenings at his briefing Monday, including updates on nonessential businesses and outdoor dining.More news: Ontario extends emergency orders for COVID-19 pandemic until June 9
The move comes as New Jersey - home to the second-most COVID-19 deaths and cases - sees it outbreak continue to slow and as the state's economy suffers widespread unemployment and business losses.
"This virus is among us, and saving lives is still priority number one", he added. Additionally, Governor Murphy noted the resilience of the state's health care systems (availability of ICU beds, ventilators, and more).
Essential stores - like supermarkets and home fix - have never closed.
The governor announced a multi-stage reopening plan two weeks ago, and New Jersey has lifted restrictions on all categories in the first phase.More news: Feds offer early $2.2b payment to cities amid 'cash crunch'
As of Monday morning, New Jersey has 160,445 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the death toll rising to 11,698 in the Garden State.
Murphy has already allowed parks, beaches, boardwalks, and lakes to reopen.
Barbershops and hair salons should be able to re-open on June 22.
Guidance on the reopening of personal care businesses will follow.More news: George Floyd's brother travels to scene where he died in police custody
Though hospitalizations have spiked in some recent days, Murphy said he remains confident in a general downward trend.