North Jersey News Roundup for May 6, 2020

With calls increasingly coming from leaders of both political parties in the state to reopen New Jersey’s economy sooner than later, Gov. Phil Murphy forcefully defended the actions he has taken to this point in managing the coronavirus crisis. “No one wants that to happen more than I do,” the governor stated at his daily briefing on May 5. “But we’ve got to do that right.” Additionally, Murphy announced the state received new guidance from the U.S. Treasury allowing it more flexibility on how New Jersey can use the $2.4 billion in CARES Act funding.

Gov. Phil Murphy said he wants to be on the side of trying to “save every life we can” when it comes to deciding to lift restrictions in New Jersey to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The governor argued the choice of when to restart the economy can be achieved by taking responsible steps and at the same time “fight for every precious life.”

Residents of New Jersey are more on board with waiting several weeks before “reopening the economy” than residents in nearly every other state in the country, according to a 50-state survey conducted by Rutgers University. Six percent of New Jersey respondents said the country should immediately reopen the economy and resume business activity, 33% said this shouldn’t occur for more than eight weeks and 20% said six to eight weeks.

Recent nursing school graduates can now earn emergency licenses before they pass their exams to help New Jersey fight the coronavirus. Physician assistants, pharmacists and respiratory care therapists may apply online for free for the temporary emergency licenses as well. Anyone who applies within six months of graduating is eligible.

State Senate President Steve Sweeney said he needs more information from Gov. Phil Murphy about his borrowing plan. Sweeney specifically wants to know how much is needed and what the proceeds will be used for before moving forward. NJ Spotlight 

The Archdiocese of Newark has established a gradual plan for reopening its cemeteries for visitation during the coronavirus pandemic. All archdiocesan cemeteries will be open to visitors on Sundays beginning May 10. Beginning May 18, visitation will expand to 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, allowing the public to visit the cemeteries after all interments are completed. Additionally, attendance for burial services will increase to 10 family members, beginning with services held on May 11.

Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus is now providing COVID-19 antibody testing to determine whether someone has been exposed to, or potentially had the virus, and developed the antibodies to fight the infection. The hospital’s laboratory is accepting walk-ins with and without a physician’s prescription. The cost for those who come to their appointment without a prescription or insurance is $95. Hudson Reporter

An Englewood public works employee is suing over alleged retaliation by his superiors after complaining about hazardous working conditions related to COVID-19. The lawsuit claims the worker was placed on a leave of absence after a co-worker tested positive for the coronavirus amounted to “disparate and retaliatory treatment” since no other employees, including those who had direct contact with the worker who tested positive, were not. The Record

NJ Transit is installing 14 next-generation ticket machines that will read contactless credit and debit cards and smartphone wallets. The new machines will be tested and assessed before the agency decides to continue the process by replacing 24 more ticket vending machines.

The New Jersey Supreme Court dismissed Hoboken’s argument two ordinances passed after the Monarch at Shipyard project received approval in 2011 from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection prohibited the project. The ruling comes after the developer, Applied Development Company, reached a settlement in July 2019 to move the project to the city Department of Public Works site. The Jersey Journal

Former President Barack Obama will deliver a televised prime-time commencement address for the high school Class of 2020 during an hour-long event that will also feature LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai and Ben Platt, among others. ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC will simultaneously air the special May 16 at 8 p.m. News12 New Jersey

And finally….The drop in gas prices to under $2 a gallon is not solely because of the coronavirus. The Record

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