New Jersey will start reopening on Monday

May 13, 2020

Photo of Jersey City by Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay

In his press conference on Wednesday, Governor Phil Murphy announced that as of 6:00 am on Monday, May 18, New Jersey would begin its reopening process by allowing the restart of non-essential construction, non-essential retail stores to reopen for curbside pickup only, and drive-through and drive-in events to operate under social distancing guidelines. This is quite similar to what is allowed under New York’s first phase of reopening, however, NJ’s northern neighbor New York City is still not at that point. “The data we are seeing gives us confidence that we can begin the careful and responsible restart of our economy to get people back to work and to begin to set the stage for the steps to come,” Murphy said.

The governor first hinted at a reopening during his press conference yesterday, where he said the state would be getting its testing capacity to 20,000 a day by the end of May and hiring at least 1,000 contact tracers, as reported.

Unlike, New York, New Jersey’s reopening will happen statewide, not regionally. To that point, Murphy said, “We’re not New York. We’re all packed in together. It’s the densest state in the nation.”

At construction sites, work can resume if safety protocols are clearly posted, non-essential visitors are prohibited, worker hours and breaks are staggered, and proper sanitation is being observed. And at retail stores, no customers will be allowed inside, but curbside pickup is permitted.

The “gathering of vehicles” will be permitted starting Monday, for events like drive-in movies or church services. Participants must remain in their cars and, according to the governor, if cars are not six feet apart, windows and sunroofs must remain closed.

The question of whether or not beaches will reopen in time for Memorial Day Weekend has also been a hot-button issue. The governor has said it’s up to local towns as to what their reopening plan should be, but many municipalities feel they’re not receiving enough state guidance. They’re also concerned that a lack of uniformity will send people to certain towns disproportionately.

Murphy said the number of COVID-19 data points were trending in the right direction over the last few weeks. According to the governor, from its peak on April 28, total hospitalizations, the number of patients in ICU, and deaths have all decreased over the last two weeks. As of Tuesday night, New Jersey’s hospitals reported 4,226 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of the virus, 1,226 patients in the ICU, and 9,702 total deaths.

“The data we are seeing gives us confidence that we can begin the restart of our economy- to get people back to work, and set the stage for the steps to come,” Murphy tweeted on Wednesday.


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