North Jersey News Roundup for April 16, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy has ‘nightmares’ the progress the state and its residents have made in fighting the coronavirus could easily go backwards as “one misstep and we are back to the worst case scenario.” The governor further stated the “new normal probably won’t look like the old normal” as New Jersey will not be able to just turn the clock back to three months ago and resume their usual daily routines.

Banking and financial services executives told President Trump his administration needed to dramatically increase the availability of coronavirus testing before the public would be confident enough to return to their normal routines. Executives from banking, financial services, food and beverage, hospitality and retail industries described current testing levels in the U.S. as inadequate to effectively reopen the economy. The Wall Street Journal 

New Jersey’s tax revenues are “falling off the cliff,” according to Gov. Phil Murphy even as the state’s Department of Treasury’s new monthly revenue update reported gains. The latest report, a reflection of February activity, shows tax revenues increasing by 3.6%, with gross income tax collections up 7.1% over this time last year, corporation business taxes up 7.7% and sales taxes up 5%.

Millions of Americans started to receive money in their bank accounts from the federal government as part of the COVID-19 economic stimulus package. Those who already filed their federal income taxes and low-income earners were the first to receive the money, with $1,200 going to those who are single with an Adjusted Gross Income of less than $99,000 or who have filed as the head of a household with an AGI of $112,000 or less. Up to $2,400 will go to married couples jointly filing their taxes with an AGI of below $150,000 and those with children will get $500 per child. News12 New Jersey

Andover Rehabilitation and Subacute I and II is under investigation after at least 26 people connected with the facility, including two nurses, who died tested positive for the coronavirus.  The investigation of the facility began after authorities received a request for 25 body bags at the nursing home. New Jersey Herald

Gov. Phil Murphy defended his decision to ban religious gatherings like funerals while liquor stores are allowed to stay open in an interview on FOX News. Murphy said the ban on gathering was based on science and in coordination with faith leaders, while allowing the sale of alcohol was done in consultation with recovery professionals who warned of unintended mental health and addiction consequences if the stores were closed.

A test developed at Rutgers University detecting the presence of the coronavirus in saliva made its public debut in Middlesex County. The Kilmer Motor Vehicle Commission inspection station was modified by county workers to accommodate 300 test kits where drivers pulled up, got their kits through the car window and then handed saliva-filled tubes back to workers. NJ Spotlight

Employees forced to care for family members during the coronavirus outbreak may take up to 12 weeks of family leave in a two-year period without losing their jobs. The law expands the list of workers permitted to take family leave to include specifically those caring for a family member during an epidemic of a communicable disease. Caring for children because of school closures during an epidemic is also now an acceptable use of family leave. The Daily Record

The Jersey City school district will start distributing laptops and mobile hotspots next week to hundreds of students who lack computer or internet access at home. The district previously determined approximately 600 students don’t have computer or internet access at home. Households with multiple children but only one computer or device will also be eligible to receive equipment from the district. The Jersey Journal

The head of a union representing NJ Transit conductors quit the agency’s coronavirus task force, contending they aren’t following their own procedures and has made inaccurate statements about masks and gloves provided to employees in statements to the public and the media. The general chairman of SMART United Transportation Union Local 60 said the lack of response and communications on what NJ Transit was doing to provide safety equipment for front line workers were among his major issues.

Passaic County will appeal a $3.4 million jury award to a motorcyclist who was critically injured in 2016 after swerving to avoid a patch of potholes in West Milford. The verdict found the county had created a hazardous condition by repeatedly making temporary patches to the potholes instead of repaving the road. The Record

And finally…The Diocese of Paterson named Kevin Sweeney to replace the retiring Arthur J. Serratelli as Bishop. New Jersey Herald

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