While some restaurants have already switched to delivery-only options throughout Hudson County, Mile Square officials are taking it one step further, mandating that all Hoboken bars and restaurants temporarily close. For now, restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery options only in light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19.
In a statement sent out by Nixle alert, Mayor Bhalla said the following:
“The City of Hoboken is doing everything possible to advance social distancing, including preventing large gatherings anywhere in the City. The health and safety of residents is my number one priority.
In furtherance of this policy, and to continue enacting measures to protect the health and safety of residents by limiting clusters of people, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has directed certain restrictions upon all restaurants and bars in Hoboken. Specifically, all bars and restaurant establishments, with and without a liquor license, are no longer permitted to serve food within the restaurant or bar. If a bar does not currently offer food, they will no longer be permitted to operate and are no longer permitted to serve alcohol, effective March 15th at 11 AM. According to OEM, any bar or restaurant establishment that currently offers food service will be permitted to conduct food takeout and food delivery service only.
Additionally, OEM is implementing a city-wide daily curfew will in effect from 10 pm through 5 am, effective Monday, March 16th until further notice. During this curfew, all residents will be required to remain in their homes except for emergencies, or if you are required to work by your employer.
As I am writing this message on a Saturday evening, I received a call from our Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante notifying me of a bar fight in downtown Hoboken, with at least one person falling in and out of consciousness, and our police having to wait for over 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, because our EMS is inundated with service calls. This is unfortunately a contributing factor why we cannot continue bar operations which can trigger calls for service that are delayed in part because of this public health crisis.
As I’ve mentioned before, these are extremely challenging times, and we are seeing a substantial uptick of positive COVID-19 cases throughout New Jersey and throughout the world. The time is now to enact proactive policies that will help save lives in the long run. We’ve asked families with children to be a part of social distancing by closing our schools. We must all now do our part.
I completely recognize that these measures will result in substantial changes and inconveniences to our daily lives. However, these measures are being taken to save lives and protect our residents. I strongly urge residents to continue to take every measure possible in order to practice social distancing, washing your hands, and sanitizing all surfaces.”
As of Saturday, two positive cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in Jersey City and one in Hoboken. According to the Press of Atlantic City, as many as 69 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in New Jersey. Meanwhile the tri-state area numbers have surpassed 600, NBC New York reports.
“I’ve been informed that the individual who tested positive was a model case for what to do if you feel sick. Once he felt symptoms that he thought could be from COVID-19, he immediately reached out to his physician, was tested, and began self-isolation before even receiving the result,” Mayor Ravi Bhalla said of the one confirmed case in Hoboken. “Once he knew he tested positive for COVID-19, he continued self-isolation. These responsible decisions allowed our Hoboken Health Department to proactively reach out to those who were in contact with him, and self-quarantine as directed by the Health Department.”
Hours before Hoboken’s restaurant closure announcement, Hoboken Girl caught wind that Hoboken OEM called for local gyms to close for “at least one week,” according to sources. Planet Fitness has confirmed that they will close as of Saturday, March 14th at 12:00PM. Retro Fitness, NYSC, and Crunch have also been ordered to close temporarily.
“This directive came directly from a police sergeant who told us that they were reaching out to all gyms to close their doors for a week as this virus continues to spread,” a Planet Fitness employee disclosed.
Head of the OEM Sergeant William Montanez says, “This includes all gyms large and small. It’s a State of Emergency, and we need to make sure all people are taking precautions of social distancing seriously.”
Montanez also clarified that the order also included all health clubs, recreational centers, movie theatres, daycare centers, and day camps. The order will remain in effect until officially lifted by a written order.
Hoboken School Districts have also closed their doors beginning March 16th and, as of right now, will remain closed for the next two weeks. While Jersey City has not yet made any announcements regarding school closures, the District sent out a letter to parents stating that any student who arrives to school wearing a facemask will be presumed ill and sent home.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has also announced a curfew on all Jersey City bars and restaurants, though no updates have been released since the official announcement.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla has also provided an official COVID-19 update as of Saturday, announcing the decision to close local daycares and playgrounds and suspend street sweeping. Despite the playgrounds being closed, parks will still be open.
The City has also set up two COVID-19 hotlines — one for general info and one for senior assistance — with the help of the office of emergency management and the Community Emergency Response Team. Hotlines will be answered by CERT members who can answer general questions about the City’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak, as well as provide information about the virus to anyone who has questions or concerns. However, the hotline cannot offer professional medical advice.
Need the general COVID-19 hotline? Call 201-420-5620 at anytime from 9AM to 8PM from now until at least March 20th. Need the Hoboken seniors COVID-19 hotline?
Call 201-420-5625 at anytime from 9AM to 8PM from now until at least March 20th.
Disclaimer: The cover photo of this article is an Emergen-C drink in a glass. A similar photo of Emergen-C being mixed with alcohol — dubbed a “quarantini” — went viral earlier today. We do not recommend mixing any flu, cough, or cold medicine with alcohol. Emergen-C has also made a statement, discouraging people from mixing their product with alcohol.