Non-essential travel ‘discouraged,' all schools closed amid coronavirus outbreak

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Gov. Phil Murphy announced new restrictions around the state to help prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 around New Jersey.

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Murphy announced 80 new cases of the virus in the state Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 178 statewide. State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that the patients ranged in age from 5-93 years old.

The governor announced that non-essential travel is “strongly discouraged” between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. for the foreseeable future. Murphy made a point to say that this is not a curfew, but that everyone in New Jersey should do their part to prevent spreading the illness.

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Murphy said that this is not the time to panic, but that it is a time for all New Jerseyans to do their part to stop the spread of the illness. He said that for those who believe that the threat of the virus is not serious and is “fake news,” now is the time to start taking the situation seriously.

The governor announced that only essential businesses can remain open, such as grocery stores, health care facilities and gas stations. Businesses with public gatherings like gyms, movie theaters and bars will be forced to close.

All New Jersey schools will close by Wednesday. But day care centers will remain open for the time being. Murphy said that this is so some of the state’s essential workers, such as those in the health care industry and first responders, can still have child care while at work.

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Restaurants may remain open, but dine-in seating will not be allowed. It will be delivery and take-out only.

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Gatherings of 50 or more people are also prohibited. President Donald Trump later stated that Americans are urged to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

The New Jersey National Guard has also been called in to help state officials with the effort to prevent the spread.

The governor also announced that New Jersey and the Trump administration will be partnering to vastly expand COVID-19 testing. Two new drive-thru mass testing sites will open within days - one at Bergen Community College and the other at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. The sites are being set up alongside the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 12 states including New Jersey. The first pieces of equipment will be arriving on Tuesday, according to state police.

GET INFORMATION: Coronavirus details from the CDC
GET THE FACTS: What you need to know about coronavirus


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