North Jersey News Roundup for Sept. 1, 2020

Indoor dining and movie theaters will be able to reopen for the Labor Day weekend. Starting Sept. 4, indoor capacity at restaurants will be capped at 25%, tables must be at least six feet apart, masks are to be worn by staff at all times, parties are capped at eight people, and restaurants will have to take steps to assure their facilities are properly ventilated, with windows left open and air conditioning units positioned in a manner that maximizes airflow.

Gym opened at 6 a.m. today at 25% capacity. Among the protocols that have to be adhered to include masks must be worn inside by staff and members at all times, each gym will have to keep a log of anyone who visits the gym to help with contact tracing, and equipment must be kept at least six feet apart. News12 New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy increased the capacity limits for indoor gatherings for religious services and celebrations, weddings, funerals, memorial services, and political activities beginning this Friday. Indoor gathering will now will be capped at the lesser of either 25% capacity or 150 individuals, an increase from the current limit of 25% capacity with a cap of 100.

Memorial services for 9/11 should go on with measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to Gov. Phil Murphy. “Without question, that’s something we strongly support. We lost 704 residents of the state on that one day and we’ll never forget that,” Murphy said. “Do it with the stuff that you’ve been hearing about from us for 5 1/2 months: social distancing, face coverings, adhering to whatever limits there are on gatherings, strong preference to do it outdoors.”

Joe Biden issued a rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s claim that the former vice president would preside over a nation overwhelmed by disorder and lawlessness, asserting that it was the President who had made the country unsafe through his erratic and incendiary governing style. Biden condemned the violence that has erupted amid largely peaceful protests over racial injustice, and noted that the chaos was occurring on the President’s watch, making things worse by stoking division amid a national outcry over racism and police brutality. Meanwhile, President Trump will visit Kenosha, WI  over the objections of local leaders. Trump has defended a teenage supporter accused of fatally shooting two men in Kenosha while passing up the opportunity to meet with Jacob Blake’s family . The New York Times

Businesses across North Jersey that shuttered during the lockdown are taking their insurance companies to court, arguing that their financial losses should be covered through “business interruption insurance,” a common provision in commercial insurance policies that provides replacement for income lost in a disaster. Insurance companies are countering that argument, pointing to specific language in the policies that only trigger coverage for “direct physical damage” to a business and that forcing insurers to pay out on claims they never intended to cover would cost hundreds of billions and wreak havoc on the insurance industry.  The Record

Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a package of bills to conduct the November general election almost entirely by mail in New Jersey. The three new laws require county Boards of Elections to establish drop boxes in each county at least 45 days before the election, modify and establish various voting procedures and extend ballot receipt and election certification deadlines.

Frankford Township passed a resolution citing “grave” concerns about the potential for voter fraud stemming from the upcoming vote-by-mail general election being conducted to limit the spread of COVID-19. Frankford’s mayor said he doesn’t understand why in-person voting is more of a health risk than allowing people to shop at their local supermarket or big box retailer. New Jersey Herald

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey and the New Jersey NAACP have filed a motion to intervene in Trump v. Murphy, a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign challenging Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order mandating a general election conducted primarily through vote-by-mail ballots. The two organizations are backing up Murphy and the state, writing “(The) LWVNJ and NJ NAACP have advocated on behalf of their members to the State of New Jersey to expand access to vote-by-mail in light of the pandemic,” their motion states. New Jersey Globe

Two GOP North Jersey lawmakers are calling for the creation of a Senate Select Committee with subpoena power to investigate the actions of long-term care facilities and the Murphy Administration to the coronavirus pandemic. “To fully understand the decisions that led to the disaster within the walls of the state’s nursing homes and to develop all of the necessary reforms demands a special investigative committee with subpoena power,” State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-40).. 

In areas patrolled by the New Jersey State Police, pursuits are up 50% increase over the same time in 2019 and on track to have the highest number of pursuits in history, said Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan. The number of pursuits New Jersey State Police have been involved in has totaled 153 this year, up from 102 at the same time last year. Additionally, accident crashes are up 34% and fatalities 10%.

Secaucus students are the only public school students in Hudson County who will begin returning to their classrooms on their first day of instruction Sept. 9. Hoboken students will start remotely for one week before those who opted to attend in person head to school buildings Sept. 21. In Weehawken and at the Hudson County Schools of Technology, a first group of students will be welcomed back on Sept. 28. They are the only other districts with current plans to open in September. The Jersey Journal

And finally…Hundreds of mourners honored fallen K-9 Jada at a Hackettstown memorial service. New Jersey Herald

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