Hoboken implements mask mandate as COVID cases soar statewide

Coronavirus Update for New Jersey
HOBOKEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- Hoboken on Wednesday implemented a face mask requirement at all indoor facilities of public accommodation due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the city and across the state.

New Jersey reported another daily record Wednesday with 20,483 new cases, along with 50 additional deaths to bring the statewide total to 26,118.

There are 3,273 hospitalizations in the state, nearing the 3,765 patient count from this date last year, but still roughly half the total at the peak of the pandemic.

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In Hoboken, all residents and visitors over the age of 2 are now required to wear a mask or face covering while inside any public building or commercial establishment, except when actively eating or drinking.

"We are today taking additional steps to help curb the spread of the Omicron variant in Hoboken," Mayor Ravi Bhalla said. "With cases at an all-time high, we need to revert back to one of the tools that we know works - a face mask. This new measure will create a safer environment for our most vulnerable residents and ensure our businesses can stay open and remain adequately staffed during the winter months. Thank you to the many Hoboken businesses which have already implemented this requirement."

During the recent omicron surge, various Hoboken restaurants, bars, and other establishments have been closed by business owners due to outbreaks among staff.

The executive order applies to all areas of indoor public accommodation, including but not limited to restaurants, bars, gymnasiums, dance studios, recreation facilities, retail stores, cafes, supermarkets, places of worship, commercial establishments, salons, barbershops, banks, healthcare facilities, and hotels.

Residents, visitors, and patrons of the above public facilities must wear a face mask at all times except when actively eating or drinking, or when socially distanced at least six feet apart from all others for an extended period of time, such as in an office setting when seated at desks.

"Given the recent surge in omicron, we're taking additional effective measures in preventing the spread of COVID and having our staff mask up for the safety of all, " said Anthony Pino, who owns Bin 14 and Anthony David's. "We're hopeful the severity of omicron will be short lived and our community can resume to some normalcy."

The order, enforced by the Office of Emergency Management, will be lifted when the positivity rate for the state reaches 5% for a one-week average or when the daily positive cases in Hoboken fall below the weekly average as compared to the first week of November 2021 prior the surge of the omicron variant, whichever is first.

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The Hoboken Health Department reported record high positive COVID-19 cases as over 611 residents have tested positive in the last seven days. Eight individuals are hospitalized at Hoboken University Medical Center with COVID-19.

The city has had a total of 7,322 positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic's onset.

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