Newark is first city in N.J. to reinstate mask mandate

In another example of how 2021 is going out as it came in, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced Monday that all residents and visitors must wear a face mask at all times while indoors at any public facility in the city.

Additionally, patrons must be seated while at a bar and wear masks, unless the individual is actively eating or drinking.

Even more: Baraka said additional mitigation measures will be taken if the city’s test positivity rate reaches 15% or higher for three consecutive test periods.

“We are still in the midst of a pandemic and need to take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard and best ensure the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” Baraka said. “I urge residents to take precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Get vaccinated and tested, especially during this holiday season, as we gather and spend more time with family and friends.”

In recent weeks, the city has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, with 47,272 positive cases to date. Newark’s test positivity rate, using a three-day rolling average, is 11.89% as of Dec. 14.

The city also strongly advises that all school staff and students be tested before they return to school after the holiday break.