Halsey Street in Newark (Photo by James Baldwin on Unsplash)

Urban News Staff Reports

As part of his restart and recovery plan, “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health,” Gov. Phil Murphy recently announced that New Jersey will enter Stage Two on June 15.

Guided by strict protocols from the New Jersey Department of Health, as well as input from the Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission and complementary Advisory Councils, Stage Two will include outdoor dining for restaurants and indoor, non-essential retail as of June 15t. Beginning on June 22nd, barber shops and salons will be able to reopen.

In the period to follow, New Jersey will work toward the gradual opening of personal care, gyms, and health clubs, at reduced capacities as the stage progresses. All  activities will be allowed pursuant to strict health and safety guidelines that will be issued in the coming days. New Jersey ended maximum restrictions and moved to Stage One on May 18.

“As we move through Stage One of our strategic restart and recovery process, public health data continues to demonstrate our collective success in flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” said Murphy. “It is with these favorable metrics, coupled with expanded testing capacity and contact tracing, that we can responsibly enter Stage Two of our multi-stage approach to recovery. Our economic restart must instill confidence among our residents and visitors that their safety, and that of their families, is our number one priority. I encourage all New Jerseyans to continue their vigilance in keeping themselves and their communities safe by social distancing, wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, and limiting gatherings.”

Restrictions are relaxed on activities that can be easily safeguarded.

Phased-in businesses and activities, with adherence to safeguarding and modification guidelines, include:

  • Outdoor dining (beginning on June 15th)
  • Limited in-person retail (beginning on June 15th)
  • Hair salons and barber shops (beginning on June 22nd)
  • Youth summer programs (beginning on July 6th)
  • In-person clinical research/labs
  • Limited fitness/gyms
  • Limited in-person government services (e.g. – Motor Vehicle Commission)
  • Museums/libraries

Meanwhile in Newark, Mayor Ras Baraka recently introduced the first phase of the city’s re-opening. Several weeks ago, Baraka created the “Newark Reopening and Recovery Strikeforce” co-chaired by City of Newark Chief of Staff Amiri Baraka, Jr. and Newark Alliance CEO Aisha Glover.

“Our top priority is, and has always been, to save lives,” Baraka said. “Very careful consideration went into the development of these guidelines to help us safely re-open,” Baraka said. “We have listened very carefully to their recommendations and have come up with a plan to open slowly and cautiously that meets the City’s economic needs and the recreational and social needs of our residents.”

Phase One of the three-phase plan began June 1 and runs through June 14, if the COVID-19 cases don’t spike. The second phase will be from June 15-28, and the third runs from June 29-July 12.

The City is also allowing for family cookouts for 10 people, provided there is space for proper social distancing, PPE is worn and other sanitation guidelines are followed. If an area is large enough to accommodate 15 people, the City will allow it.

Newark will continue to install the color-coded system of risk, with red being high risk, yellow moderate, and green low. Red signs have already gone up in many of Newark’s small parks.

The City is also changing its curfew from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., but cookouts must end at 9 p.m., allowing time for people to return home.

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