NEWARK, NJ — A man in his early 40s with underlying health issues became the first fatal victim of coronavirus in Newark, the mayor announced during a Facebook Live appearance today.
"I must begin by sending out condolences as we now have a Newark resident who has died from complications surrounding the coronavirus," Baraka said. "Although he had underlying health issues, he was young, just in his early 40s. So we all have to take this very, very seriously."
No other information was provided about the victim.
The coronavirus COVID-19, continues to spread across the nation, the state and the community. New Jersey has five COVID-19 deaths and 427 positive cases, up from 267 yesterday. Essex County has the second largest number of cases in the state after Bergen County with 45 and two deaths. Newark has 13 cases of COVID-19, according to Director of Health and Community Wellness Dr. Mark Wade.
"It's extremely important that we pay serious attention and follow all the instructions that we are given," Wade said.
The mayor also announced that all non-essential retail outlets in the city must close at 8 p.m. today and cannot reopen until further notice. Bodegas that sell food and essential goods, supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, laundromats, hotels, auto mechanic shops, wireless/cell phone retail stores, banks and check cashing locations are exempt and may stay open until 8 p.m.
But non-essential retail, such as liquor stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, beauty and nail salons, as well as barbershops must close tonight and cannot reopen until further notice.
Restaurants can only open for take-out delivery and must close by 8 p.m.
"If we find people sitting in your restaurant, we will close it immediately," Baraka warned.
Baraka said the city will reassess the mandate in two weeks on April 1 to determine if it will continue.
The mayor and Dr. Wade also made several other important announcements, including:
- The ShopRite on Springfield Avenue will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Fridays for seniors and those with compromised health. The mayor said he is encouraging other grocery stores in the city to institute similar policies.
- Altice, a cable provider in Newark, is providing free WiFi to residents in Newark.
- WIC services are closed and will be open by appointment only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. WIC vouchers have already been mailed out for the next three months. Call 973-733-7604.
- Immunization services will be available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday by appointment only. Call 973-733-7580.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said the two deaths in Essex hits home about the devastating impact the virus can have on the well-being of our residents and community.
"This is why the dramatic steps we have taken to close our parks and reduce contact visits at our offices are so important," DiVincenzo said. "These measures promote social distancing that can help slow the spread of the virus. We hope everyone is taking this seriously and doing their part to be careful and to stay well.”
Watch Mayor Baraka's 5 p.m. COVID-19 Facebook Live Update below. (This story has been updated since the Facebook Live appearance with new information from the mayor's office, so some information about the curfew will not comport.)