Saying Newark’s situation is far different — and far tougher — than the state’s situation, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced more restrictions on city residents and businesses Thursday afternoon regarding dining and gathering, sports and weeknight curfews.
The restrictions, which go into effect immediately, include, but are not limited to the following:
- Gatherings: Events are limited to no more than 10 people. This shall not include any gatherings that include First Amendment rights (e.g., political and religious gatherings).
- Religious services: Attendance is restricted to 25% capacity and anyone speaking or singing during religious services must wear a mask (including pastors while preaching).
- Senior housing: No visitation is allowed at long-term health care facilities for the next two weeks.
- Curfew: A mandatory curfew of 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 p.m. weekends is imposed for ZIP codes 07104, 07105 and 07107 (specifics on the areas below). All activities in these areas must end at 8 p.m. (Traveling to or from work or if there is an emergency are the only exceptions.)
- Sports: All sports of any kind being played in the city shall cease immediately for a two-week period. During this time, all players, coaches, trainers, etc., must be tested for the COVID-19 virus and have to test negative to resume play.
Baraka, at his Emergency Operations Center briefing Thursday, said his administration is taking additional measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus. COVID-19 is still on the rise in Newark, with the city reporting 13,225 positive cases and 680 deaths as of Nov. 11.
Baraka said the city will reassess the situation after Dec. 1.
“Newark’s prescription is not the state’s prescription,” he said. “Newark’s test positivity rate is at 19%, while New Jersey’s is at 7.74% — more than double.
“Stricter measures are required in the city’s hotspots in order to contain the virus and limit the spread. I know we are all tired, but the virus is not. Therefore, we must remain vigilant and do what is necessary to get this under control and save lives.”
As Baraka cited, last Friday, Newark reported a test positivity rate of 19.01%, using a three-day rolling average, in comparison with New Jersey’s test positivity rate of 7.74%.
Based on testing information for Newark from Oct. 25-31, which counts each test, the city’s positivity rate is 16.3%. The highest rate continues to be in the East Ward (32.5% in ZIP code 07105), as well as in the North and West wards (18.1% in ZIP code 07104 and 15.4% in ZIP code 07107). The city’s positivity rate continues to be as high as it was in May.
Dr. Mark Wade, director of the Department of Health and Community Wellness for the city, stressed personal responsibility.
“The most potent immunization we have available is a decision to take personal responsibility to obey and model the recommendations that keep us all safe,” he said. “We need each other to get us through this and to save lives.”
Here are the restrictions, as provided by the city:
- Per the mayor’s previous executive order, all non-essential businesses must close at 8 p.m. every day. All restaurants, bars, etc., must close their indoor service at 8 p.m. and deliveries, pickups, and outdoor service at 11 p.m. Due to the significant rise in COVID-19 positive cases, there is a 9 p.m. curfew in specific ZIP codes.
- For ZIP codes 07104, 07105, and 07107, a mandatory curfew is imposed. All activities must close at 8 p.m., due to a 9 p.m. curfew on weekdays, and a 10 p.m. curfew on weekends, unless traveling to or from work or if there is an emergency.
- In 07104, the boundaries are 7th Avenue to 2nd Avenue and from Broadway to Clifton Avenue.
- In 07105, this is the entire area, not including the airport or the highways.
- In 07107, the boundaries are 3rd Avenue North to Berkeley Avenue, and from North 3rd Street to 11th Street.
- Restaurants, businesses, and offices must follow face mask protocols.
- All businesses must perform temperature checks of anyone entering the building and no one with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees will be allowed inside.
- No holiday (e.g. Thanksgiving) gatherings or events of 10 people or more at restaurants.
- Reservations for more than 10 people are not allowed.
- Gatherings and/or events are limited to no more than 10 people. This shall not include any gatherings that include First Amendment rights (e.g. political and religious gatherings).
- The city will conduct inspections of all long-term health care facilities. The city reserves the right to cease, limit or prohibit any visitation in the facility if there is an increase of COVID-19 positive cases, or a failure to follow COVID-19 protocols.
- No visitation is allowed at long-term health care facilities for the next two weeks.
- Senior housing buildings residents are allowed one non-essential visitor per unit per day.
- All building managers/security must perform temperature checks of all individuals prior to entering the building. No one with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees will be allowed inside.
- Attendance is restricted to 25% capacity.
- Anyone speaking or singing during religious services must wear a mask (including pastors while preaching).
- No one with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees will be allowed inside.
- All sports of any kind being played in the city shall cease immediately for a two-week period. During this time, all players, coaches, trainers, etc., must be tested for the COVID-19 virus and have to test negative to resume play.
- The city administrators will work in conjunction with the Newark Public School Districts to ensure that all student-athletes get tested during the above-mentioned time period.
- When sports resume after this two-week period, all players, coaches, trainers and staff must be tested for the COVID-19 virus every week.
- Those individuals not actively playing in the game must wear a face mask and practice social distancing (including coaches, players on the bench, referees, parents, staff and spectators).
- The city will consider canceling, rescheduling games, and/or practices or any other activity for two weeks if two or more players/employees/staff, etc. on the team test positive for the virus.
- Any team or team member that doesn’t follow the face mask protocol may be subject to having their remaining games canceled, removed from the team, or terminated.”