What Will Reopenings Look Like in New Jersey?

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Eden Mor, Staff Writer

In the face of the second biggest statewide outbreak in the United States, New Jersey, at the order of Phil Murphy, shut down nearly everything—all nonessential businesses, public places, and even government buildings. As residents of Cresskill, not only are we in one of the most high-risk states, but also the most high-risk county, second only to Hudson. Naturally, our state has been one of the last to reopen, but rightfully so, as the overall death rate of 11,721 contributes to nearly 10 percent of the country’s overall death rate. 

On a brighter note, after three agonizing months of quarantine, Governor Murphy has begun to slowly ease the state back to a “new normal,” putting into effect a three-stage process aimed at combating the negative effect quarantine has had on the state’s economy while maintaining public health. The first stage, which we are currently in, allowed for a shift from maximum restrictions to access to state and county parks, nonessential construction, curbside retail, drive-in activities, elective surgeries, and beaches. 

As announced yesterday, on June 1st, the second phase will commence shortly, but Murphy stressed that he does not intend to give false hope to the citizens. He has explained that the speed of reopening depends on data indicating how many new cases and deaths have occurred due to Covid-19.

“None of our moves have been arbitrary,” he said. “All of them have been driven by data” he said during a June 3rd press conference.

That being said, here is a generalized timeline for when we can expect these different elements of Stage 2 to commence, assuming a continued low rate of new Covid cases:

 

  • June 5th: Outdoor Dining 
  • June 15th: Limited In-Person Retail
  • June 22nd: Barbershops and Hair Salons
  • July 6th: Youth Summer Camps
  • July 6th: In-Person Graduations
  • Later (no specific date was given): Clinical Labs, Fitness Gyms, Museums, Libraries, and DMVs

 

In order to ensure the speedy reopening of the state, New Jerseyans have been urged to do their part in containing the spread of the virus. This includes washing hands, keeping a distance of six feet, wearing face masks, and avoiding social gatherings of more than 25 people. Overall, the government has stressed that if all given guidelines are followed, New Jersey’s shattered economy is bound to be back on its feet thanks to reopenings and government stimulus packages. 

Senior Einav Meir commented on the reopenings saying, “Obviously the reopenings are exciting, and I for one am glad to start getting back to normal – I want to have an in person freshman year of college. However, the reopenings don’t seem gradual enough and if there’s a second wave, the repercussions are probably going to be even worse.” Einav isn’t the only person to express this fear. A leading expert in public health from Harvard University, Dr. Marc Lipsitch is confident that “summer may slow the spread of the coronavirus a bit, but it will back by fall with a second wave that looks a lot like the first wave.”