Is New Jersey rushing to open?

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with the weather getting colder out, outdoor dining might not be the best option for most people anymore.

By: Alexa Leviten, Editor

There is a debate about whether New Jersey is rushing to open.  Businesses believe that they should continue into phase three, however,  elders and parents may think it is too soon.

On June 15th phase 2 allowed non-essential retail stores to let customers back inside. Face coverings, remaining 6 feet apart, and regularly sanitizing outdoor tables continued to be mandatory for customers and employees. As a result of phase 2,  the state launched an initiative to help small businesses called “One Jersey Pledge.”

Salvador Rivera (Colonia Pizza employee) said, “If everyone who was sick had a vaccine, it could be okay to go fully into Stage 3.”

Breakdown of When Things Opened

Governor Murphy stated, “We wouldn’t be taking this step if we did not have a supremely high level of confidence that we’d be open for business,” during an interview. He also acknowledged the fact that if cases and deaths heighten we would return to phase 2.

Marvin Malino (Metuchen High School student) said, ” if the restaurants are following all of the health guidelines like cleaning, social distancing, and having only a 25% capacity, it isn’t a bad idea to start having indoor dining.”

On September 1, gyms and health clubs reopened the indoor facilities at limited capacity while following mandatory health and safety protocols. On September 4th, Governor Murphy announced indoor dining can resume at 25% of maximum capacity while social distancing. Theater and indoor performance venues can reopen at 25% capacity with a maximum of 150 people.

Malino stated, ” I’m okay with having my mask on for a while. I am so used to it now, I forget I’m wearing it sometimes.”

Amusement parks and water parks can reopen indoor facilities if they also follow the previously stated health and safety protocols. Indoor gatherings that are religious services or celebrations, political activities, wedding ceremonies, funerals, or memorial services also can resume with the safety protocols in mind.

Rivera said, ” 25% is a good amount because too many people can make it easier to get COVID.”

Now Let’s Look at the Statistics

On September 20th, Governor Murphy tweeted that New Jersey had 457 new positive cases which pushed the cumulative total to 199,762. In addition, three more reported deaths brought the overall total to 14,276. From August to September, the COVID deaths have been under 15 people per day. The total number of cases have experienced a significant drop, with only a few days in the 600’s. Other than that, the number of cases has been under 500 a day. The top three county’s with the most cases and deaths are Bergen County (22,209+31 cases; 2,042+1 deaths), Essex County (20,886+24 cases; 2,123 deaths), and Hudson County (20,531+9 cases; 1,512 deaths). In Middlesex County alone, there has been 18,972 cases and 1,222 deaths.

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