North Jersey News Roundup for June 3, 2020

State officials unveiled a new metric showcasing the progress New Jersey has made in battling the spread of the coronavirus to a level low enough to safely reopen the state. The virus reproduction rate currently sits at 0.88 as of May 30. In comparison, when the state announced the stay-at-home order on March 21, the rate registered at 5.31.

Gov. Phil Murphy hopes the state will reopen indoor dining with restrictions soon if the coronavirus outbreak continues to steadily decline. “I hope we’re at indoor dining sooner than later…that’s more complicated. Indoors, lacking ventilation, sedentary, close proximity is harder. And we have to accept that,” said Murphy.

Hoboken has developed a reopening plan to expand outdoor retail and dining areas once statewide regulations aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus ease. The city’s plan will establish retail and dining areas in streets closed to vehicular traffic, as well as set up dining areas on sidewalks and in parking spaces. The plan permits retail displays on sidewalks as well. The Jersey Journal has culled together comments by North Jersey Representatives and Senators on the death of George Floyd delivered in the last week, a collection of official statements, social media postings and television appearances to let you hear in their own words their reactions.

Officials in Jersey City want to review police policies and procedures related to enforcement and discrimination. The city’s Council President will propose an ad hoc committee at its next meeting of up to 12 members with representation for all six wards that includes faith leaders, educators, a retired police officer or a judge, and at least three sitting City Council members. The Jersey Journal

“Disgraceful” is how Gov. Phil Murphy described President Donald Trump’s actions after protesters outside the White House were cleared out with tear gas so the president could pose for photos in front of a nearby historic church June 1. “The notion of using tear gas or smoke devices or rubber bullets on peaceful protesters in exchange for a photo op is disgraceful,” said Murphy. PoliticoNJ

Sen. Cory Booker decried the government’s efforts to clear peaceful protesters from in front of the White House so President Donald Trump could visit a nearby church and pose for pictures holding a Bible. “Shame on him to stand and hold up the Bible of our faith, of a man who understood humility, our savior, who stood up against power, who stood up against every instinct that he showed yesterday,” stated Booker.

A majority of Americans do not trust President Donald Trump to provide accurate information about the coronavirus, but many question the veracity of local officials as well, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll. Fifty five percent of those polled had little or no trust in the President to provide accurate information, compared with 28% for government websites, 36% for local officials and 13% for doctors and scientists.

The New Jersey Sierra Club is calling on the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to step in to keep the New Jersey School of Conservation open until a more permanent financial plan can be established. Montclair University, which established the school 70 years ago, announced it could no longer fund the school in part of budget concerns created by the coronavirus pandemic. The School of Conservation is the oldest and third largest resident environmental field center in the world. New Jersey Herald

And finally…Can I interest you in drone footage of a massive humpback whale swimming in New Jersey?

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