Coronavirus Updates: Hoboken implements new self-isolation policy amid COVID-19 pandemic

HOBOKEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- The city of Hoboken is now asking residents to self-isolate due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Ravinder Bhalla announced Tuesday the self-isolation policy, which aims to empty streets and sidewalks, is effective immediately, while essential businesses are permitted to stay open until 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Office of Emergency Management. The closure of non-essential businesses starts Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Under the new directive, the Ristagnos can take a family walk with their four-month-old, but the mayor wants the parents at least six feet apart.

"It's better safe than sorry," resident Jim Ristagno said. "So if they issue a quarantine, everyone should listen and stay safe."

On Washington Street, a restaurant named Elysian is advertising take-out orders, but the bar on the corner has already laid off 32 employees -- the hope, it is just temporary.

"We do want to stay afloat," bar owner Travis Young said. "We want to be able to open when it's all over, so if we can do what we can and make deliveries and do that safest way, we will."

The goal is to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"We expect that there will not be 100 percent compliance, so we are going to take a gentle approach," the Hoboken mayor said. "You will not see a mass crackdown. You will not see people arrested."
It's stricter than the current statewide guidance.

"We understand that county and local governments are focused on their own concerns," New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said.

The mayor says he notified the governor.

Hoboken's more than 50,000 residents urged to only leave their home for necessities, like to get food, health care or go to work. Walks are okay as well, but only if social distancing is practiced.

"We need to think about the people most at risk," Ristagno's wife Kristin said. "My parents, his parents are over 60. We wouldn't want to get them sick or bring anything into the house."

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