NEW JERSEY – In a press conference, Gov. Phil Murphy closed all shopping malls, amusement parks, and amusement centers in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
These are in addition to closures ordered yesterday, which included restaurants, casinos, gyms, racetracks, movie theaters, and bars. Restaurants located within those malls which have their own entrance can stay open, he said. Restaurants would still be able to offer takeout.
A voluntary curfew started yesterday from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., and non-essential employees should stay off the road. He said truckers delivering supplies and the media informing people are still welcome to continue to do their jobs.
Instead of going out to restaurants, people should “binge-watch something, play a game with your family,” Murphy suggested, adding that people should reach out to elderly to make sure they are OK.
The state is following the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and canceling all events in which a group of 50 or more people would attend.
All of these changes will have a dramatic impact on the economy of the area, Murphy acknowledged.
Residents who are out of work may be able to receive unemployment benefits, he said, adding that there was a record number of people applying for it on March 16 and that the state system temporarily crashed. People can find out more at NJ.gov/labor.
Small businesses make up 60 percent of the economy of New Jersey, and the state is working with the federal government to bring in funding to help them, he said. He urged banks to “do the right thing” and help out small businesses and mortgage holders, since they will be hurt by this.
“We know this is a time for anxiety,” Murphy said. “We’re doing everything we can over here to flatten that curve, to keep your distance.”
Health officials have been using the term “flattening the curve.” This means trying to prevent the build-up of cases to the point where hospitals won’t be able to handle them all. Getting a few new cases in a given area every day is more manageable.
There have been 89 new positive cases in the state, up to a total of 267. There have been three deaths.
There have been six positive cases in Ocean County, Murphy said.
He quoted President Trump that the Army Corps of Engineers would set up temporary hospitals. He called Vice President Michael Pence to ask for one be made in New Jersey.
Information On COVID-19
COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease, and 19 stands for 2019, the year it was diagnosed.
The difference between a “presumptive case” and an official case is designated by the Centers for Disease Control. Basically, someone can test positive for the disease locally, but will only be considered a “presumptive” case until the CDC tests them.