Updated at 8:21 p.m.
WESTFIELD, NJ — Don’t head over to Addams Tavern after 8 p.m., or anywhere for that matter.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that all restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and casinos would have to close to foot traffic by 8 p.m. and that there will also be an 8 p.m. curfew to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Restaurant takeout is permitted, but not after curfew.
“The time for us to take our strongest, and most direct, actions to date to slow the spread of coronavirus is now,” Murphy said. “I've said many times over the past several days that, in our state, we are going to get through this as one New Jersey family.”
“A lot of these calls come with enormous pressures on the economy, small businesses in particular,” Murphy said.
Mayor Shelley Brindle told TAPinto Westfield in a text message Monday the town is calculating how to work with the new developments.
With two cases of COVID-19 reported in Westfield, and four in Union County as of this writing, Brindle had announced that beginning Tuesday the town would be closing the downtown’s business district — referred to as the special improvement district — to foot traffic at “non-essential businesses” and helping local establishments to facilitate online commerce and ordering by telephone. The number of cases statewide had risen to 178 as of Monday night, she said.
“The downtown was a place where people and crowds were congregating since it serves as more of a social meeting place for the Town,” Brindle said via email. “It was also easier for us to enforce.”
The town has also requested that establishments outside the business district close to foot traffic, except for supermarkets, pharmacies and restaurants providing takeout.
Burim Regjaj, owner of Outta Hand Pizza, had announced options for “no contact” delivery and on Monday said that he was working with the municipality to reserve parking spots in front of restaurants for the purpose of curbside pickup so that eateries could deliver directly to customers’ vehicles.
“This way people will have access to the restaurants instead of having to look around for parking,” Regjaj said. “These are solutions that are practical, yet crucial for the time.”
Schools Superintendent Margaret Dolan told parents Monday afternoon the district would begin remote learning Tuesday. She said much of the staff had spent the day working remotely and testing video chat technology while developing distance learning lesson plans.
“A lot of hard work has gone into our planning,” Dolan stated. “However, as with any venture of this magnitude with as many unknowns as COVID-19 presents daily, I ask, again, for your patience as we continue to work out any kinks in our remote learning system.”
Union County limited services to only those it considered essential.
“Anyone wishing to visit on non-essential matters will not be allowed access to public buildings, and we encourage our residents to use our website for any non-emergent, non-essential service they may require,” an alert from the county said.
People needing to visit county facilities for social services such as food stamps, and emergency assistance will be allowed into the Social Services building at 342 Westminster Ave., the county said. Click here for full details.
In Westfield, Brindle had requested compliance with the town’s closures, but did not declare a local state of emergency, a measure that some other municipalities have done. Nearby towns to declare states of emergency include Garwood, Union Township, Plainfield and Berkeley Heights.
“While the town will enforce the limits on foot traffic in the downtown, it is also requesting businesses outside its central business district comply with the request,” Brindle said.
“We’re hoping that the other businesses will follow our recommendations and that the public will stay home,” she added. “We are prepared to implement further directives if necessary.”
A board meeting for Downtown Westfield Corporation originally scheduled for Monday night has been called off.
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