North Jersey News Roundup for Oct. 27, 2020

New Jerseyans seem less confident in the safety of a potential coronavirus vaccine following President Donald Trump’s promise that one would be available soon. A majority of New Jersey’s adults—55%—said they would probably or definitely get the vaccine when available, dropping from 63% in June. Additionally, 72% of those surveyed believed mask wearing in public should be mandatory, unchanged from June. Only 21% said face coverings should be optional.

New Jersey will aim to have 70% of its adult population vaccinated within a six-month period once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved and available. By comparison, about 50% of New Jersey’s population receives the flu vaccine, and a little more than 70% of those are children. A coronavirus vaccine is not expected to be mandatory but Gov. Phil Murphy stressed “we’ve got to make sure vaccine compliance is high.”

Gov. Phil Murphy returned to work at his office after a fourth negative coronavirus test following possible exposure to the virus. Murphy said he will avoid in-person public events for the rest of the week as COVID-19 cases surge across the state. NJ Spotlight News

A resident at the New Jersey Veterans Home at Paramus has tested positive for COVID-19, the first case at the home in months. At least 60 residents have been tested and are awaiting results to see if there is an outbreak, the first for the long-term care facility that reported 89 resident deaths and 203 residents and staff infected this Spring. Families were told all visits have been canceled for at least 28 days along with communal dining and hair cutting services. The Record

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka ordered non-essential businesses and restaurants in Newark to close their doors at 8 p.m., effective Oct. 27 due to the surge in coronavirus cases. Beauty salons, nail salons and barbershops will only be able to offer their services by appointment, while gyms and health clubs were ordered to close for at least 30 minutes each day for sanitization. The state is assisting the city’s attempt to reduce the spread of the coronavirus by bolstering contact tracing and testing capacity in the city. PoliticoNJ

Cuban Pete’s in Montclair was shut down Oct. 26 after repeatedly ignoring state-mandated COVID-19-related indoor dining rules. The restaurant was either warned or received citations for violations of the executive orders a total of 10 times between June 23 and Oct. 4. Authorities from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Sheriff’s Office and Montclair Police Department conducted an operation at Cuban Pete’s at 4:45 a.m. that ended with locks of the restaurant being changed. The Record

Passaic Valley Regional High School switched to all-remote instruction for two weeks after a custodian reported on Oct. 24 testing positive for COVID-19. The custodian, who worked the night shift and had limited contact with teachers and other staff and none with students, required the quarantining of the night crew, a teacher and two school secretaries. As a result, the school did not have the custodial staff to clean the school to the protocols set in place. The Record

The Sussex County business owner who filed a lawsuit against Gov. Phil Murphy over his shutdown orders says the gym will be closing its doors at the end of October. In September, Darlene Pallay, owner of CKO Kickboxing Franklin in Franklin Borough filed the lawsuit claiming that Murphy violated a portion of the state’s Disaster Control Act by not establishing an emergency compensation board for each county to “award reasonable compensation” to anyone whose services have been “taken or used.” News12 New Jersey

New Jersey small businesses did a great job reaching out and accessing coronavirus aid money, according to a U.S. Small Business Administration official. The agency has approved more than 120,000 Economic Injury Disaster loans totaling $7 billion to Garden State small business owners that have suffered revenue loss due to COVID-19 as well as 157,000 companies have accessed almost $18 billion in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed on Oct. 26 to the U.S. Supreme Court. The vote was 52 to 48, with all but one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, supporting her. It was the first time in 151 years that a justice was confirmed without the support of a single member of the minority party. The New York Times

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to allow pandemic-related changes to voting rules in Wisconsin, a move that means mail-in ballots must be received by Election Day. The high court reversed a U.S. District Judge who ruled the crush of absentee voters would overwhelm Wisconsin election officials, ordering a six-day extension for the receipt of mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day and allowed for the electronic delivery of absentee ballots if a voter didn’t receive one in the mail as requested. The Wall Street Journal

The sharpest exchange during the Rep. Josh Gottheimer and GOP Frank Pallotta debate on Oct. 25 was when Pallotta would not denounce the Oath Keepers, an organization designated by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness as domestic terrorists. Pallotta denied the assertion that the Oath Keepers are a right wing terrorist group, saying he “stands by them.”

Speaker of the Assembly Craig Coughlin and State Senate President Steve Sweeney are supporting spending $58 million dollars to equip cops statewide with body cameras. Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed two bills dealing with body cameras, partially because one of the proposals didn’t set aside enough money to buy an estimated 26,000 new cameras. The money should be enough to cover the equipment and initial storage costs for every department in the state, but it would not necessarily pay for ongoing maintenance.

Hoboken introduced an ordinance that would fine disorderly indoor gatherings from $250 to $1,000 if they fill rooms at more than 25% capacity. According to the city’s mayor, the ordinance is meant to address a substantial health and safety issue of unruly house parties as it relates to COVID-19 spread. The Jersey Journal

And finally…The drive-thru South Jersey Holiday Light Show will debut on Nov. 19, a COVID-safe, seven-week event that organizers say will attract up to 100,000 visitors.

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