8PM CURFEW IN NEW JERSEY; CASINOS, BARS, SCHOOLS CLOSED; RESTAURANTS TAKEOUT ONLY

Source: Asbury Park Press

New Jerseyans should not leave their homes from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., as Gov. Phil Murphy announced an extraordinary action of recommending a statewide curfew for his 9 million residents to attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

All casinos, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms must shut down at 8 p.m. and will remain closed until further notice in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, the three governors announced Monday.

“Everyone needs to stay in and be safe,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a phone call with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to announce the new restrictions.

Murphy is also expected to detail plans to close schools statewide Monday afternoon.

In New Jersey, more than 100 people have tested positive for COVID-19 after Bergen County announced 13 additional cases Monday. At least two people have died as of Sunday.

β€œI saw too many videos last night of packed bars, people passing bottles drinking from the same bottle, literally globbed on top of each other,” Murphy said after saying he was considering the curfew. β€œIn short of shutting the entire state down, clipping establishments by a number of hours each night in particular we believe will have a meaningful, positive outcome in terms of social distancing.”

This wide-reaching measure comes in the wake of a new recommendation Sunday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying gatherings of 50 people or more should not take place for the next eight weeks, though the guidelines did not apply to businesses or schools.

The governors announced they would follow the CDC’s guidelines and were critical of the Trump administration’s response, saying it has fallen behind in its response to the fast-spreading virus. That means the three states’ casinos, gyms, movie theaters, bars and restaurants would close at 8 p.m. Restaurants can only offer takeout services.

UPDATE: Gov. Murphy has ordered all New Jersey schools to be closed by this Wednesday (3/18/2020)

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