Newark imposes curfew as virus surges

Residents in some parts of New Jersey's largest city are facing a 9 p.m. curfew for at least the rest of the month as officials seek to stop a surge in coronavirus infections.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka imposed the new measures, which went into effect immediately, on Wednesday. They include a mandatory 9 p.m. weekday curfew and 10 p.m. weekend curfew for parts of three zip codes where virus cases have spiked recently.

"That means all businesses are gonna shut down.   We may even shut down the drug stores and all those other places as well. Everything," Baraka said.

Indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, and all sports in the city are suspended for at least two weeks. The city also is banning visitation at long-term health care facilities for the same duration.

NJ dining curfew goes into effect

The new restrictions go beyond statewide measures announced earlier in the week by Gov. Phil Murphy, who ordered bars and restaurants to halt indoor dining between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. beginning Thursday.

Nonessential businesses in Newark already must close at 8 p.m. and restaurants and bars must cease indoor service at 8 p.m., under an executive order signed by the mayor two weeks ago.

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All stores except supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations are affected by the measure and Mayor Ras Baraka warned that even essential businesses might need to be ordered to close early.

Under the new COVID restrictions, beauty salons, nail salons, and barbershops can only accept customers by appointment. Gyms and health clubs must close for half an hour each hour for sanitizing.

City Hall is open by appointment only and all city employees are encouraged to be tested. 

In March, Newark instated a mandatory 8 p.m. curfew for all residents except in an emergency or commuting to and from work.