North Jersey News Roundup for March 19, 2020

The expected surge of COVID-19 cases has begun in New Jersey, climbing to 427 overall, with two new deaths reported, bringing that total to five. Gov. Phil Murphy said daycare facilities will remain open in the state and receive funding to remain so.

Gov. Phil Murphy is working with New Jersey’s congressional delegation to seek a multibillion-dollar bailout from Washington. Murphy wants federal block grants for New Jersey and other states, a form of aid he said was needed to give the state flexibility to deploy money where and when it’s needed. Sen. Bob Menendez said the state needs billions of dollars in grants. Politico NJ

President Donald Trump signed a federal relief package to provide sick leave, unemployment benefits, free coronavirus testing, and food and medical aid to people affected by the pandemic. Lawmakers and the White House are already drafting another economic stabilization package that would send direct payments to taxpayers and provide loans to businesses.  The Record

Sen. Cory Booker is proposing aid of $2,000 per person this quarter as part of the next package to be considered by Congress. Booker’s plans would provide another $1,500 next quarter and another $1,000 for each quarter beyond that if the unemployment rate remains much higher than pre-virus levels. The payments would be reduced and eventually phase out for people with higher incomes. Specific thresholds are being negotiated.

U.S. stock futures declined on March 19 despite the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank introducing new measures to protect the global economy from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Futures tied to the S&P 500 index were down almost 2% a day after  markets saw a selloff in stocks, bonds and commodities as investors scrambled to raise cash. The Wall Street Journal

Cape May County freeholders are urging second-homeowners from North Jersey to remain in their primary homes to prevent overburdening supermarkets and services along the Jersey Shore. The freeholders cited reports of limited supplies at certain supermarkets and other stores and that Cape May County only has one hospital. NJ Spotlight

Newark’s mayor called for a mandatory curfew and the closure of all non-essential businesses for at least two weeks to stifle the spread of the coronavirus. An 8 p.m. curfew was imposed within the borders of the city effective immediately and all non-essential businesses will not reopen until at least April 1.

Bergen County Executive James Tedesco is revising his plan to limit retail activity in the county to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Tedesco is awaiting a review of the plan by the state to ensure it is in conjunction with the governor’s statewide emergency declaration before releasing details to the public. The Record

Organized labor and the construction industry voiced support for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s $24 billion highway expansion and maintenance campaign. The plan would result in the average trip on the New Jersey Turnpike rising to $4.80 from $3.50 and up to $1.41 from $1.11 on the Garden State Parkway. Additionally, the authority is seeking to implement an indexing policy that would allow tolls to be raised by up to 3% annually, starting in 2022. NJ Spotlight

And finally…The New York Times tells the story of a single family that has lost three members of tthe coronavirus. 

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