NJ Sets Voluntary Statewide Curfew, and Casinos, Bars, Gyms Closing Until Further Notice

Posted March 16, 2020 by NorthJersey.com

New Jerseyans should not leave their homes from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., as Gov. Phil Murphy announced an extraordinary action of recommending a statewide curfew for his 9 million residents to attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

All casinos, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms must shut down at 8 p.m. and will remain closed until further notice in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, the three governors announced Monday.

“Everyone needs to stay in and be safe,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a phone call with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to announce the new restrictions.

Murphy is also expected to detail plans to close schools statewide Monday afternoon.

In New Jersey, more than 100 people have tested positive for COVID-19 after Bergen County announced 13 additional cases Monday. At least two people have died as of Sunday.

“I saw too many videos last night of packed bars, people passing bottles drinking from the same bottle, literally globbed on top of each other,” Murphy said Sunday, after saying he was considering the curfew. “In short of shutting the entire state down, clipping establishments by a number of hours each night in particular we believe will have a meaningful, positive outcome in terms of social distancing.”

This wide-reaching measure comes in the wake of a new recommendation Sunday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying gatherings of 50 people or more should not take place for the next eight weeks, though the guidelines did not apply to businesses or schools.

The governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, all Democrats, announced they would follow the CDC’s guidelines and were critical of the Trump administration’s response, saying it has fallen behind in its response to the fast-spreading virus. That means the three states’ casinos, gyms, movie theaters, bars and restaurants would close at 8 p.m. Restaurants can only offer takeout services.

The states are also banning gatherings of more than 50 people.

“Having regional coordination at a minimum is imperative,” Cuomo said. “If you can’t do a party in New York City, you can’t do a party in New Jersey, you can’t do a party in Connecticut over 50.”

Municipalities began taking steps of their own to try last week to slow down the spread.

Teaneck’s mayor asked all residents to self-quarantine. Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop announced non-emergency medical offices in the city would close. Morristown ordered restaurants to only offer takeout and delivery, and banned establishments from serving alcohol. Ridgewood closed all village offices, playgrounds and recreational sites, and Montclair banned gatherings of 250 or more. Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla called for a 10 p.m. curfew.

New York City shut down all public schools, and limited restaurants and bars to only offer takeout and delivery starting on Tuesday.

Murphy is expected to announce all public schools to close at 2 p.m. Monday and transition to online learning classes. More than 600 school districts out of the 672 districts and charter schools already closed as of Sunday, according to the state Department of Education.

Murphy declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency on March 9 to give state officials more resources and authority to respond to the pandemic.

All states but two — Oklahoma and Maine — declared a state of emergency or a public health emergency to combat the coronavirus, according to the National Governor’s Association. Other states list the power to issue curfews, but have not yet done so, including governors in Massachusetts and Washington.

This article was originally published on politico.com at https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2020/03/16/nj-curfew-coronavirus-prompts-statewide-curfew-gov-murphy/5057576002/



NJ Sets Voluntary Statewide Curfew, and Casinos, Bars, Gyms Closing Until Further Notice