State to require face coverings when picking up food, riding NJ Transit

Murphy says N.J. now has more than 60,000 COVID-19 cases, 2,350 fatalities

By Tom Bergeron
Trenton | Apr 13, 2020 at 4:00 am

Gov. Phil Murphy signed executive orders this weekend requiring anyone going to a restaurant or bar to pick up a takeout order or anyone riding New Jersey Transit to wear a face covering.

Murphy, speaking Saturday at his daily briefing, said the requirement also applies to anyone bringing the food order or working for NJ Transit.

Regarding the food pickup requirement, Murphy said it only applies if you are walking into an establishment. If you are doing a curbside pickup, or if your order is being delivered to you, a face covering will not be required.

In regard to NJ Transit, Murphy said the order also requires all riders to wear a face covering when traveling either on NJ Transit or with a private carrier — whether it be train, bus, light rail or paratransit vehicle, unless they cannot for medical reasons.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli at the briefing.

The order further requires NJ Transit and the private carriers to supply their workers with gloves and face coverings.

Murphy made a point of emphasis on what types of face coverings are required.

“It bears repeating, a face covering does not mean a medical-grade mask,” he said. “We need to keep those for our front-line public health and safety responders, and they remain in short supply. There are any number of ways you can cover your mouth and nose with a bandana or a homemade fabric covering.”

Murphy said the orders were important to protect workers.

“Right now, for many of our essential workers, public transit is how they get to work, and we need to protect them during that trip,” he said.

Murphy also announced over the weekend that he had signed an executive order directing NJ Transit and all private carriers to cut the capacity on all trains, buses, light rail vehicles and paratransit vehicles to 50% of their maximum.

Murphy did not have a public briefing Sunday.

The numbers

Murphy announced Sunday on Twitter that there were 3,733 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, bringing the state total to 61,850. On Saturday, there were 3,599 new cases.

Murphy said there were 168 additional fatalities, increasing that total to 2,350. There were 251 fatalities Saturday.

As of 10 p.m. Saturday night, there were 7,604 people hospitalized — including 823 in intensive care.

Murphy said Saturday he is taking heart in the fact that there is recovery. For the 24-hour period that ended Saturday night, 658 patients had been discharged.

“I would like to note that, while the numbers of our fellow residents in the hospital, in critical or intensive care, and on respirators, is daunting, there are hundreds of people leaving the hospital every day — people who have beaten this virus,” he said. “That should give us hope, especially in this season when our spiritual lives are filled with a sense of renewal.”

Donations/PPE

Murphy announced on Twitter on Sunday afternoon that the state has received 200 additional ventilators from the federal government.

“Ventilators are our No. 1 need right now,” he tweeted. “We won’t stop fighting to get the equipment we need to save every life we can.”

Murphy continued to publicly thank those making donations.

On Saturday, he noted the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation. Murphy said the foundation delivered 150,000 surgical masks and nearly 200,000 N95 masks. The foundation is based in California, but Joe Tsai is a 1982 graduate of the Lawrenceville School.

Murphy also thanked Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in Bedminster, which he said is sending a shipment of 100 gallons of hand sanitizer. And he thanked Lodi-based Precious Cosmetics for its donation of 100 bottles of hand sanitizer.

Companies, foundations and individuals who want to donate can contact the state at www.covid19.nj.gov/ppedonations.

EMT support

State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan dons a mask at the briefing.

Murphy thanked first responders from other states for their assistance. Murphy said Friday that a total of 78 ambulances and EMS squads from states across the country — carrying 139 EMTs and 56 paramedics — came to assist local teams. Fifty-three teams were basic life support and 25 were advanced life support.

The workers came from California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, among other states, he said. Murphy said they worked in numerous locations, including Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, East Orange, Irvington and New Brunswick.

“They know how hard our EMS squads are working, and how overloaded many are, and they came in mutual aid and support,” Murphy said. “This is a true brotherhood and sisterhood, and we’ve already lost four tremendous EMTs to COVID-19.

“(Friday) showed we all have each other’s backs — and, to those who have come from afar to help us, we will return the favor in your time of need.”

The final word

Murphy on increased requirements for face coverings: “I know that, for some of you, you may view this as just another inconvenience. Remembering to bring your face covering to the supermarket, or now to pick up your takeout order, may be a hassle. But what would really be inconvenient is if you end up in the hospital with COVID-19 because you didn’t take to heart the need for us to take every precaution — and for all of us to keep working together.”

State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan on Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli: “It is just a complete honor to work shoulder to shoulder with her. She is nothing short of the best.”

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