Earlier in the day, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis found usually busy restaurants empty.
A sign at Panera Bread read, “Our dining room is temporarily closed.” Starbucks was open, but it was grab-and-go, no tables or seats.
It’s all to encourage social distancing in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“I think it’s good so it doesn’t spread, but at the same time I think that all businesses are going to suffer now from it,” resident Diana Marteinelli told DeAngelis.
“I think it’s a little crazy, but I think it’s the precautious thing to do. I think you never know how bad it could get. So I think it’s good that Hoboken is taking the steps to just make sure everyone is safe,” said Martha Masiarz, whose boyfriend lives in the city.
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Effective Sunday morning, Mayor Ravi Bhalla mandated that restaurants only offer take-out or delivery, and said bars that don’t serve food must close.
The roughly 300 establishments were already down 30% to 50% this week. Now, they are weighing layoffs and scrambling to ramp up their delivery offerings.
“We’re going to come up with a menu that’s going to be a small menu, you know, six or seven items,” said Juan Mendoza, who owns Amanda’s restaurant on Washington Street.
“We’re going to use the staff that we have to do the deliveries,” said Travis Young, owner of Elysian Café. “If we have the business, they can work.”
“Other restauranteurs that are here want the community to know we are going to be open for business,” Hoboken Business Alliance President Eugene Flinn said.
Hoboken’s mayor and police chief say the move is necessary after officers responded to more than 100 calls in a six-hour period Sunday night – mostly at bars. One ambulance took 30 minutes.
“People came to the city yesterday and the night before almost like we were on an oasis and that the pandemic isn’t touching here,” said Police Chief Ken Ferrante.
“There’s a segment of the population that doesn’t understand even though they might be very immune to the virus, they have the ability to carry that virus to their parents,” Bhalla added.
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This comes as the fourth person, a woman in her 40s, tested positive for the virus. She is under observation in the hospital, and her family is in self-quarantine as a precaution.
Officials believe the number of cases will rise, especially if people don’t start taking social distancing seriously.
The Office of Emergency Management has already directed Hoboken schools to close for two weeks. Gyms, health clubs, day cares and movie theaters are also shut down.
Many people DeAngelis spoke to were on board.
“We’re going to get through it, we’re a very resilient nation,” said resident Kim Fletcher. “If we have to do some things that are a little painful and tough to get through it, I think we just all need to do it to be safe.”
The nightly curfew means people must stay home from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. There are two exceptions: If you are required to work and, of course, emergencies.
Hoboken’s numbers pale in comparison to Bergen County, where 40% of the state’s cases are located.
Teaneck has the majority of the cases, and the mayor is asking all residents to self-quarantine and only leave their homes for food, medicine and work.
“The steps that Teaneck are taking now, all residents should prepare themselves for these and more,” said Bergen County Executive James Tedesco.
In Newark, University Hospital announced an employee has the virus. Coworkers are now being quarantined, and patients are being contacted.
“It has hit home here in the city of Newark,” Mayor Ras Baraka said.
A resident in his 50s also tested positive and is in self-quarantine at home, as he is asymptomatic.
The mayor signed an executive order putting a moratorium on rent evictions and extended tax deadlines by 60 days.
Even though schools are closed, Baraka said he’s keeping libraries and recreational centers open. He’s also contemplating a curfew for businesses.
“Obviously, if we say close at 10, that doesn’t mean they can’t contract the coronavirus at 7 or 8 or 9,” he said. “If you see it’s a crowded bar, pick another bar. If you go to a place and it’s 250 people in there, don’t go. As a matter of fact, cook at home.”
Essex County’s executive said he would like to have at least two mobile testing sites, but has been told by the governor’s administration the focus right now is setting one up in Bergen County.
Jersey City also shut down several establishments starting at noon Monday. Restaurants will only be allowed to serve take-out, delivery or drive-through meals.
Bars and nightclubs that do not serve food will be closed, along with movie theaters, performance centers, gyms, salons, day care facilities and non-urgent medical officers, like dentists, chiropractors and physical therapy clinics.
The coronavirus has also forced the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission agency and road testing facilities to close for the next two weeks. Drivers licenses, non-driver IDs, vehicle registrations and inspecting stickers expiring before May 31 have been extended by two months. Most renewals, address changes and other transactions can be processed online.