Why a NJ city’s lockdown won’t be enforced after all — NJ Top News 11/23
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka continued to insist city residents stay inside their homes for 10 days beginning Wednesday, even as his office indicates police would not enforce the mayor's lockdown.
In statement, Baraka implored residents to stay home: “We cannot risk a continual spread of COVID-19 in our community. We cannot go back to where we were in April and May. But what we can do is urge everyone to be responsible, cautious, and think of the greater good. People's lives depend on this.”
However, the mayor did not issue a formal executive order, and his office clarified this was more of a request.
"We are urging all Newark residents and businesses to follow the guidelines and instructions for this holiday season," Baraka said Saturday. But with no official mandate for compliance, a spokesman for the mayor told NJ.com there would be no enforcement from police and admitted the guidelines were essentially voluntary. Police could enforce existing executive orders from Gov. Phil Murphy that include a cap on indoor gatherings at 10 people.
While Murphy did permit municipalities to expand on his own curfews regarding indoor dining and business operation, Newark's plan exceeded the scope of what Murphy would allow. On Wednesday, Murphy said while he understood why some towns and cities would want to impose tough restrictions, he stressed "we can't have patchwork." In order to issue a more all-encompassing executive order, Baraka would have needed approval from Murphy. That clearly did not happen, so the tough talk from Baraka turned into a plea for voluntary compliance.
A spokesman for the governor told the Associated Press that the now-termed "Urgent Advisory" is consistent with administration policy urging residents to be "vigilant."
Murphy's office has also pushed back on plans for Newark, Livingston, Orange and East Orange to impose a one- to three-day lockdown to help reduce the spread of coroanvirus. Essex County continues to see among the highest infection rates in the state.
More New Jersey Top News:
- Murphy is warning of a brutal several weeks ahead as coronavirus cases reach record levels in NJ.
- Today was supposed to be a monumental day in Trenton, but the passage of a bill legalizing recreational marijuana has been delayed amid a group of policy disagreements, including workplace safety concerns.
- Many wait for hours to be tested for coronavirus for free. Private clinics will do it faster for $150. Some medical professionals question that inequity.
- A New Jersey pharma company has won approval for a drug that has shown positive results in treating high-risk patients infected with COVID.
- Many smaller landlords near bankruptcy, unable to evict tenants who can't pay rent.
- The CDC issued its strongest warnings yet on international air travel and cruising.
- Almost 90% of New Jersey residents say they will not travel this Thanksgiving.
- What does Black Friday shopping look like during COVID in New Jersey?
- Community groups such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters have had to change their approach to how they connect with kids during the pandemic.