NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — As New Jersey deals with a spike in COVID-19 cases, Newark is heading into a 2nd wave lockdown.
There are fears other hotspots in the state could soon follow, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Monday.
The fall surge hit Newark hard, leaving Mayor Ras Baraka no choice but to enforce restrictions, once again.
Starting Tuesday, all Newark businesses, except grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, must close at 8 p.m. Restaurants can continue outdoor dining until 11 p.m.
All municipal employees will be tested as the infection rate soared to 11.2%, compared to 5.3% statewide.
Baraka blamed “COVID-19 fatigue.”
Gov. Phil Murphy said the same problem is happening statewide, with the majority of cases caused by private indoor gatherings.
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During Murphy’s virtual press conference, Baker asked, “Do you think that the entire state is heading in that direction, or how many cases would it take to have the entire state take a step back like Newark is doing?”
“I continue to believe, Meg, that there is not a blunt instrument, statewide step that we believe would effectively chop these numbers back down,” Murphy said.
The governor would not say how many cases it would take to send the whole state back into lockdown, but said other hotspot communities may follow Newark’s lead with municipal shutdowns.
“If we do all that, we can break the back of this… But, if we can’t get a hold of this thing, that’s probably something that, as a consideration, is going to have to become more meaningful. We’ll have no choice at that point,” Murphy said. “Let’s not get to that, folks. Let’s break the back of this long before we get there.”
Murphy pointed to Lakewood in Ocean County, which spiked with COVID cases last month, but has since gotten the spread under control through enforcement, rapid testing and tracing.
But, one of the state’s biggest hurdles has been getting people to cooperate with contact tracers.
In Newark, with the state’s help, there will be mobile testing units around the city.
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