Home COVID-19 Reopening Plans ‘Will Be Gradual’ for New Jersey, According to Governor Murphy, Jersey City + Hoboken Mayors

Reopening Plans ‘Will Be Gradual’ for New Jersey, According to Governor Murphy, Jersey City + Hoboken Mayors

by Jennifer Tripucka
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The Coronavirus has hit the Northeast area with a vengeance — with thousands sick in Hudson County, let alone New Jersey and New York as a whole. People have been following social distancing rules for over a month and a half to slow the spread, and non-essential businesses have been shuttered. While there is much national debate about the timeline for reopening, the consensus among the State of New Jersey and Hudson County officials appears to be in unison: Reopening plans will be gradual.

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In Jersey City, Mayor Fulop shared on a Facebook Live and on his Twitter on Saturday that he will be reopening parks and taking steps back toward normalcy on Monday.

He shared on his Twitter, “Next week, we will begin to gradually re-open some of the larger parks in the City while ensuring social distancing…we will continue to restrict playgrounds, basketball courts, and more… space for walking and open air is important to sanity”.

He also shared how Jersey City would be starting street cleaning as of Monday, April 27th, and the following week all parking rules would be in effect. The five parks reopening would be Enos Jones Park, Berry Lane Park, Audubon Park, Leonard Gordon Park, and Pershing Field — with limited access during daylight hours.

This opening on April 27 will be followed by more parks reopening in mid-May, he noted.

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But this, he said on his Facebook Live, would still be done gradually. “We’re not opening dog runs or playgrounds or basketball courts,” he noted about the openings, “but the reality is, it’s better to have a controlled environment where people can safely go somewhere.” In doing this, he said there would be a police presence at all parks to ensure social distancing.

“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 tweeted on Friday.

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In Hoboken, Mayor Bhalla sent out a Nixle alert on April 24th, sharing his thoughts on re-opening.

In the Nixle, he said, “I know that residents are looking forward to a time when Hoboken will reopen and we can all get back to life as we used to know it. I know that time will eventually come. We will continue to be guided by the advice of medical professionals and ensure the steps we take are not jeopardizing the health and safety of our residents.”

He went on to say how they’d differ from the abrupt manner in which they closed. “Unlike mid-March when we began a rapid process of shutting down bars, restaurants, essential businesses and more, an eventual re-opening, when that time comes, will likely be a gradual process and done in phases as opposed to all at once,” he said, noting that Hoboken would continue to be guided by Governor Murphy and the State on the process.

“It is critically important to have a cohesive, regional approach where some cities aren’t reopening at a quicker pace than others, which could jeopardize public health.”

Read More: The Latest COVID-19 Updates for Hoboken + Jersey City

On the state level, Governor Murphy has not released his official reopening plan but has noted some clues that the plan could be similar to what Pennsylvania rolled out this week — which is a color-coded system designed by Governor Tom Wolf. In it, Pennsylvania will categorize its reopening into three phases: red, yellow, and green, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

To summarize these phases in Pennsylvania and give you an idea of how this might look {but please note: this is not yet released for New Jersey in any capacity and may look different}:

The red phase in PA is focused on minimizing COVID-19’s spread through school closures, banning of large gatherings, restaurants for delivery and takeout only, and a broad stay-at-home order.

The yellow phase in PA places restrictions on work and social interactions with gatherings of 25 or more, but will allow retail stores to open with curbside delivery and daycares to open with safety orders. Restaurants will still have carry-out only, and gyms and spas will remain closed.

The green phase in PA is when life returns to mostly normal, in which most restrictions are lifted and businesses are allowed to reopen strategically, “while continuing to prioritize public health,” according to Wolf.

Governor Murphy seems keen to Pennsylvania’s plan but noted that it may not look exactly the same. “I can’t tell you at this point if our color scheme will the same as Pennsylvania’s, but the notion of having something like that is broadly similar to what we’re thinking about,” Murphy said at a press conference.

“We do owe folks the broad principles of what we’re looking for in order to give us the confidence that we can begin to move to that phase,” he explained, noting that the plan would need several things to work.

These things, he said, are threefold: robust testing, contact tracing of cases, and isolation and quarantining the sick.

Read More: Where to Get Tested for COVID-19 Locally

As of Saturday, April 25th, there were 105,523 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state — and a total of 5,863 coronavirus-related deaths.

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