The State of New Jersey has been in a State of Emergency since March 9th amid COVID-19 concerns and that is expected to continue for an additional 30 days as of May 6th. Even more so, the state has been under a stay-at-home order since March 21st. The extended State of Emergency, however, does not affect the six-point plan “for responsibly reopening New Jersey” that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced on Monday, April 27th. Here’s what you need to know:
New Jersey’s Plan
SECURING PUBLIC HEALTH:
🏠Sustained reductions in new cases and hospitalizations
🔬Expand testing capacity
👥Implement robust contact tracing
🏥Secure safe places for isolation
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 27, 2020
“This is a plan for how we move forward, not if we move forward,” Gov. Murphy said in his address on April 27th regarding the state’s future reopening.
The plan he announced is focused on “restoring New Jersey’s economic health through public health” and to “put us on the road to recovery.” The plan is based on six pillars:
- – The first to see a sustained decrease in hospitalizations and positive tests — the goal is to continue to see discharges exceed admissions to hospitals.
- – The second pillar is to create expanded testing, with the goal of at least doubling the current testing capacity, to prioritize testing for healthcare workers, essential personnel, and vulnerable populations.
- – The third pillar to “implement robust contact tracing.” Via this pillar, the state will “recruit and deploy an army of personnel who will identify and follow-up with contacts” of individuals who have tested positive.
- – The fourth pillar is to secure “safe places for isolation.” This pillar will focus on providing “individuals who do test positive with a safe and free place to protect others.”
- – The fifth pillar is focused on responsibility restarting the economy. The governor will be putting together the Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission, which will “give the highest priority for reopening using a clears standard of essential and safe, beginning with businesses, industries, and activities that are not only essential to our economy, but which provide the lowest risk of disease transmission,” Gov. Murphy said. “We will move as quickly as we can and as safely as we must.”
- – Finally, the last pillar in this plan is to ensure the resiliency of the State of New Jersey for the next COIVD-19 outbreak and the future. “We cannot think of #COVID19 as a one-and-done,” Gov. Murphy tweeted. Through this pillar, the state will ensure that hospitals and healthcare systems have inventories of PPE and ventilators, as well as building a state stockpile necessary resources. “We must build our resiliency now,” Gov. Murphy said.
The State of Emergency Extension
NEW: I’m signing an EO to extend our public health emergency by 30 days.
To be clear: this does not mean we’re seeing anything in the data which would pause our path forward. These declarations, unless extended, expire after 30 days. We’re still in a public health emergency. pic.twitter.com/7Fj9ciQvxC
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 6, 2020
However, as of May 6th, the state will remain in a state of emergency for another 30 days. The extension will not “pause our path forward,” he said.
“I’m signing an EO to extend our public health emergency by 30 days. To be clear: this does not mean we’re seeing anything in the data which would pause our path forward. These declarations, unless extended, expire after 30 days. We’re still in a public health emergency,” Governor Murphy tweeted. “If this extension signals one thing, it is this – we can’t give up one bit on the one thing that we know is working in this fight: social distancing. Remember, in the absence of a vaccine, or even proven therapeutics for #COVID19, our only cure is social distancing.”
Statewide, NJ has 131,890 cases of COVID-19.
In Jersey City
On a more local level, things are starting to reopen on a very gradual basis. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop shared on a Facebook Live and on his Twitter on Saturday, April 25th that he will be reopening parks and taking steps back toward normalcy, which began on Monday, April 27th.
Parks and open space in densely populated cities are important for both mental + physical health. We are better off having a controlled environment with parks open than pretending people will sit in their homes for eternity w/no progress. We need to protect health first but pic.twitter.com/JcjSlodJ9G
— Steven Fulop (@StevenFulop) April 26, 2020
“Parks and open space in densely populated cities are important for both mental + physical health. We are better off having a controlled environment with parks open than pretending people will sit in their homes for eternity w/no progress,” he shared on Twitter. ” We need to protect health first but also trust our residents that they’ll make good choices. At this stage, everyone is aware of #COVID19 + #SocialDistancing guidelines which is very different than 6 weeks ago. We’ll have city personnel on location to assist. This is the signage that’s going up in parks as we open.”
The parks are open from “dawn to dusk daily,” according to the new signage. “We’re not opening dog runs or playgrounds or basketball courts,” he shared in his Facebook Live address about the openings. “But the reality is, it’s better to have a controlled environment where people can safely go somewhere.” He also said that a police presence will be at all parks to ensure that social distancing guidelines are being followed.
“We aren’t pushing to abruptly do what Georgia did w/carelessly opening everything BUT we also need to slowly shift the conversation towards a gradual return to living life. Careful ‘baby steps’ forward,” he shared via Twitter about what JC has planned.
Days after, Governor Murphy announced the reopening of state parks and golf courses.
Currently, Jersey City has 5,899 cases of COVID-19, with 320 deaths.
On Tuesday, May 5th, Mayor Ravi Bhalla has announced that Hoboken will reopen parks gradually, as of this Friday, May 8th.
“Based on the recent data demonstrating a downward trend in new, confirmed cases in Hoboken, and the important benefits of outdoor activities on mental health, we are moving forward with the first phase of a gradual parks re-opening in Hoboken beginning this Friday,” he announced via Nixle alert on May 5th. “I ask all residents to practice social distancing of at least six feet and wear a face mask or face cover at all times. If these critical precautions are observed, we can keep our parks open for the long-term and consider opening additional open spaces. If these rules are not respected and the safety of our residents is jeopardized by residents congregating in groups, we will, unfortunately, need to revisit whether or not parks can remain open.”
This news comes just a week after Mayor Bhalla announced on April 28th that he along with Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez of West New York, Mayor Nicholas Sacco of North Bergen, Mayor Brian P. Stack of Union City, Mayor Richard Turner of Weehawken and Mayor Wayne Zitt of Guttenberg have come to an agreement regarding a regional and collaborative approach for the gradual reopening of municipal parks.
Of course, we will continue to update this news as more information regarding Hoboken’s gradual reopening becomes available in the coming days and weeks. For now, Hoboken currently has 509 cases as of May 6th, and 23 reported deaths. One hundred and six residents have fully recovered.
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