BERGEN COUNTY, NJ – County Executive James Tedesco said many of the restrictions he proposed to reduce the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus are now being recommended statewide, and he does not believe he overreacted to COVID-19 concerns when he proposed a county state of emergency on Wednesday and then rescinded this morning.
“After consulting with the governor’s office, we learned the only closures that could be enforced were those imposed by the governor,” Tedesco said on Thursday afternoon.
Tedesco had recommended closing businesses by Saturday, March 21, which, in order to function, violate social distancing recommendations--maintaining a distance of six feet from other individuals.
Tedesco said by imposing the restrictions, he was operating from a moral authority, a “deep moral and ethical authority” to promote the “health and well-being of Bergen County residents."
Beginning the press conference with the announcement of another Bergen County death from the virus, Tedesco said the business closures made sense earlier this week and continue to make sense now, especially since the state’s business closure recommendations are similar to those he proposed.
“What may seem as over reactive in one county may be critical in another,” he said, reminding listeners there are still three counties that have no cases of coronavirus to date.
Current closures resulting from Gov. Phil Murphy’s State of Emergency Declaration
- Gatherings are limited to 50 persons or fewer;
- All public, private, and parochial preschool programs, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, are closed (distance learning imposed);
- Institutions of higher education will cease all in-person instruction;
- Free or reduced student meals will continue;
- All casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters, and performing arts centers will be closed to the public;
- All other non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.; and
- All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor or limited brewery license, are limited to offering delivery and/or take out-services only.
“I offer my full support to the governor,” Tedesco said.
Tedesco called the restrictions the “new normal,” and said he held a telephone conference with Bergen County mayors and freeholders today, asking them to support the restrictions and communicate them to their communities.
“The only way to slow this virus is with less contact,” Tedesco said. “Doing so will save lives.”
Previous Bergen County restrictions (more detailed than state...follow state guidelines above)
"No worldly employment or business shall be performed or practiced by any person or entity within the County of Bergen until further notice...," Tedesco's order said.
- Preparation and sale of drugs, meals, prepared food;
- Take-out sale of alcoholic beverages, newspapers, pet food and sanitary pet products, gasoline and food products subject to the conditions and limitations contained herein.
- Auto repair shops...open only if attached to and part of a gasoline station;
- Health care facilities...with the exception of dental care facilities which shall close except as may be deemed necessary by a licensed dentist to treat emergency conditions;
- Law firms, other entities or individuals specifically licensed to provide professional legal services, are hereby exempted from this Executive Order to the degree necessary to participate in Superior Court trials or other ancillary court proceedings or emergent matters or transactions;
- Banks or banking institutions;
- Funeral parlors.