North Jersey News Roundup for Oct. 29, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations passed 1,000 for the first time since July in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy admitted frustrations when it comes to contact tracing cooperation. Murphy has proposed the issue for those being contacted is the belief they would be betraying friends hosting indoor gatherings and would rather inform their contacts themselves. “I think the contact tracer refusal to pick up is folks not wanting to rat people out, including maybe their own kids, or somebody’s restaurant they were in or someone’s club,” said the governor.

New Jersey is mandating private and public employers implement uniform health and safety standards to protect all workers against the coronavirus. Going into effect Nov. 5, the new rules include workers keeping at least 6 feet from each other to the maximum extent possible, workers and visitors wearing a face mask, employers providing masks and sanitizing materials to workers at the company’s expense and daily health checks of workers, including temperature screenings.

Paterson will require businesses in the city, including bars and restaurants, to close each day at midnight as the number of new COVID-19 cases in the city has jumped to its highest level since June. The curfew allows gas stations to remain open to dispense gasoline, but they must close their convenience stores. Restaurants may remain open after midnight for pickup and deliveries, under the order. The Record 

Dover schools will remain virtual until 2021 as the town has reported more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks. Students will remain fully remote until the first week of January as the school works on 11 alternative spaces for learning at Academy Street, North Dover and Dover High School schools to prepare for a return to in-person learning. The Daily Record

Mahwah Public Schools will utilize snow days in the event of inclement weather, despite the district using a hybrid system during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have decided that few childhood acts remain unchanged due to COVID-19 and we will maintain the hope of children by calling actual snow days due to inclement weather. Snow days are chances for on-site learners and virtual learners to just be kids by playing in the snow, baking cookies, reading books and watching a good movie,” the district said in a statement. News 12 New Jersey

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled officials in Pennsylvania and North Carolina can accept absentee ballots for several days after Election Day. In the Pennsylvania case, the court refused a plea from Republicans in the state that it would decide before Election Day whether election officials can continue receiving absentee ballots for three days after Nov. 3. Meanwhile, the court let stand lower court rulings In the North Carolina case allowing the state’s board of elections to extend the deadline to nine days after Election Day, up from the three days called for by the state legislature. The New York Times

Democrats still hold a significant edge over Republicans on returned vote-by-ballots in New Jersey, but the GOP is beginning to narrow a much wider 2-1 gap that existed just a few days ago. Election officials had received 2,799,994 mail-in ballots as of Oct. 28 morning, a turnout of 46% statewide. So far, 47.3% of all votes cast have come from Democrats. Republicans have returned 25.6% of the ballots, while 26.5% of them have come from voters unaffiliated with any political party. New Jersey Globe

State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25) and Democratic challenger Rupande Mehta picked apart each other’s record during their debate Oct. 25 in attempting to make the case who is best to serve the residents of Morris and Somerset counties in the 25th District. In the race for the only State Senate election being held Nov. 3,  Bucco portrayed himself as an experienced legislature that has worked with both sides of the aisle, while Mehta is running because “I believe that representation matters and Anthony Bucco is failing us.”

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) will allow drivers to make appointments to renew a registration that can’t be done online. The addition comes five days after the NJMVC announced drivers could make appointments to register and title vehicles bought from private parties, or to transfer out of state licenses, both of which must be done in person.

Jersey Central Power & Light received permission from the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to increase electric rates but under a settlement the hike was cut nearly in half and delayed by a year. JCP&L filed in February for a $187 million rate increase that has been cut to $94 million. The change won’t take effect until Nov. 1, 2021, and will raise the typical customer’s bill by $4.53 a month, which is $4.20 less than first proposed.

New Jersey would develop an infection prevention and control plan for the state’s nursing homes under legislation authorized by State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3). Under the legislation, the state would conduct an assessment of current safety protocols in order to find upgrades needed for the system, while a companion bill would have the state’s health officials develop an infectious disease instructional program for Garden State long-term care facilities.

Englewood’s police union called the use of force by officers “appropriate and completely necessary” in a clash at a Black Lives Matters rally last weekend that resulted in four arrests.  The union expressed disappointment in Mayor Michael Wildes, who it says has “consistently chosen to play both sides against the middle” and it said it would welcome an independent investigation. The Record

And finally…Teaneck teen singer Olivia Reyes joined John Legend’s team on ‘The Voice.’ The Record

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