North Jersey News Roundup for June 15, 2020

The Murphy Administration released a survey it says shows while businesses are eager to reopen, owners are taking the public health risks posed by COVID-19 seriously and the responsibility to provide a safe experience for employees and customers. Fifty-one percent of owners cited consumer confidence as their most pressing issue, while 13% cited access to personal protective equipment as their biggest concern.

Today begins Phase 2 of reopening the economy in New Jersey. Outdoor dining is allowed, childcare centers can reopen and non-essential retail stores can welcome shoppers all under social distancing rules and other COVID-19 guidelines provided by the state. News12 New Jersey

President Donald Trump announced June 12 he has “given authorization to proceed” on replacing the 110-year-old Portal North Bridge shortly after dining with Gov. Phil Murphy. While Trump has no direct control in approving the $1.8 billion project, his public endorsement is a signal to federal transportation officials that they should move ahead with funding. The Wall Street Journal

The $600 additional weekly unemployment benefit for those who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic will end in late July, reiterated National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow June 14. Kudlow said the Trump administration is instead “looking at a reform measure” that will provide an incentive for returning to work, but it will not be as substantial. PoliticoNJ

New Jersey sales tax collections slid 29% in May, the third straight month of declines, as the coronavirus pandemic slowed buying and many businesses remained closed. In its monthly revenue update, the state’s Treasury Department reported May’s slowdown pushed sales tax revenue into negative territory for the first 11 months of the fiscal year. All tax collections were down 13.5% in May, as nearly every major tax declined compared with the same month in 2019.

A state judge issued a temporary injunction blocking the Asbury Park indoor dining plan set to go into effect June 15. This was the first time Gov. Phil Murphy used the Attorney General to go to court to apply an executive order stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. Violations up until now have been enforced through summonses decided by local officials.

July 4th fireworks displays were among more than a half-dozen clarifications the Murphy administration published June 14 as the state is set to enter Stage 2 of the multiphase reopening plan. The state clarified rules for curbside pickup for libraries, yard sales, real estate open houses and car washes as well. The Record

Sen. Cory Booker warned against any weakening of the Justice in Policing Act designed to curb police brutality. Booker pushed back against Republican objections to the measure, which would increase accountability for police misconduct, ban chokeholds, set up a national database of use of force incidents, ban racial and religious profiling, and increase training.

Andover Subacute owners contend patients’ medical conditions during the coronavirus pandemic led to their deaths and not any failure by the facility to properly handle the COVID-19 crisis, in legal briefs recently filed in response to lawsuits by family members who have alleged gross negligence, wrongful death and medical malpractice. The home’s owners said they and their employees demonstrated “requisite skill, discretion and judgment” in performing their job duties. New Jersey Herald

New Jersey has now lost more residents to complications related to the coronavirus than the number of its residents who perished in World War II. State officials reported June 14 there have now been 12,625 known deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the Garden State in the 103 days since the outbreak here started. By comparison, 12,565 New Jersey service members died in four years in World War II.

Claiming systemic voter disenfranchisement, Bill McKoy has filed a legal challenge to the May 12 election for city council in Paterson’s 3rd Ward and wants a judge to order a new election. McKoy, who trails Alex Mendez by 240 votes after a recount, in a filing states that the number of legal votes rejected and illegal votes accepted exceeds the number of votes separating the candidates, and thus are sufficient to change the result of the election. New Jersey Globe

And finally… Consumers are spending their vacation money on such items as pools and motor homes due to coronavirus. The Record

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