North Jersey News Roundup for May 19, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy outlined a multi-stage reopening plan for businesses, offices and activities ordered closed to slow the coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey. The five-stage plan includes “Stage 0” when the maximum restrictions of near-lockdown orders were in place, and a final stage he referred to as a “new normal” when a vaccine is widely available. The state is currently in Stage 1, allowing for relaxed restrictions on low-risk activities, like parks, beaches and lakefronts.

Four to six weeks before New Jersey announced its first coronavirus patient on March 4, the virus was already circulating in the state, experts now say. Researchers have discovered coronavirus cases and deaths in the state that went undetected in the early stages of the crisis, helping build a more complete timeline.

The state Senate plans to hold hearings examining the state’s handling of coronavirus outbreaks in long-term care facilities and prisons. Senate President Steve Sweeney called the situation in nursing homes “a disaster” made worse by a directive barring them from excluding patients with COVID-19.

New Jersey continued its expansion of reopening private outdoor facilities closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Beginning May 22, businesses allowed to open include batting cages, golf ranges, shooting and archery ranges, horseback riding, private tennis clubs and community gardens. Additionally, the state will allow golfers to tee-off in foursomes, as opposed to in pairs.

State officials said it was a “decent weekend” on the Jersey Shore when it comes to residents practicing social distancing on beaches and boardwalks and there’s no reason to pull back on reopening plans for the crucial Memorial Day weekend kickoff to the summer. Gov. Phil Murphy would like to see more people wearing face coverings outdoors, particularly a “big concern” on boardwalks.

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey, NAACP New Jersey State Conference and a disabled voter filed a complaint alleging New Jersey’s current law regarding the verification of vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots violates both the 1st and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court contends the state disenfranchises thousands of voters every year by a system that allows county officials to reject a VBM ballot when a signature does not match the one on file without telling the voter and giving him a chance to prove he voted, as some other states do. NJ Spotlight

New Jersey drivers will get another two-month extension on expiring licenses, registrations, inspection stickers and temporary tags due to the coronavirus, state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) officials. License, registration, inspection sticker or temporary tag expiring between March 13 and May 31, now expire on July 31. Documents expiring June 30 are extended two months to Aug. 31, and those expiring July 31 are extended to Sept. 30, officials said. The Daily Record

Paterson is looking for volunteers to participate in a new COVID-19 emergency response initiative the city is launching with the Citizens Campaign nonprofit group. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members would distribute protective masks, meals and quarantine kits as well as assist the Paterson Health Department with contact tracing involving city residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Record

The state Department of Education has struck down Montague’s tax increase to 2.52% from 4.2%. The state vetoed a proposed $125,000 expenditure for an LED lighting project but allowed additional items to remain for an early childhood aide as well as for an air conditioning vent replacement project described as a safety matter. The school board further agreed in principle to consider cutting after-school athletic programs as well as a late bus to High Point Regional High School. New Jersey Herald

Hanover approved a capital expenditure of $1.11 million intended to enhance and modernize the high-tech infrastructure supporting all platforms of municipal departments, buildings, parks and recreation facilities. The initiative, planned to be executed in three phases to be separately funded over several years, will see the upgrade of all municipal radio systems, including police, emergency management and public works. The Daily Record

And finally…For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast as the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by COVID-19.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.