The first of what could be a series of regional lockdowns may be imposed in Essex County in the days ahead as COVID-19 cases surge.

Newark, Orange, East Orange and Irvington have reportedly agreed to plan to shut everything down for 24 hours. East Orange Mayor Ted Green told NBC-4 he and his fellow mayors had a Zoom call this week, and agreed to the lockdown if cases continue to rise.

"We're going to have to stop the stores opening up. We're going to have to stop the beauty salons opening up," Green said.

Green said if the number of COVID infections continue to rise even after that, they would extend the shutdown for three days.

Essex County has had among the highest infection rates in New Jersey according to figures released by the state health department. All four cities have enacted curfew restrictions beyond what Gov. Phil Murphy has declared statewide. Murphy did issue an executive order that empowered municipalities to tighten curfews, but a total shutdown goes beyond the scope of that order, and would need state approval. Murphy has been warning that "all options are on the table" as COVID cases spike beyond where they were in April.

Green says he realizes business and residents may be angry about another lockdown, but tells News 4 he can take it: "It's tough love. If I didn't love you, I wouldn't do it."

This is similar to a plan in New York state that enacts targeted closures in micro-clustered regions where COVID cases are spiking.

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