North Jersey News Roundup for April 30, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order reopening parks and golf courses around the state. The order will take effect at sunrise on May 2 with social distancing continuing to be mandated. The parks and course openings are the first major change to the stay-at-home orders implemented to slow the COVID-19 spread in the state.

Municipal parks in North Hudson will open gradually in a coordinated effort. The mayors of North Bergen, West New York, Union City, Weehawken, Hoboken and Guttenberg agreed on the collaborative, regional approach to avert a situation in which one municipality opens its parks and those parks quickly become overcrowded by residents from all North Hudson communities. The Jersey Journal

The Kittatinny Point area of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area will remain closed for the near future despite state parks and forests being reopened. The point, owned by the National Park Service, was closed down a couple of weeks before Gov. Phil Murphy closed all state and county parks on April 7. New Jersey Herald

A coalition of educators called for New Jersey to close schools for the rest of the year  to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The New Jersey Leadership for Educational Excellence, a coalition that includes the New Jersey Education Association, the New Jersey Schools Boards Association and the NJ Association of School Administrators, does not believe that districts will be in the position to reopen during the current school year. The Daily Record

New Jersey is now shipping ventilators it received from the federal stockpile to hospitals in other states as coronavirus cases are flattening and the number of hospitalizations falling. New Jersey will send 50 ventilators to Massachusetts, which has started to see a spike in cases, and returning 100 ventilators sent from California earlier this month. PoliticoNJ

Gov. Phil Murphy is scheduled to visit the White House April 30 to meet with President Donald Trump as New Jersey seeks federal help to cope with the health and economic crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. The governor plans to discuss expanding COVID-19 testing and securing federal financial aid for states.

Gig and self-employed workers were to be notified about their eligibility and will begin receiving payments next week. Those workers, which include freelancers, may qualify for a new federal assistance program as The CARES Act expanded benefits for gig workers workers in the U.S., making most eligible for unemployment for 39 weeks, plus an extra weekly $600 benefit that is retroactive to the week ending April 4 and ends the week of July 25. The Record

New Jersey’s push to become the first state to require large companies to pay their workers severance after a mass layoff has been put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. The effective date, due to go into effect in mid-July, has been delayed until 90 days after New Jersey’s state of emergency is lifted. NJ Spotlight

Local supermarkets, grocery stores and restaurants have reported meat shortages as well as more expensive prices for what is available. The coronavirus pandemic has closed at least 13 slaughterhouses and meat processing plants in the nation, including Tyson Foods and Smithfield Foods, as workers have gotten sick or don’t want to work in fear of getting COVID-19. The Record

The attorney for David Wildstein alleges a secret deal with Bridgegate prosecutors would clear his record. The previously undisclosed plan of Wildstein’s plea bargain to federal fraud and civil rights violations would erase that plea if Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni were ever cleared of charges. Federal prosecutors deny the claims. The Record

The High Point Regional High School budget will have a tax increase of 14% due to state aid cuts and anticipated building repair expenses. The district faces a reduction of up to $1.7 million reduction in state aid and needs $670,000 to pay for the removal of an underground oil tank, the maintenance and repair of rooftop heating and air conditioning units, and repairs to the school district’s driveways and parking lots. New Jersey Herald

The Bayonne Board of Education approved the budget for the 2020-21 school year with a 1% tax increase for property owners. The $164.3 million budget includes a $5.4 million increase in teachers’ salaries and $3.9 million for facility upgrades and repairs. The budget features 17 new hires in the district, including four vice principals, three special education teachers, additional guidance counselors and a child study team. The Jersey Journal

And finally…Costco will return to regular hours starting May 4 after the company had operated on a changed schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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