North Jersey News Roundup for May 22, 2020

State officials defended their actions as criticisms intensified on the way New Jersey handled the outbreak of the coronavirus in long-term care facilities. New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli laid out the timeline of 18 guidance and actions the department undertook with long-term care facilities beginning March 4, stating she wanted to clear up any inconsistencies.

Medics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will remain at state veterans homes through the month of June. Forty additional clinical staff from the VA will be deployed to private nursing homes as well.

New Jersey lost more than 750,000 jobs and its unemployment rate soared to a record 15.3% in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state labor department reported 42,365 New Jerseyans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total number of new claims filed over the past nine weeks to 1.13 million. PoliticoNJ

A policy change will allow New Jersey government workers to take voluntary furloughs to avert layoffs. The state’s Civil Service Commission suspended a restriction that employees may only take voluntary furloughs exceeding 30 days for educational purposes or care for family.

More indoor businesses such as barbershops, salons and gyms may be allowed to reopen, with restrictions, in “a matter of weeks, not months,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. Murphy is hopeful schools will be able to physically reopen for the beginning of the next academic year in September with more information expected by to mid-June at the latest.

New Jersey Republicans are suing Gov. Phil Murphy to reopen small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit filed in state Superior Court claims the governor was out of bounds when he “arbitrarily” decided some businesses were not essential and has caused “irreparable harm to innumerable small businesses.” The Record

Newark unveiled plans to reopen the city in two week phases following the coronavirus outbreak. Phase 1 starts on June 1 when businesses can prepare to reopen and the city easing lockdown restrictions, but residents will still be required to wear face coverings in public. Businesses should be able to start to reopen by June 14 or 15 when Phase 2 begins. News12 New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection released a new alert system for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). The five-level warning system begins with a “Watch” when testing shows cell counts over 20,000. The levels progress through Alert and Advisory levels which are triggered by higher cell counts and levels of toxins. New Jersey Herald

The Jersey City Council adopted an ordinance allowing installation of 5G technology. Cross River Fiber LLC is permitted to install high-capacity fiber optic cables on existing utility poles and the installation of 72 new utility poles supporting the infrastructure for a 5G network in the city. The Jersey Journal

And finally…The weather forecast for Memorial Day Weekend starts with rain but the sun is expected to shine Sunday and Monday.

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