NEWARK, NJ — Mayor Ras Baraka took to Facebook live on Wednesday to tell residents that the entire city is now under the additional coronavirus-related restrictions he imposed on three areas of Newark on March 21.
Newark registered 123 cases on Wednesday while the state’s count jumped to 4,402, according to the city. On Saturday, Gov. Murphy signed executive order 107 into effect at Rutgers-Newark, shutting down all nonessential businesses and mandating New Jerseyans to mostly stay at home.
Baraka’s initial order identified three “hotspots” based on data provided by health officials, forbidding residents from leaving their properties at all except in the case of an emergency. Flyers from council members urged those residents to stock up on groceries for two months, and in the following days, Baraka told them not to leave their properties to walk their dogs despite messages to the contrary from the state.
“We are adhering to Governor Murphy’s directives throughout the city of Newark, but in the specific areas we need to go further,” Baraka said in a statement.
However, Murphy’s executive order 108, also signed on Saturday, forbids the issuance of mandates and restrictions by municipalities and counties at variance with the governor’s executive orders.
"As it relates to executive orders, there is one that supersedes all others. It's the state. There is no question about that. So that's it," Murphy said at Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing. "We have to run this as one state, We can't run the risk of different rules and regulations from one community to another. I think [Mayor Baraka] understands that."
The order does acknowledge that under certain limited circumstances, it may be beneficial for localities to be able to impose additional restrictions, such as shore towns that want to keep people off their boardwalks and beaches.
Citing a lack of real-time information to identify which areas of the city are hotspots, Baraka said the city would begin enforcing the all-city quarantine at 8 p.m. Wednesday night.
“We’re going to be as creative as possible to get people to adhere to this curfew and adhere to this social distancing and adhere to this all-city quarantine,” he said.
While Baraka restored citizens’ rights to walk their dogs, they are not permitted to leave their homes to exercise, as Murphy said is allowed under the state’s order as long as social distance is maintained.
“Residents can still take a walk, or go for a run outside. We do want people to stay healthy, both physically and mentally,” Murphy said.
A city spokeswoman said residents “can walk on their way to any of the places listed.”
The order also stipulates that residents should not leave their house more than two at a time. In single-parent households where this is not possible, they should not leave more than five at a time. All residents should maintain social distance from one another while outside their homes.
Police will be enforcing the mandate aggressively, Public Safety Directory Anthony Ambrose said in a statement.
“We will continue to be out with loudspeakers moving people off the corners and streets,” Ambrose said. “We will begin with verbal warnings. We want to save lives, not make arrests.”