Newark implementing curfews on local businesses to fight COVID-19

Newark, New Jersey is slapping curfews and other restrictions on local businesses in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus amid an uptick in cases.

Non-essential businesses must now close nightly at 8 p.m., restaurants and bars must end indoor dining at 8 p.m. and outdoor eating at 11 p.m. All barbershops, beauty parlors and nail salons will only be allowed to take customers by appointment, Mayor Ras Baraka announced Monday.

Additionally, all gyms and health clubs must close for the first 30 minutes of every hour to be sanitized. During that time, people can still stay inside or return after the cleaning, according to the guidance.

Recreation centers will also be shuttered for everything but school-related programs for essential employees. And in the East Ward, all sports activities and open park practices and games will be canceled.

The new measures go into effect Tuesday and the city says it will reassess the situation after Nov. 10 to determine the next steps.

Baraka said Sunday that Newark had more COVID-19 cases than every other city in Essex County combined.

According to the latest city data, Newark’s COVID-19 positivity rate has climbed to 11.8 percent — the highest since the week ending May 23. In comparison, New Jersey overall last week test positivity rate of 5.28 percent.

As of Friday, it had tallied a total of 10,041 positive coronavirus cases in Newark with 673 virus-related deaths.

“This is not the first time COVID-19 has threatened our city and its residents at this magnitude and once again, we will meet this challenge with determination and guided by data,” Baraka said. “We are Newark strong and can get through this together. We did it once before and we can do it again.”