PATERSON, NJ -Mayor Andre Sayegh was back on Facebook Live Wednesday imploring local businesses and residents to heed the orders outlined in the State of Emergency he issued Monday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He issued the order that effectively shut down all small businesses, other than those considered essential, following the diagnosis of three Paterson residents with coronavirus because his “core priority is to protect Patersonians,” he said.

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During the 11-minute video in which Sayegh was joined by Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale and Police Chief Ibrahim “Mike” Baycora, the city’s leader acknowledged that small businesses would suffer as a result of the actions that have been taken statewide, and beyond. To those businesses he assured that there will be relief coming, something he has been in regular contact with federal officials, including Senator Cory Booker and Representative Bill Pascrell about. 

Sayegh said that Paterson officials would continue to enforce the order as it is the only means to ensure social distancing and prevent further community spread of the potentially fatal virus.

“This is all about the safety of the public,” Speziale said, adding that they have detailed units making sure that everyone understands what business needs to be closed, and why. Speziale then outlined some details within the order, including that bars must remain closed and restaurants can only serve customers via take out or delivery. While liquor stores are closed  grocery stores are allowed to be open during normal business hours and, if they have a license, can sell alcohol.

“It is in your best interest not to stay open, you are putting yourself at risk,” Sayegh concluded. “If you want to get through this sooner rather than later this is what we have to do.”

“All of us are going to suffer,” he concluded, offering hope that the city will emerge stronger as a community.”

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