Home COVID-19 Hoboken Ordered to Self-Isolate, Updates About Coronavirus Cases + More Statewide Shutdowns

Hoboken Ordered to Self-Isolate, Updates About Coronavirus Cases + More Statewide Shutdowns

by Jennifer Tripucka
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Update as of 3/17 at 7:30PM

Essential businesses are permitted to stay open until 8:00PM, according to the Office of Emergency Management. Such businesses include: 

“Emergency medical care; restaurants and food establishments {takeout or delivery only}; supermarkets, grocery stores; bodegas; banks; pharmacies; coffee shops; veterinarian; pet stores; laundromat; dry cleaners; liquor stores,; chiropractor; physical therapists, dentists, and other medical care facilities; UPS/Fed Ex stores; post office; moving companies.”

Update as of 3/17 at 4:30PM

Mayor Bhalla has just instated a self-isolation policy in Hoboken, requiring residents to shelter-in-place.

Video via Hudson County View:

According to our friends at HMag:

“Travel for employment, shopping for food/supplies is still permitted. Recreational travel is prohibited. Groups of 5 or more are prohibited.

Exercise—such as walking, jogging, bike riding, dog walking—is all still permitted, provided a safe distance (6 feet) is maintained.

Grocery stores, restaurants (takeout only) to remain open; all “non-essential” businesses are ordered to close.

These steps are being taken due to an uptick in police activity and growing concerns over the spread of Coronavirus.”

Here’s the official press release:

Below is an open letter from Mayor Bhalla to Hoboken residents, read at a press conference this afternoon:

Over the past several days, the rest of the country has followed Hoboken’s lead in regulations and policies that promote social distancing, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Hoboken currently has five positive COVID-19 cases, but due to the lack of testing, this number will increase substantially. Hoboken was the first City to introduce regulations on bars and restaurants over the weekend, but is most likely not enough. As the fourth most densely populated city in the entire country, a spread in our City’s close quarters could be deadly and literally result in the loss of life of our most vulnerable populations.

Now, why are we here today? The idea that there are “alternative facts” and that science is “fake news” is why we find ourselves, as a nation, in this trouble. Let me be clear: facts are facts and science is science, and it’s about time we listen to the science. So let’s do that, let’s talk about the science. This morning the Harvard Global Health Institute called for a nationwide shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19. The medical professionals all agree this is going to get worse before it gets better.

Yet, just last Saturday in Hoboken, bars were packed to the brim, people were out eating in close proximity at restaurants, and large clusters of people were in public parks as recent as yesterday. It’s time to dig deep, and ask ourselves the question – have we done everything within our power to limit this spread, through our own actions, if our region suffers the way Italy has suffered? And the answer, so far, is no.

That’s why, in Hoboken today, we’re issuing a new policy of self-isolation within our mile square. I’ve previously advised residents that if you’re sick, to stay home, call your doctor, and self-isolate. That is simply not enough. Whether you feel sick or not, all residents should immediately begin self-isolating at home. The policy, similar to the one enacted in San Francisco, requires people to stay home except for essential needs, the purchasing of food, care for a family member or friend, to get health care, or employment where remote work is not possible. It’s a fundamental change in the way we operate on a day-to-day basis.

I just got off the phone with Dr. Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. He’s among the world’s leading experts, and it is the position of the Global Health Institute, that in order to effectively combat the spread of the coronavirus, we must change the way we think about this virus, and the way we live our daily lives. This will hopefully spur other municipalities and states to take similar actions, with more residents adopting self-isolation, which will save lives.

We have a responsibility to the most vulnerable among us, including our seniors, children, and those with a compromised immune system. We have a responsibility to the first responders and medical professionals. We have a responsibility to one another. We must take this seriously. We must do everything we can and we must do it now before we become like Italy or Spain where health care systems are collapsing and doctors have to make decisions about who will receive lifesaving treatment and who will not. Listen to me, Hoboken will get through this. We will all get through this, but we have to do the right thing and we have to do it now.

I know this is not easy. But, I shudder at the thought of looking back on what we could have done now, knowing that our region could become the next Italy, before it’s literally too late. We can’t afford to make this mistake. It would be the mistake of our generation to underestimate this pandemic, and what we do now in the next several weeks could have lasting consequences for generations to come.

Let me be clear – activities such as running, jogging, bike-riding, walking, and other similar types of exercise are permitted under the new self-isolation policy, but only if social distancing of at least six feet is observed. Restaurants, bars and establishments will be permitted to continue operating takeout and delivery service, only. All travel on public transportation or by vehicle is restricted for employment purposes only.

Restaurants are permitted through delivery and take-out service only, while grocery stores, supermarkets, bodegas, banks, restaurants with food, pharmacies, and coffee shops will remain open until 8:00 pm.

