Murphy says N.J. is considering statewide curfew

Governor says he’s not there yet, but more restrictions need to be considered: ‘We have no choice’

By Tom Bergeron
Trenton | Mar 15, 2020 at 9:30 am

Gov. Phil Murphy said he will not call for a statewide curfew Sunday, but he said it is something the state is considering.

Murphy, during a call-in interview with WBLS-FM 107.5 in New York this morning, was asked to comment on steps taken Saturday in Hoboken (a curfew) and Teaneck (a suggested self-quarantine).

“I don’t begrudge either of (the) steps,” he said. “We’re not there at a statewide level on either of those steps, but we could be. The curfew is probably, of the two, is probably the more immediate one under consideration.”

Murphy said it’s a sign of the ever-changing times.

“These are the things we have to consider,” he said. “We have no choice. Life is not as it used to be, and it may never be again. I’m not smart enough to know what it looks like five years from now, but, if I look out a month ago, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. And those steps are steps that we are going to have to consider, particularly the curfew piece of it.”

Murphy said a report he got out of Asbury Park on Saturday night — where there were still crowded bars and restaurants — made him realize additional steps may be necessary.

“A friend of mine walked into a bar/restaurant last night in Asbury Park and they were packed,” he said. “And people are on top of each other. And that’s probably, sadly, at least for the near term, scenarios that we’re not going to be able to abide by much longer because, inevitably, somebody is going to infect somebody else in a situation like that.”

As he has continually, Murphy stressed the need for calm.

“I want to reiterate the anxiety is real; we get that, without any question,” he said. “Who wouldn’t be anxious in a time where we’re going through something that none of us have been through before?

“But I do want to underscore: no time to panic. Let’s be smart about what we do, let’s be proactive, let’s get out of this, let’s be smart about it and not be panicking about it. That’s the balance that we have to strike and, assuming we all do our part, we will get there.”

Murphy touched on some other topics during the approximately 10-minute call:

  • On more testing in the state:

“The good news, the folks who both collect the swabs and the folks who do the tests, the population of groups that do those are growing by the day,” he said. “And that’s a good thing.

“And the particular good news, on the testing side, the high-speed testers, which are private sectors players, folks like LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, they can do hundreds if not thousands a day. We suffer a little bit in the data — and understanding real time who the folks are who test positive, negative or inconclusively, when it’s done by the private sector as opposed to when it’s done by our own Department of Health — but, frankly, that’s a price we’ll pay right now because we can much more rapidly and much more broadly test folks.

“So (the state of testing is) decent, not where it needs to be, but literally by the end of this week we’ll be in a different and better place and I think I’ll be able to say that at the end of each successive week coming up.”

  • On meeting the needs of the underserved/homeless:

“Like most things in society, when something like this happens, the folks who get impacted the most are the ones who inevitably — for one reason or another — have been up against it already.

“When you talk about closing schools, it’s very intoxicating to just flip the switch, until you realize we have 210,000 kids in New Jersey who rely on their school for their only good, solid meal of the day. We get 259,000 kids who don’t have a device in their home. Where you get day care situations, single moms — who, in many cases are health care workers, doubling up the challenge. And the homeless population is right up there.

“I like (the) idea of porta-potties. We already were on the journey of providing for the homeless community, but they are going to be doubly whacked by something like this.”

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