Newark mayor implements new city restrictions to slow 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.
Baraka is now limiting the hours that nonessential businesses can operate. This comes after 100 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the city on Sunday.
“We got through this before and we will get through it again,” the mayor said.
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.
“Obviously, some stores let people in with more than capacity allowed. They were allowed without masks. People had large gatherings in homes and still having parties,” Baraka said.
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.
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.
The owner of the restaurant Sabor Unido says that he is in support of the changes. The restaurant has a large outdoor dining area.
“If they think it’s for the better, closing indoor at 8 p.m., I’m all for it,” owner Luiz Campos says.
Campos says that his kitchen normally closes at 9:30 p.m., so it won’t be too much of a hardship for him.
“We rode a good wave in the summer and we will take it easy in the winter and make sure people are safe,” he says.
Because most of the cases of the virus are in Newark’s East Ward – the Ironbound section – the state is providing Newark with rapid testing.
“[Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli] and team have been plussing up resources, tracing resources, helping with enforcement,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Baraka says that there can’t be a lag between testing and the results.
“We need results quick and trace them quicker,” he said.
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.