NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of everyday life in the city.
On Friday, state officials confirmed that there are 50 positive COVID-19 cases, including one fatality, a Bergen County man.
The rapidly evolving pandemic has forced several social gatherings, cultural events, religious ceremonies and more to be altered, postponed or even canceled:
Diocese of Metuchen
Bishop James F. Checchio has announced that while masses in the Diocese of Metuchen will continue to be celebrated, the faithful are not obligated to attend until the weekend of April 4-5, when the situation will be re-evaluated as circumstances unfold.
According to a statement provided to TAPinto New Brunswick, Catholic schools in the Diocese of Metuchen are monitoring the progression of the spread of the coronavirus and the circumstances for each school will continue to be re-evaluated on a case-by-case basis, following the practice of their local school districts.
“Regardless if the Catholic faithful of our diocese choose to attend mass, this is an unprecedented time in our nation and in our world, a time for much-needed hope, and above all prayer,” Checchio said. “If anything, this is a time for more prayer, not less."
For those who choose not to attend mass in person, a live broadcast can be viewed on the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi’s website, stfranciscathedral.org, or on several television channels. In addition, resources for prayer can be found on the Diocese of Metuchen’s website, diometuchen.org/coronavirus.
With Mass attendance expected to be lighter than normal and churches expected to be less populated, those who do choose to attend Mass are encouraged to spread out, following the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to avoid close contact and remain at least six feet apart. As has been continually mentioned, everyone is urged to practice good hygiene by washing their hands regularly.
The Chabad House at 170 College Ave. has announced that its 41st National Founders Anniversary Dinner scheduled for Monday, March 16 has been postponed in response to health care officials' call to minimize social interactions and avoid crowds.
The dinner is rescheduled to Thursday, June 11.
For gala sponsorship and ticket information, call 732-296-1800 or log onto to the Chabad House website.
New Jersey Courts
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has announced New Jersey courts will suspend all new jury trials until further notice to help minimize community exposure to COVID-19 coronavirus.
The action, effective immediately, is one of a series of measures the judiciary is taking in consultation with the state Department of Health to balance the seriousness of the pandemic with the court’s mission to provide critical services to the public. Jury trials already in progress will continue. Grand juries will continue pending further communication with county prosecutors and the attorney general.
“Effective immediately, the Judiciary is suspending jury service for new trials,” Rabner said. “While jury trials are a critical component of our justice system, this extraordinary step is necessary to protect the health and safety of the community. At the same time, we will make every effort to keep our court system running in the face of this health crisis.”
Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement in support of the action.
“After consultation with the Commissioner of Health, today I recommended the cancellation of all public gatherings of more than 250 individuals to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Murphy said. “We are in full support of the Judiciary’s response to this public health emergency.”
As announced Monday in an order from Rabner, the judiciary has been preparing for a potential move to virtual and telephonic proceedings for all non-jury matters.
“It is imperative that we take action to avoid large public gatherings at our court facilities. At the same time, we will leverage our technological capabilities so that other court proceedings can continue with minimal disruption to our justice system,” said Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrative director of the courts.
Court vicinages will take immediate steps to stagger schedules for landlord/tenant, small claims, and other non-jury court proceedings to avoid bringing together large numbers of people in confined areas.
The following steps are being taken:
- Preparing to conduct motions, non-jury trials, and certain hearings remotely, with the use of video and telephonic equipment.
- All out-of-state work travel by Judiciary staff has been suspended.
- Discretionary training that does not impact the functions of staff has been suspended.
- Non-essential events, such as student tours, are cancelled.
- Conferences and committee meetings are being held via video.
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