I’m also announcing with our Office of Emergency Management the closure of all non-essential businesses in Hoboken that includes retail stores, all nail salons, hair salons, massage parlors, and non-essential medical offices. I’m also limiting any gatherings of people to 5 people or less in public places, and encouraging all places of worship to suspend in-person services. This will take effect as of tomorrow at 9:00 am.

Again, these proactive measures are designed to keep Hoboken safe, and will at the end of the day, save lives.

Thank you again,

Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla

Normally we wouldn’t just copy a press release into a post, but all the info here is needed by the public, so here it is from Mayor Bhalla,

directly from his email to the press and via Nixle alert from March 16th:

I want to first reiterate my thanks to Hoboken residents for your understanding during these past few weeks. As a City, we are taking every precaution to keep Hoboken residents safe and healthy to the greatest extent possible. While our day to day lives have changed for the near future, the fighting spirit of our community, and the kindness and empathy I’ve seen demonstrated on a daily basis is what makes our community special. Together, we’ll get through these challenging times.

Fifth positive case of COVID-19 in Hoboken

We unfortunately have another positive confirmed case of COVID-19, a male in his late 20s. The individual has self-isolated at home, but is expected to make a full recovery. As in previous cases, the Hoboken Health Department is conducting an ongoing investigation to help develop a timeline and is contacting individuals that may have come into contact with him, who will be asked to self-quarantine. We keep him, and the other four individuals confirmed to have COVID-19, in our thoughts and wish them a speedy recovery.

Advocating for federal assistance for our small businesses and employees

Undoubtedly, our businesses and employees are going through major hardship, and that is not lost upon me. They make up the backbone of our City, and they need our help. On the local level, a simple way you can help – buy a gift card online. This is something tangible that you can do now while advancing our policy of social distancing, and use after this crisis. On a federal level, I today strongly urged bi-partisan federal action through an additional relief bill to help our small businesses and employees, in a letter to Senator Booker, Senator Menendez, and Congressman Sires. All three are strong advocates for New Jersey, and I know they’ll do everything possible to provide relief through a third legislative package.

Updates to Hoboken rules and regulations from this weekend due to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with Governor Murphy’s directive today:

To provide you with some of the most up to date information, earlier today, Governor Phil Murphy issued a directive that included several new regulations, and some that mirrored our policies and procedures Hoboken has previously adopted. Here is what you need to know:

All non-essential businesses are now ordered to be closed at 8:00 pm: Governor Murphy’s directive, issued only hours ago, calls for every type of non-essential business to close at 8:00 pm. The only types of businesses permitted to stay open after 8:00 pm are essential businesses, including groceries, pharmacies, medical facilities, banks, bodegas, and supermarkets. This is a new regulation, and according to the Governor’s office, it goes into effect tonight.

All bars and restaurants are now take-out and delivery only: Governor Murphy is now implementing this policy state-wide, that we issued on Saturday. As previously announced, all bars and restaurants are now not permitted to serve food within a restaurant and must provide take-out or delivery service, only. One important clarification issued by the Governor is that restaurants are permitted to now sell take-out alcohol with food, if they choose to do so. If alcohol is sold, it must be sealed in its original packaging.

All gyms, health clubs, day cares, movie theatres, playgrounds, recreation centers and ballfields closed: These regulations previously issued by Hoboken last week remain in effect.

City Hall has phone call or email only:

This regulation we issued on Friday remains in effect.

10 pm curfew still in effect: The curfew we instituted over the weekend, which begins tonight (Monday) remains in effect. Governor Murphy’s communication to my office this afternoon indicated that the state is suggesting an 8:00 pm – 5:00 am travel restriction beginning tonight.

The actual curfew will begin at 10:00 pm through 5 am in Hoboken, with the exception of work or emergencies. This is not to punish anyone who for example may be walking their dog, but simply to discourage large gatherings in the evening hours. We ask residents to abide by this regulation to the greatest extent possible.

Understandably, there have been a number of questions and concerns from residents regarding various City directives, and several other topics related to COVID-19. I’ve received a number of them myself, and I’m trying to personally respond to all of them to the best that I can.

I encourage residents to utilize the two COVID-19 hotlines that are being answered by our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), from 9 am to 8 pm on a daily basis.

The hotline for general COVID-19 issues pertaining to Hoboken: 201-420-5620

The hotline for seniors needing assistance: 201-420-5626

While there will certainly be more communications in the days and weeks ahead, I want to once again thank all residents for doing everything they can to practice social distancing. I’m extremely thankful for all of our first responders, medical professionals, Health Department, our business owners, City Council President Giattino for serving as a liaison to the Council, CERT volunteers and schools, all cleaning staff in every part of the City, and more as we continue to keep our residents safe.


Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla

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