North Jersey News Roundup for Nov. 19, 2020

Coming off a recent White House coronavirus meeting, Gov. Phil Murphy believes the exclusion of President-elect Joe Biden’s team must come to an end as the numbers in New Jersey continue to worsen. “The fact that the Biden…transition team is being blocked out from being in those discussions is putting lives at risk,” said Murphy. “You can’t just saunter in on Jan. 20 and pick up the playbook and execute it.”

Seven northeast governors are calling on colleges and universities in their states to provide COVID-19 tests for all students traveling home for Thanksgiving. The governors of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are encouraging residential colleges and universities in their respective states to make tests widely available to traveling students before they leave campus and to double down on isolation and quarantine efforts for those students who test positive. PoliticoNJ

Certain businesses in Hoboken will be required to record customer information for contact tracing purposes, starting Nov. 20. The businesses include restaurants, bars, gyms, wellness establishments, fitness studios, salons, and health clubs. The information will only be shared with the Hoboken Health Department in the event of a positive COVID-19 case. News12 New Jersey

Bergen County is partnering with Bergen New Bridge Medical Center to extend its fall COVID-19 testing program to Nov. 24. The nasal swab antigen testing will be administered to those who register for the event, which will take place on the campus of Bergen County Technical High School in Paramus, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Those who wish to attend must register with New Bridge Medical Center beforehand. Capacity is limited to 500 people. The Record

With 170,161 new cases, more than 11.5 million people in the U.S. have been confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus so far, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations hit another record, with 79,410 people hospitalized because of the disease as of Nov. 18 as did the number of people in intensive care at 15,350. The total of deaths stands at 250,409. The Wall Street Journal

About 40% of New Jerseyans will “probably” or “definitely” not get vaccinated against COVID-19 despite surging caseloads across the nation, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. The percentage varied between 36% and 47% depending on how the question was deployed. Among those who were reluctant to get vaccinated, 80% were worried about side effects; meanwhile, 82% said they needed more information about how the vaccine would work.

A Monmouth University Poll found 60% of Americans agree that President-elect Joe Biden won the election fair and square, with 32% saying the vote was fraudulent. In addition, 60% said they were confident that the election was fair and accurate, with 42% expressing little or no confidence. In contrast, 81% of President Donald Trump voters said they had little or no confidence in the election’s fairness, and 77% said President-elect Biden won because of fraud.

Voting irregularities in Essex County documented by a GOP Congressional candidate have been  referred to the U.S. Justice Department. Rosemary Becchi, the Republican candidate for New Jersey’s 11th congressional district against Rep. Mikie Sherrill, delivered a 31 page report to U.S. State’s Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey citing inconsistent procedures, lack of ballot integrity and security, and unresponsiveness from the Essex County Board of Elections. The municipalities cited in the report include Bloomfield, Livingston, Newark, Nutley, Roseland, West Caldwell and West Orange.

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7) raised his margin in his successful re-election bid against Republican Tom Kean, Jr. to 5,222 after receiving an additional 72 votes from Essex County. Millburn, the only Essex municipality in New Jersey’s 7th district, added 261 more votes for Malinowski and 189 for Kean after the last of the provisional ballots were counted. Malinowski now leads Kean, 215,943 to 210,721. New Jersey Globe

New Jersey’s tax collections in October were more than 5% lower than the same month a year earlier but higher than Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration projections, according to the state’s Department of Treasury. Revenues in the first four months of the fiscal year 2019 by $673 million, or 7.7%. NJ Spotlight News

Following news that Mondelez International Bakery may shutter its factory in Fair Lawn, local officials are urging the company to reconsider. On Nov. 16, Rep. Josh Gottheimer and Fair Lawn Mayor Kurt Peluso met with Mondelez management and union representatives to discuss the potential closure. Mondelez, which manufactures brands like Oreo, Chips Ahoy! and Ritz, is in the preliminary stages of mulling a closure sometime in 2021 of its factory on Route 208, a decision that would cause 600 employees to lose their jobs.

The Wayne Township Council signed off on a deal for construction of 244 apartments at the Preakness shopping center. The four-story complex, which will have 37 affordable-housing units, will be built on the far north end of the property, between the former Macy’s department store and Alps Road. The project will include a seven-deck parking garage, with 366 spots. The Record

The Jersey City Free Public Library will receive $10 million to complete the final phase of a historic renovation and expansion project that began in 2014. The project at the main library, the largest municipal library in the state, will get $5 million from the Library Construction Bond Act and the city will match the amount. The renovation project will incorporate community input for various improvements, including expanding community space, adding public computer terminals, and modernizing technology throughout the Main Library building. The Jersey Journal

And finally…Two North Jersey GOP lawmakers want to bring back 1980s blue license plates to the Garden State.

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