North Jersey News Roundup for Nov. 30, 2020

OPINION: Help Your Fellow Citizens This Holiday Season. We are appealing to the residents of North Jersey to come together like never before and support local charities feeding our fellow citizens. We know this has been a tough year, but we ask if there is a food drive being held by your school, local community group or faith organization, please be over generous this year. There is a real need and it will be the most rewarding gift you can give this holiday season.

Gov. Phil Murphy said a statewide shutdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus is still “on the table” as he warned New Jerseyans are ”in the fight of our lives” over the next three months. A shutdown similar to the moves the governor made in March and April, when the state was hit by the first wave of the pandemic, would be a last resort and that he doesn’t “anticipate it” happening.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says keeping schools open is key, even if it means closing down businesses. “Close the bars and keep the schools open is what we really say,” says Dr. Fauci. “The default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school or to keep them back at school. The best way to ensure the safety of our children in school is to get the community level of spread low.” Dr. Fauci says that community spread, and its impact on hospitals, is reaching a level where another lockdown may be unavoidable in some areas. News12 New Jersey

According to Transportation Safety Administration data, about 800,000 to one million people passed through their checkpoints each day around Thanksgiving. While it is too early to know if holiday travel will affect the virus’s spread, new research suggests that people are most infectious about two days before symptoms begin and for five days afterward, meaning this week will likely be crucial in containment. The New York Times

New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) Commissioner Judith Persichilli will be in isolation until Dec. 8 after being exposed to COVID-19. A staff member in Persichilli’s office recently tested positive for COVID-19. That employee was last in the NJDOH building on Nov. 24 and is currently isolating at home.

Rep. Donald Payne is calling for The CARES Act Fund to be extended as well as better guidance for schools during public health emergencies.  Rep. Payne pointed to testing programs, cleaning regimens and small business support as just a few reasons to extend the deadline of returning unused funds on Dec. 31 to the federal government’s general fund.

All of New Jersey has turned from yellow to orange on the state’s COVID-19 activity map, signaling that all 21 counties should “consider implementing fully remote learning” in their schools, according to state health guidelines. Schools in orange zones are recommended to close or quarantine once a staff or student has “COVID-19 compatible symptoms” like a cough or a fever and has not been tested. Additionally, districts are to begin to “restrict activities” in which students from different classes might come into contact.

Sen. Cory Booker has introduced the Educator Jobs Fund Act of 2020. If passed, Booker’s legislation would fund a $260 billion grant program to be used to pay salaries and benefits for educators, including current, new and former employees who will be rehired as well as more than $100 million in funding for teacher and school leader residency programs, with a focus on minority institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Dozens of demonstrators caravanned across New Jersey on Nov. 28 to support President Donald Trump and criticize Gov. Phil Murphy. The “Stop the Steal” protestors first rallied in Bedminster, near the President’s golf club, refuting the election results, followed by the caravan traveling to Middletown to protest statewide restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 and call for the “reopening” of New Jersey in front of Murphy’s house. New Jersey Herald

Most New Jersey business leaders feel the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will come at a much slower pace than the rest of the country, most not expecting a rebound in 2021, according to a New Jersey Business & Industry Association survey. When asked how New Jersey’s economy will fare in the first six months of 2021, 28% reported it would be better, while 40% said it would be worse. In addition, one in three respondents expect their businesses will continue to lose revenue for the first half of 2021—with 1 in 10 expecting the loss in revenue to continue throughout the entire year.

Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed Daniel’s Law’s amending the Open Public Records Act to exclude from the definition of a government record the address of any active or retired judge, prosecutor, or law enforcement officer. Additionally, government agencies, individuals and businesses will be prohibited from knowingly publishing contact and identifying information of these officials. For those whose information was already published on the internet, the law will allow for them to be removed 72 hours after a written request. The law is named for the son of the U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas who was killed by an individual seeking to harm the judge.

Utilities are resisting a push by the Legislature to enact a law prohibiting them from disconnecting service until six months beyond the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The companies said the already agreed to a moratorium through mid-March is enough in fighting a State Senate bill that would prohibit electric, gas, water or sewer utilities or authorities from increasing rates and require them to offer payment plans at least two years long with no down payment required.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation allowing residents to place wagers using New Jersey’s horse racing account wagering system while in another state. Additionally, State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-36) is a sponsor of a bill amendmending the state constitution to allow wagering on collegiate competitions taking place in New Jersey.

Dumont’s mayor has called for an investigation by borough high school officials after a student screen captured teachers making homophobic remarks on a Zoom class. The group chat, which was captured and posted online, allegedly shows a conversation between Dumont teachers calling out a fellow co-worker for their sexual orientation. The Record

And finally…A stormy Monday is on tap with heavy rain and winds forecast. The Record

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