NJ malls, amusement parks close; Hoboken hunkers down

New Jersey's schools, bars, restaurants, and casinos are already closed. Gov. Phil Murphy took it a step further on Tuesday and ordered indoor malls and amusement centers to close to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

State health authorities also announced the opening of several coronavirus testing facilities, including a drive-thru site at Hudson Regional Hospital on Meadowlands Parkway in Secaucus. The testing is done by appointment only, so potential patients must call ahead first.

Murphy said the state may need to use closed hospital wings or even empty college dorms to house patients in the future. He is also asking the federal government to consider sending in the Army Corps of Engineers to build new temporary medical facilities.

State health officials have recommended calling your health care provider if you have symptoms, including fever and shortness of breath. Officials also point people to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, which recommends people stay home except to get medical care.

In the meantime, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla issued a new policy of self-isolation. He said residents—whether they sick or not—should stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"Activities such as running, jogging, bike-riding, walking, and other similar activities are permitted, but only if social distancing of at least 6 feet is observed," Bhalla said. "All travel on public transport or vehicle is restricted for employment purposes only. Restaurants are permitted through delivery and take-out service only, grocery stores, supermarkets, bodegas, banks, restaurants with food, pharmacies, and coffee shops can remain open until 8 p.m."

Beginning at 9 a.m. on March 18, all non-essential businesses were required to close to prevent the spread of the virus.

"That can be a retail store, a nail salon, hair salons, any place with public accommodations," said Bhalla.

Hoboken, a small city with a population of about 55,000, is located across the Hudson River from Manhattan and has a PATH station, a New Jersey Transit terminal, and a ferry terminal.


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