NEW JERSEY – All restaurants, casinos, gyms, racetracks, movie theaters, and bars will be closed starting tonight and a statewide curfew will begin from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., according to new orders from Gov. Phil Murphy.
The curfew is not mandatory although Murphy asks that everyone who can stay home between those hours, do so.
He made this announcement as point of a joint statement with the governors of New York and Connecticut, who are also implementing the curfew.
This move is meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has already claimed a few lives in New Jersey.
“All non-essential and non-emergency travel in New Jersey is strongly discouraged between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.,” Murphy said via Twitter.
“Everyone needs to stay in and be safe,” Murphy said. “And we can’t say this enough, that everyone needs to stay in and be safe and just because you don’t feel sick, and this is a particular shout-out to our young people, it doesn’t mean you aren’t carrying the virus. And the last thing that anyone should be thinking about is going out and spreading the disease.”
All casinos, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms must shut down at 8 p.m. Monday and will remain closed until further notice. These businesses should not reopen until the state government says so.
Restaurants would still be able to offer takeout. Locally, a family eating at the Toms River Olive Garden reported that on Saturday they appeared to be seating groups with empty tables intentionally left between them.
This is following in the recommendations for the Centers for Disease Control, which has suggested that any gathering of more than 50 people should be canceled.
The state is following those orders, and canceling all events in which a group of 50 or more people would attend.
The state has ordered all schools to be closed, starting March 18, until health officials deem them safe to re-open.
Although most area schools are closed for about two weeks, some remain open. One local district, Lakewood, stated that a large percentage of their students are without internet at home, so they would not be able to do distance learning. Every other district has had their teachers create home instruction plans through Google Classroom or similar programs.
“We’ve worked closely to ensure that the overall educational and individual needs of students can be met during this closure, including appropriate home instruction and continued access to free and reduced meals,” Murphy said.