March 16, 2020
New Jersey's 9 million residents are urged to abide by curfew recommendations and not leave their homes between 8 p.m and 5 a.m. beginning Monday until further notice to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"I am strongly discouraging all non-essential and non-emergency travel in New Jersey between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m." Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday "This will remain in effect fo the foreseeable future. We want everyone to be home and not out."
Also, any remaining New Jersey schools – public, private and parochial – and colleges that have not closed must do so by the end of the day Wednesday.
The restrictions were enacted as New Jersey nearly doubled its total coronavirus cases from Sunday. As of Monday afternoon, there were 178 cases.
The vast majority of cases have been reported in North Jersey and Central Jersey, with only eight so far in South Jersey. There are currently five cases in Burlington County and three in Camden County.
Businesses that are non-essential to the COVID-19 response may continue to operate from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. but they are being asked to limit their occupancies to fewer than 50 people and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Restaurants and bars in New Jersey are to close for dine-in services after 8 p.m. Monday, but they may remain open for takeout and delivery food service after that.
Gyms, movie theaters, race tracks and the Atlantic City casinos will close at 8 p.m. Monday and remain closed until New Jersey officials deem they are safe to reopen. Online gaming will still be available to residents, Gov. Murphy said.
Businesses that are involved in the coronavirus response efforts, or that are necessary for the public's welfare – like supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, and medical offices, may remain open after 8 p.m.
Murphy announced these sweeping measures to try to slow the spread of the corona virus on Monday.
"We do not take these steps lightly," Murphy said. He announced the measures on Twitter. "We know that each comes with its own set of impacts on residents, families, communities and businesses. But at this moment our paramount concern must be to flatten the curve of new cases, so we do not overload our health care system."
The governor and other New Jersey officials spoke more about the travel and business restrictions during a press conference Monday afternoon.
On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control recommended against gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks in order to slow the spread of the illness. This includes events such as weddings, concerts, conferences and festivals. As such, all three states have banned gatherings of more than 50 people in attendance.
"Having regional coordination at a minimum is imperative," Cuomo said in the press conference. "If you can’t do a party in New York City, you can’t do a party in New Jersey, you can't do a party in Connecticut over 50."
New Jersey reported the state's second death due to coronavirus on Sunday. The patient was a man in his 60s from Bergen County.
There are nearly 4,000 cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Monday afternoon, with 68 deaths so far from the virus, according to the New York Times. Pennsylvania currently has 76 cases of COVID-19, with the vast majority occurring in Southeastern Pennsylvania. There have been no deaths related to the outbreak reported yet in the state.
More than 173,800 people worldwide have contracted the illness and more than 7,200 have died from the virus as of Monday afternoon. Coronavirus has spread to at least 130 countries and six continents. Along with the U.S., some of the hardest-hit countries by the virus include China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, Spain, France, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland.
Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Most illnesses are mild, but a serious illness occurs in about 16% of cases, according to initial data from China. The incubation period is believed to be 2-14 days.
Older people and those with underlying health conditions, including heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, appear to be at greater risk for developing a serious illness, according to the CDC.
There is no known treatment for COVID-19 and a vaccine is expected to take at least a year to develop.
Health experts stress that the best way to prevent illness is to practice good hand hygiene, avoid close contact with sick individuals and frequently disinfect common surfaces and objects. Social distancing also should be practiced.