JERSEY CITY - Gov. Phil Murphy announced new restrictions early this week as COVID-19 cases have spiked across the state, recording 5,000 new cases over the weekend, and hitting the daily 3,000 case level for the first time since April.
“The numbers are proving that the second wave is here, this is our reality,” Murphy said in his press briefing. “We must redouble our efforts and recommit to the practices that have gotten us this far – social distancing, washing our hands, and wearing our masks.”
Effective November 12th, all restaurants, bars, clubs and lounges must close indoor dining by 10:00 p.m. Restaurants, casinos bars will be prohibited from serving food and alcohol between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and restrictions will also be placed on seating.
The new announcement also allows restaurants to place tables closer than six feet as long as there is a barrier. Restaurants will be allowed to create fully enclosed dining bubbles for outdoor dining but are limited to one group per bubble, and must be disinfected between groups. Murphy also said that all barside eating will be prohibited at all hours.
All youth indoor interstate sports games and tournaments up until the high school level are prohibited.
“We have to change our mindset, we remain in the midst of a global pandemic. Our country is now recording more than 100,000 cases per day and New Jersey is back at levels we thought we left behind months ago,” Murphy explained. “We have to snap back into reality, this virus has not gone away and is posing its greatest threat to us in months.”
A total of 2,075 new cases were reported on Monday, putting the state total at 256,653 since the start of the pandemic in March. The following day, the state announced that 3,877 new cases were reported, the highest daily case total since April.
The positivity rate in the state this week is 7.54 percent, among the highest numbers in months.
“This virus has not gone away as we predicted it would,” Murphy emphasized. “We’re still in the fight, and we’ve got to fight back against COVID fatigue. We’ve got to do everything in our power to fight back against that.”
In Jersey City, Mayor Steven M. Fulop has joined the Health and Human Services Department and Office of Innovation to unveil a multifaceted public campaign called #MaskUpJC to expand upon the city’s ongoing efforts of providing critical tools and resources to help Jersey City residents stay safe, especially as infection rates rise nationwide.
The #MaskUpJC initiative centers on a citywide mask distribution, wherein five city-branded, 3-ply masks are being sent via mail carrier to all 120,000 households throughout Jersey City.
“Absent a vaccine, wearing a mask is one of the few proven effective ways we can dramatically decrease transmission, and we want to further our efforts to support residents and encourage everyone to remain diligent as we get through this together,” said Mayor Fulop. “My top priority is to protect our residents’ health and safety, and the goal is to avoid another surge which would also inflict further damage on people’s mental health, our struggling businesses, and the local economy.”
Under the #MaskUpJC campaign, the city is distributing 2,000 stickers to businesses that read, “MASK UP to Enter”. Business owners can put the stickers on their storefront windows to encourage customer compliance. All city employees will also receive cloth masks in addition to the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that has been distributed throughout the pandemic.
Along with the masks, the #MaskUpJC packages contain a letter from the Mayor and a “Mask Up JC” poster. In the Mayor’s open letter, residents are also encouraged to sign up for the city’s emergency alert system to receive important updates, as was used throughout the pandemic to keep residents informed.
“We knew very little about this virus when it first hit, but today we have a much better understanding of what needs to be done and how we can continue our work with the community to help slow the spread. Our Mask Up campaign encourages compliance so that everyone can do their part to stay safe,” concluded Mayor Fulop.
Since March, the city has distributed over 200,000 masks and PPE to senior buildings, nonprofit organizations, local businesses, and residents.