Rules for New Jersey Retail Stores to Mirror Those Already Established

With outdoor dining rules established, state officials expanded on how non-essential retail shops will be able to operate.

Gov. Phil Murphy said the arrangements for non-essential stores would follow those in use by essential retail since April 8 at his daily press briefing on June 4.

“We already have good practice with these protocols since they have been in place in our essential retail spaces for nearly two months,” he said. 

June 15 Opening

Non-essential retail doors are allowed to open on June 15, the same day as outdoor dining, as part of the state’s phase 2 opening plan. Rules for hair salon, barber shops, museums and libraries are yet to be announced.

“So long as we continue practicing social distancing, and so long as retailers do all we are requiring of them to protect their stores and their customers, we will take a big step forward in our restart and recovery,” Murphy said.

The state is setting a capacity limit at 50% at each location, face coverings and gloves are mandatory for shoppers and employees, floor markers for social distancing purposes are to be made and stores must regularly sanitize areas used by employees.   

Unanswered Issues

The first-term Democratic governor conceded wearing a face covering to a store where the owner is a friend may seem odd, but it is needed. 

“We have to recognize that this virus remains among us. COVID-19 doesn’t care whether we’re in a supermarket or a bookstore. Social distancing must remain our routine,” said Murphy.

When questioned about the rules about touching merchandise or trying on clothes in stores, officials said they were still working through those issues and would have guidance at a later date.

Daily Data

As of June 4, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 162,520 with 603 new cases and 92 new deaths, bringing that total to 11,970. 

Of the total deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,694, followed by Bergen at 1,603, Hudson with 1,199, Passaic at 954, Morris at 622, Sussex at 149 and Warren with 132. 

State Testing 

The daily rate of infections from those tested as of May 31 rested at 4.2%. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one. By region, the north tested at 3.3%, the central at 3.7% and the south 6.5% on approximately 20,000 tests.

Officials reported 1,982 patients are hospitalized with coronavirus—which included 107 new hospitalizations—while 219 patients were discharged. The north tier had 910 patients hospitalized, the central 583 and the south 489.

“Getting below 2,000 hospitalizations is a milestone for our recovery,” Murphy said. 

Despite trumpeting the milestone, state officials believe there was an error in daily discharge and new hospitalizations by tier reports as both the north and central tiers reported no new hospitalization for June 4. The north did chart 108 discharges and the central 54. The south region reported 33 hospitalizations and 57 discharges.   

Of those hospitalized, 537 are in intensive care units and 489 on ventilators. There are currently 21 patients in field hospitals, with 472 treated overall. 

Hudson Tops County Count

Hudson has the most cumulative cases in the state with 18,465, followed by Bergen at 18,408, Essex at 17,912, Passaic at 16,311, Middlesex at 16,072, Union at 15,953, Ocean at 8,900, Monmouth at 8,379, Mercer at 7,072, Camden at 6,663, Morris at 6,548, Burlington at 4,725, Somerset at 4,626, Cumberland at 2,469, Gloucester at 2,290, Atlantic at 2,286, Warren at 1,186, Sussex at 1,131, Hunterdon at 1,009, Salem at 659 and Cape May at 630.

Another 836 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

Demographic Breakdown

The racial breakdown of the record deaths was 53% White, 19% Black, 19% Hispanic, 5% Asian and 3% another race. Murphy has noted the rates in the black and Hispanic communities are running about 50% more than their population in the state. 

In regards to the underlying disease of those who have passed, 59% had cardiovascular disease, 43% diabetes, 32% other chronic diseases, 17% neurological conditions, 15% chronic renal disease, 10% cancer and 14% other. Persichilli has stated most cases have multiple underlying conditions which would push the percentage of 100%.

A census of ages for 9,941 confirmed deaths shows 47% of deaths are of those 80 year old and up, 33% in the range of 65-80, 16% between 50-65 and 4% under the age of 49. 

State officials are tracking cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children who in turn  test positive for COVID-19. As of June 4, the total cases increased by one to 35 for children ranging in age from 1-18. Of the 35, all have  tested positive for COVID-19 or have antibodies in their blood and six are currently hospitalized. No deaths have been reported from the disease. 

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli stated “black children account for a disproportionately high number” on a national scale. While only a small sample, Persichilli reported the racial breakdown in New Jersey was 23% White, 27% Black, 40% Hispanic, 7% Asian and 3% other.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 547 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19 and accounted for 33,857 of the cases, broken down between 22,737 residents and 11,220 staff. The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, which was 5,286 on June 4. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,061 residents deaths and 108 staff deaths. 

In a by-county breakdown:  

Bergen County

  • 63  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 3183 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 1632 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 909  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 11  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Essex County

  • 46  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 2120 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 990 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 556  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 19  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Morris County 

  • 42  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1383 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 668 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 453  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 3  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Passaic County 

  • 25  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1169 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 681 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 359  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 13  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Hudson County 

  • 15  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 991 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 516 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 232  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 7  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Sussex County 

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 250 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 135 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 107  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 4  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Warren County 

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 405 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 130 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 111  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 1  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

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