Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop felt it was important for the city to send masks to every household in the municipality as part of the #MaskUPJC campaign. It’s the best preventative measure against the rising numbers of COVID-19, he said.
Fulop feels just as strongly about avoiding another shutdown. That’s the best way to keep the city’s small business community alive.
“We really don’t want to see a broad shutdown, because the feedback from the business community is, if you shut them down a second time, the likelihood of some of them permanently closing is very high,” Fulop told ROI-NJ.
Then there’s this: Fulop doesn’t feel a shutdown or a curfew — as has been instituted in Newark — would have the desired impact.
“A curfew isn’t the solution, because it’s not like the virus is only transmitted at night,” he said. “You can get the virus at a supermarket, you could get it walking on the street, you could get it interacting with people voting, you could get it anywhere.”
(Editor’s note: Fulop made these comments on Friday. Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to announce a statewide shutdown of restaurants and bars from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. There’s no reason to believe that Jersey City would not comply with such a mandate.)
Fulop said the reaction needs to be different than it was in the spring.
“We were one of the first in the state to do the curfew when we did it in March — but it was really was different circumstances,” he said. “People didn’t know about the virus, how it was transmitted, how contagious it was and how to treat it. It’s a different situation now.
“So, I don’t think necessarily a curfew is the best solution. I think that you need more education to the public on the importance of always wearing a mask. And you need to provide more resources for the public to make sure that they can wear a mask and they can get testing. And that’s what we’re doing with the #MaskUPJC situation.”
The idea for the program is more than a month old. Fulop said the recent rise in cases has made him glad the city had something such as this — each household will get five masks — ready to go. Mask mailings will begin this week.
“Obviously, it’s becoming more pressing with a significant uptick in cases,” he told ROI-NJ. “We’re seeing what the state is seeing, which is a rapid growth and numbers that we haven’t seen since early in the springtime. It’s concerning.”
As is the business community.
Jersey City was as active — and generous — as any municipality in the state, offering small businesses grants of as much as $20,000 among other means of assistance.
Fulop said it helped. But he knows it wasn’t a cure-all.
“Businesses were grateful, but this is a month-to-month situation where people are truly struggling and trying to figure out what that is around the next corner,” he said. “So, we bridged the gap for one month or two months with some relief dollars. But, at the end of the day, if there’s not another relief program from the federal government, a lot of these businesses are not going to be able to stay in business.
“We’re hopeful, with a new administration in Washington, and maybe a little bit more urgency, a new relief package might happen. That would be appreciated.”