What to Know
- Before the start of the weekend, Hoboken officials announced their first positive case of COVID-19
- Starting Monday night, residents must adhere to a nightly curfew
- Mayor Bhalla hopes minimizing nightly traffic will help emergency crews move throughout the city without trouble
Days after Hoboken officials announced the city’s first positive case of COVID-19, the mayor effectively closed bars and restaurants and declared a mandatory nightly curfew in the latest attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
But it may not be just Hoboken for long -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Sunday morning that a statewide curfew was one of several options "under consideration," though the situation was not there yet.
As for Hoboken, bars that do not serve food will have to shut down as of Sunday morning. Restaurants can offer takeout and delivery but will have to shut their dining rooms. And as of Monday night, residents will be under curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next day.
All Hoboken residents will be required to remain indoors during the curfew hours except for emergencies and required work, Mayor Ravi Bhalla said.
Tracking Coronavirus in Tri-State
"As I am writing this message on a Saturday evening, I received a call from our Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante notifying me of a bar fight in downtown Hoboken, with at least one person falling in and out of consciousness, and our police having to wait for over 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, because our EMS is inundated with service calls," the mayor said in a statement. "This is unfortunately a contributing factor why we cannot continue bar operations which can trigger calls for service that are delayed in part because of this public health crisis."
The crackdown is one of the strictest implemented anywhere since COVID-19 hit the tri-state region earlier this month, and merchants made clear they might not last as a result.
“It’s going to be tough. The high rents and the empty stores that are already here,” said Mike Citarella, owner of Pig & Parrot. “We’ll never survive on just pickup and delivery.”
The city of Hoboken announced a slew of measures to help contain the spread, effective March 14 through at least March 20: suspending street cleaning, closing fields, recreation facilities and playgrounds; closing day cares and pop-up camps for children and limiting City Hall services. Senior activities had already been canceled.
Additionally, the Hoboken Office of Emergency Management has activated the volunteer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), which will be handing out flyers with information about COVID-19 at transit stations.
Whether other cities follow suit remains to be seen. Murphy raised the statewide curfew issue in a radio interview on WBLS Sunday morning, referring to both Hoboken and to the mayor of Teaneck asking that entire town to self-quarantine.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, was noncommittal during an appearance on CNN Sunday morning when an anchor asked if his administration would eventually impose its a lockdown or shut down its restaurants and bars.
"Every option is on the table in a crisis — that's one," de Blasio said. "We're going to constantly make new decisions."