Local businesses implement their own pandemic restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced on Monday that masks will be required for any indoor public location. He signed the executive order as the city’s positivity rate for COVID-19 reached almost 12%.
While Newark is the only municipality in the state to implement such an order, there are some businesses around the state that have taken it upon themselves to put some pandemic restrictions in place.
The owner of Prime Cycle in Hoboken says that the pandemic has been a constant struggle for her. She has to figure out how to keep her clients healthy and happy, while also keeping her business financially secure.
“Every single decision is excruciating,” says Julie Jarrett. “We run a business where people gather all day, all the time. And it’s hard to figure out the right thing to do.”
With cases of COVID-19 on the rise and fears of the omicron variant being around for the holidays, Jarrett says she has taken it upon herself to go above the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state and local leaders. As of Monday, all clients must show proof that they are fully vaccinated. Masks must also be worn inside the workout studio except during the actual workout.
“When you’re clipped in an on a bike in an isolated space, you can take your mask off. But as soon as you clip out of a bike, the mask has to go back on,” Jarrett says.
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Jarrett isn’t alone. Other local gyms have also implemented mask mandates. Some have cancelled all in-person classes until after Christmas.
News 12 New Jersey has also heard of some restaurants in the state limiting indoor capacity and now allowing people to stand at bars – extra precautions that could cost them money but could also ensure that the doors stay open into the new year.
“In January and when New Year's comes and next two weeks are over, I'll get a feel for how we are doing and then I think my next step is limiting capacity. And putting people on every other bike - which would be a huge financial risk for me,” Jarrett says. “I want to keep my doors open, so 50% capacity is better than zero. But not having 100% capacity guarantees I’m in financial trouble. It’s the same game I’ve been playing for almost two years.”
Hoboken required anyone attending SantaCon this past weekend to show proof of vaccination before entering bars. The mayor’s office says that the city is monitoring the pandemic and will consider any and all options going forward.