Reopening New Jersey: Newark launches Phase 1 of reopening plan

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- The city of Newark launched Phase 1 of its reopening plan on Monday, which includes family activities for the summer.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka introduced the first phase of Newark's reopening, which will run through June 14, provided COVID-19 cases don't spike.

"Our top priority is, and has always been, to save lives," Baraka said. "Very careful consideration went into the development of these guidelines to help us safely reopen."

Several weeks ago, the mayor created the Newark Reopening and Recovery Strikeforce, with the purpose of focusing on public health, economic recovery, data collection, education and community outreach.

"We have listened very carefully to their recommendations and have come up with a plan to open slowly and cautiously that meets the city's economic needs and the recreational and social needs of our residents," Baraka said.

Phase 1 of the three-phase plan will allow for family cookouts for 10 people, as long as proper social distancing is used and PPE is worn. If an area is large enough to safely accommodate 15 people, the city will allow it.

Newark will also change its curfew from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. but says cookouts must end at 9 p.m. to allow people time to return home.

The city is also working on some online recreational options for children as the summer months begin.

If COVID-19 cases don't spike, the second phase of reopening would take place from June 15 to June 28, and the third would run from June 29 to July 12.

"We are advancing," Baraka said. "But we have to give ourselves room to retreat if necessary."

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