‘It’s a desperate moment’: Newark mayor implements new city restrictions to curb spread of COVID-19
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has implemented some new citywide restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, following a spike in cases in the city and county. The ironbound area is seeing a lot of the recent spike in cases.
Mayor Baraka is now limiting the hours nonessential businesses can operate, after 100 new coronavirus cases were reported Sunday in the city. It's positivity rate is well above the state average.
Click or tap the photo below to view Mayor Baraka's announcement.
The biggest impact of the changes will be on restaurants and stores. Indoor dining will have to end at 8 p.m. Anyone eating inside must have their temperatures taken. Outdoor dining may continue until 11 p.m.
Retail shops will have to shut off their lights at 8 p.m. Nail salons and barbershops will have to go back to appointments-only – no walk-ins or waiting inside. Some new measures from the state include providing rapid testing and contact tracing in the east ward to help.
The mayor's mandate does not pertain to everything. Essential businesses, including grocery stores, can stay open past 8 p.m. This also applies to pharmacies and gas stations.
Mayor Baraka acknowledges the trying time, but business owners are concerned the restrictions will hurt them more, and cases will still spike in the city.
“It seems desperate, but it’s a desperate moment,” says Mayor Baraka. “We got through this before and we’ll get through it again. We have our patrons leave here because there's no night life. So, they go to Elizabeth and so on. Where there's no social distancing, party with 1,500 people and come back to Newark."
Newark city officials are also suggesting that families skip out on trick-or-treating and hosting large family gatherings any time soon. The city will look over the data in two weeks to see if the rollback on restrictions worked.