New Jersey will enter the next phase of its economic reopening, which begins in two weeks, said Prime Minister Murphy.
The Garden State has lost more than 11,700 residents to Covid-19 since March, but continued reductions in both the number of new positive cases and hospital admissions have allowed state officials to continue developing guidance for outdoor dining, retail and personal care services such as barbershops and salons.
“We are ready to move to stage two of our restart and recovery. And assuming we don’t see a steep outcome that would pause our plans – and we reserve the right – we will go into stage two on Monday, June 15, “Murphy said during his daily Coronavirus press conference in Trenton. “This will continue to be a phased reboot based on a thorough analysis [of health data and risk factors]”.
Non-essential retailers and restaurants can start offering personalized service starting June 15. Hairdressers and barber shops open the following week, June 22. Guidance for other companies such as clinical research labs, fitness centers, government services such as the Motor Vehicle Commission and museums and libraries will come, Murphy said.
At the end of the week, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and her staff will provide industry-specific guidance for companies that can be opened in stage two.
While he declined to go too far in the weeds during his press conference, Murphy said to expect practices that have become standards in key companies such as pharmacies and grocery stores.
Retail companies still have to maintain social distance between customers and staff. Clerks will probably be required to wear gloves and masks. Cash registers and check-out counters will be fitted with Plexiglas.
Companies whose workers can work from home are expected to continue that practice, Murphy said.
“Let’s use common sense for the public good,” he said.
Monday’s announcement was the latest of several steps the administration has taken in recent weeks to develop a roadmap to reopen the economy.
Large swathes of the state were effectively closed by Murphy’s home order on March 21. Since then, beginning with the opening of parks and golf courses a month ago, the governor has issued a series of orders that allowed non-essential companies to provide pavement services, expanded the largest size of outdoor collections and approved the resumption of child care services.
New Jersey has managed to maintain steady declines in the number of new Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions in recent weeks, with the state reporting only 509 cases on Monday afternoon, compared to late March and April, when daily cases coincide regularly. 3000th
Although Monday’s new case data may be skewed by weekend-related delays, hospital admissions are also falling.
Starting at 10.00 Sunday there were 2,344 patients who had tested positive or suspected to have had Covid-19 in hospital. Of these, 646 were in critical or intensive care and 469 required ventilators.
Murphy said he has also been affected by steep increases in the state’s daily testing capacity and decreases in the daily seat positivity for these tests, which had dropped to 3.5 percent. New Jersey is now testing more people per capita than any other state, according to The Covid Tracking Project.
“When we open, we know that there is a greater risk of transmission of the virus,” Murphy said. “That’s why one of our critical data points has tested capacity. And we now have robust tests in place to test more people and identify more outbreaks.”