COVID Crackdown: New restrictions take effect in another New Jersey city

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HOBOKEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- Several cities in New Jersey have decided to close nonessential businesses early as the state looks to contain an alarming spike of COVID-19 cases.

Newark announced strict new restrictions earlier this week, with Paterson and now Hoboken following suit.

Jersey City, however, has elected not to institute a crackdown.

"I just feel like putting a curfew in place is kind of a band-aid," Mayor Steven Fulop said. "It's not like COVID only happens at night. You can get it at the supermarket. You can get it voting, going to the mall, going shopping."

Still, all cities want to avoid crowded, mask-free party scenes like one caught on camera in Paterson. That city now has a midnight curfew on all nonessential business.
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Bars and restaurants will now close at midnight as part of new restrictions that took effect Wednesday in Paterson, where there's been a recent spike in COVID cases.


"People are tired of the conversation around COVID," Fulop said. "They're exhausted, but they still need to practice good, commonsense safety measures."

But he says he's worried about the effects on the businesses.

"There's not the relief coming out of Washington, so we need to be cautious," he said. "If you shut down businesses at this point, the likelihood of them reopening is very, very slim."

In Hoboken, Mayor Ravi Bhalla's executive order went into effect Thursday, closing all bars and restaurants at midnight seven days a week.

The intention, the order says, is "to limit situations when social distancing and other precautions are much less likely to be followed."

The city saw the most COVID cases on Thursday since the end of April, with 17 new cases.

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The closures are happening despite the fact that Governor Phil Murphy says New Jersey's current spike is really tied to private homes.

"A lot of this feels like it's in private spaces, which makes it harder, because in many cases these are people letting their hair down in their home or having folks over to watch a football game," he said. "And it's hard to enforce that compliance."

To that end, the Hoboken City Council is considered a bill that would impose fines of up to $1,000 for violating ordinances like noise complaints where more than 25 people gather in a residence.

However, it failed to pass Thursday night because five of the nine councilmembers were a no-show for the special remote meeting.

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