Newark residents will be asked to stay at home for 10 days beginning the day before Thanksgiving in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the state’s largest city, Mayor Ras Baraka said Thursday.
“We are, from Wednesday before Thanksgiving to Dec. 4, going to lock the city down,” Baraka said in a radio appearance on WBGO 88.3 FM’s Newark Today. “We want people to shelter in place. We only want folks to come out for essential purposes. Do not go outside if you don’t have to. Don’t mingle with other people if you don’t have to. Stay (with) your family in your immediate household.”
The number people with COVID-19 in Newark has risen sharply in recent days with 164 additional cases announced Thursday. There have been 14,226 cases in Newark since the pandemic began in March with 694 deaths, according to Essex County officials.
Irvington’s mayor said earlier this week he was considering a week-long lock down as well.
It is unclear if Gov. Phil Murphy would overrule the Newark lockdown order. While Murphy recently signed an executive order allowing towns to close nonessential businesses starting at 8 p.m. – a step Newark took – Murphy has pushed back against additional town-by-town restrictions.
“They’re up against it and I don’t blame them for trying to turn over every stone,” Murphy said during a press briefing Wednesday when asked about additional restrictions proposed in Newark and Irvington. “We can’t have a patchwork. We continue to work with them.”
Newark officials will take smaller steps ahead of the Thanksgiving lockdown, though.
Newark police will close streets leading into the East Ward from 8 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday. Residents who live in the area will need to show proof of address to enter zip code 07105.
There is also a 9 p.m weekday and 10 p.m. weekend curfews in three zip codes — 07105, 07107, 07104 — that will extend beyond Dec. 4.
Non-essential businesses and indoor dining in Newark have had to close by 8 p.m. since late October.
Baraka said he is confident Newark residents will do their part, calling the virus “very scary and dangerous stuff.”
“Newark is conscientious,” the mayor said. ”They did it before — they slowed this thing down. I think they have the will to do it again. You’ll get naysayers — these people live in another world that I don’t live in. Most people in this town are going to do what we ask them to do.”
Newark police couldn’t immediately be reached.