Coronavirus

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that restaurants and bars will not be able to offer indoor dining Thursday due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in several states.

"We had planned to loosen restrictions this week. However, after COVID-19 spikes in other states driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining, we have decided to postpone indoor dining indefinitely," he said during his daily briefing. We have been cautious throughout every step of our restart. We’ve always said that we would not hesitate to hit pause if needed to safeguard public health. This is one of those times."

Despite the delay with indoor dining, Murphy said casinos are still going to open with limited capacity. 

"Casinos will open," Murphy said. "I feel comfortable in the distinction. Sitting, sedentary, close proximity, ventilation and not being able to wear one of these over your face (mask)."

Outdoor-only graduations will resume next week, he said, but social distancing and face coverings are required.

"Last week in Westchester County, New York, one student returned from vacation in Florida for their drive-through high school graduation," he said. That student, it turns out, had been exposed to COVID-19 and proceeded to spread it to four classmates. We cannot let that happen here."

There are still about 1,000 people hospitalized in the state for the virus, the governor said.

"Our sister states are now battling for their lives. Do not think for one moment that this is behind us," he said.

Also, the New Jersey Department of Health issued an executive directive on Monday exempting doulas from the current limits and will allow them as a support person for expectant and new mothers in the hospital.

There are 156 new positive COVID-19 cases in the state, pushing the statewide total since, March 4, to 171,272. As of Sunday there were 978 patients hospitalized, 225 patients were in intensive care and 185 were on ventilators. Seventy patients were discharged.

There are 18 more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the state total to 13,138.

"We are losing ground that we had made up in terms of our ranking among states in the numbers of new cases," Murphy said. "For three months we pulled as one New Jersey family to at first flatten, and then bend down, the curves. We cannot let up. We have to keep pulling together. We have to keep up with our commonsense practices."

Two more Cape May County residents died from COVID-19 Monday, a 64-year-old male and a 66-year-old male both from Middle Township, the county health department said.

Two new cases of COVID-19 were discovered Monday, one in North Wildwood and one in Wildwood, the county health department said.

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 750 including 65 deaths, the county health department said.

New Jersey has 171,272 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,138 deaths.

“Please accept my deepest condolences for your family's loss,“ said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton.

No new deaths related to COVID-19 and only seven new positives were reported today by Atlantic County public health officials.

The latest positives were identified in two males, ages 16-66 and five females, ages 20-72.

Two of the residents are from Pleasantville while Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township, Hamilton Township, Mullica Township and Northfield each have one additional positive resident.

To date, 2,922 Atlantic County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 but more than half (1,471) have been cleared as recovered. The disease has claimed the lives of 203 residents.

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New Jersey's indoor shopping malls reopened on Monday from their COVID-19 pause.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy set the date earlier this month after he shuttered many sectors of the state's economy because of the outbreak.

Their reopening comes as the state progresses through Stage 2, of three, of restarting. So far, indoor retail has reopened, along with salons, barber shops and massage parlors.

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The New Jersey Emergency Preparedness Association Conference (NJEPA), which was rescheduled to August 24 to 28, has been canceled. The 2021 event will still be held, occurring May 3 to May 7. 

"With significant restrictions still in place for inside gatherings and not knowing when these may be lifted, the Board felt that we would not be able to provide the quality Conference you have come to expect," Patricia MacFarland Goelz, President of the NJEPA, said in a statement. 

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Atlantic City Electric completed upgrades to its Higbee substation in Atlantic City, which serves a number of casinos, the Atlantic City Convention Center and Stockton University.This upgrade protects the local energy grid against extreme weather.

 “As more businesses reopen and the economy begins to recover, it’s more important than ever to provide our customers with reliable energy service,” said Felecia Greer, vice president, Large Customer Strategic Solutions & Customer Advocacy for Pepco Holdings, which includes Atlantic City Electric. “This project is absolutely critical for improving reliability for a number of casinos and other major Atlantic City entities. We’re glad to be able to support the City at this pivotal time as the summer starts to ramp up and the State continues to reopen.” 

Crews at the substation replaced aging infrastructure with state-of-the-art energy equipment, upgraded 12 distribution lines and installed a new control building designed to meet 100-year flood elevation standards that can be operated remotely if hampered during a major storm.

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Gov. Phil Murphy will give his daily COVID-19 briefing at 2:30 p.m. on Monday. The livestream can be watched here.

Contact: 609-272-7239

CFairfield@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPress_CJ

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