North Jersey News Roundup for March 18, 2020

Malls throughout New Jersey were ordered closed by Gov. Phil Murphy as part of the state’s aggressive social distancing measures. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli stated an increase has occurred in community transmission as cases with no known link to other cases are increasingly being reported and about 55% of New Jersey’s known cases are or were hospitalized.

U.S. stock futures fell by the maximum allowed on March 18 and international indexes tumbled, as the financial turmoil sparked by the novel coronavirus continued. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 3.9% and the S&P 500 3.7% despite a $1 trillion stimulus proposal from the Trump administration. The Wall Street Journal

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority will hold public hearings this week on a proposed toll hike for a new capital plan of $24 billion over the next eight years. The plan includes 24 projects on the New Jersey Turnpike and 29 on the Garden State Parkway that include pavement “preservation,” widening projects and a $900 million effort to convert all tolls on both highways to E-ZPass and pay-by-mail. Tolls will rise an average of $1.30 per trip on the Turnpike and 30 cents per trip on the Parkway. Politico NJ

Volunteers mobilized by city education officials handed out more than 5,700 meals for Paterson children. The school district’s food vendor dropped off the boxes containing breakfasts and lunches at the 12 firehouses, churches and community centers designated as emergency distribution sites while schools are closed. The Record

Morris County Clerk’s Office suspended services such as wedding licenses, notary services and identification cards to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. The clerk’s office has modified its schedule for property registrations and passport services and is urging all residents to vote by mail to avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus. The Daily Record

Hoboken ordered non-essential businesses such as barbershops and nail salons closed.  Residents were asked to self-quarantine as much as they can with city officials taking a “gentle approach” to enforcement but want people to maintain a six-foot separation in public and to not cluster in groups of more than five.  The Jersey Journal

The Morris County Courthouse closed until further notice after a courthouse employee reported being exposed to the coronavirus while socializing with a friend outside the building. Morris County government buildings are expected to remain at least partially open, but with limited staff, as meetings that must occur are to be held via remote platforms. The Daily Record

Amazon plans to create 100,000 new full- and part-time jobs in its fulfillment centers and delivery operations in the U.S. to tackle a surge in orders. The company, which operates 10 fulfillment centers in New Jersey, will invest more than $350 million globally and boost pay by $2 an hour in the U.S. through April.

New Jersey’s attorney general issued 13 subpoenas and sent more than 80 warning letters to businesses suspected of illegally raising prices amid the coronavirus pandemic. The department has received 619 complaints as of March 17, more than double the total less than a week ago. Sellers may not raise their prices more than 10% during an emergency, and face fines up to $10,000 the first time they do.

Former Vice President Joe Biden won the Democratic primary elections in Florida, Illinois and Arizona on March 17. The three states award a total of 441 delegates for the party’s presidential nomination. Biden currently has 1,147 delegates, with Sen. Bernie Sanders in second with 861  The New York Times

And finally…Fairfield’s Claremont Distillery switched to making hand sanitizer to offset supply shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, which it plans to donate.

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