Starting Tuesday, New Jersey’s largest city will implement new coronavirus restrictions after reporting an uptick in coronavirus cases. Non-essential businesses and indoor dining will now have to close at 8 p.m. and beauty salons and barbershops will be appointment-only, Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced on Monday. The new measures come as Newark reported a test positivity rate of 11.2 percent over three days, compared to New Jersey’s statewide rate of 5.28 percent.
“This is not the first time COVID-19 has threatened our city and its residents at this magnitude and once again, we will meet this challenge with determination and guided by data,” Baraka said in a statement. “We are Newark strong and can get through this together. We did it once before and we can do it again.”
According to Baraka, all stores except grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations will close at 8 p.m. Indoor service at restaurants and bars must end at 8 p.m. and outdoor dining must end at 11 p.m. All patrons will have their temperature taken. The press release says “barbershops, beauty parlors, nail salons, and related establishments must have appointments only and no waiting inside.”
Newark is also requiring all gyms to clean and sanitize for the first 30 minutes of each hour, with everyone wearing masks. Recreation centers will be closed and all sports activities and open park practices and games in the East Ward are canceled.
The new restrictions will be in place until at least Tuesday, November 10, when the city will reassess and determine the next steps.
Newark added 101 new cases of the virus on Sunday, which is more than all other municipalities in Essex County combined, according to the city. The highest rate of positivity continues to be in the city’s East Ward neighborhood (ZIP code 07105), which saw a positivity rate of 25.3 percent.
There has been a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey in recent weeks. On Saturday, Gov. Phil Murphy reported nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 cases statewide, the most the state has reported since May.
New Jersey, along with Connecticut and Pennsylvania, currently all meet New York’s travel advisory criteria. People traveling to NY from places with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average must quarantine for 14 days.
But due to the interconnected nature of the tri-state region, Cuomo said a quarantine of the neighboring states is not “practically viable.” However, the governor is discouraging non-essential travel between the states.
“There is no practical way to quarantine New York from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut,” Cuomo said last week. “There are just too many interchanges, interconnections, and people who live in one place and work in the other. It would have a disastrous effect on the economy, and remember while we’re fighting this public health pandemic we’re also fighting to open up the economy. However, to the extent travel between the states is not essential, it should be avoided.”
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