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This week brought about 23,166 new unemployment claims throughout the state, the fewest since March, said Robert Asaro-Angelo, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. 
COURTESY RICH HUNDLEY

BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

As New Jersey hits the 100-day mark since the first positive COVID-19 resident was confirmed, Gov. Phil Murphy said the state is on the road back – but it will be a “new normal,” which will include continued social distancing, masking up and frequent hand sanitizing. 

Churches will welcome back congregants tomorrow, and retail shops and restaurants can begin serving customers on Monday, June 15. Residents can begin making appointments at their salons or barber shops opening June 22. 

As of June 10, compared to COVID’s peak in April, new hospitalizations are down by 91 percent, patients in the hospital are down by 80 percent, and patients on ventilators are down by 79 percent. 

A survey of businesses throughout the state revealed that the biggest concern for more than half of the 4,000 respondents in reopening is customers feeling confident in their safety.

A majority of owners (51 percent) cited consumer confidence as the most pressing issue, while 13 percent cited access to personal protective equipment as their biggest concern.  Approximately one in 10 said employee confidence would present the biggest challenge to reopening while four in 10 listed employee confidence as one obstacle but not the most pressing one.
Respondents want state government help to reopen safely, particularly guidance on reopening restrictions (60 percent), guidance on safety measures to keep employees and customers safe (49 percent), and help in acquiring disinfecting and cleaning products (42 percent). The majority of respondents (54 percent) will rely on state/local government and Department of Health guidelines—greater than those who will rely on Centers for Disease Control (23 percent) and industry and association guidelines (14 percent).
Customer-facing businesses report that limiting occupancy or reducing capacity of their facilities will be the most difficult challenge.

“They understand that residents are not going to go back out again and workers are not going to want to return their jobs unless their health and safety is the top priority,” said Murphy. 

In response, the state has launched “One Jersey Pledge,” a commitment to following health and safety guidelines during New Jersey’s economic and social restart and recovery. Businesses, organizations, employees, and customers can participate in the “One Jersey Pledge” in the following ways:

Businesses and organizations pledge to:

  • Wear face coverings and gloves for contact with their customers and goods
  • Ensure social distancing to the greatest extent possible
  • Follow hygiene guidelines, including regular hand-washing
  • Clean high-touch surfaces frequently
  • Train their employees on all health and sanitization protocols
  • Conduct employee health screenings
  • Support contact tracing initiatives in the interest of public health
  • Require employees with symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home

Customers pledge to:

  • Stay home if they’re not feeling well
  • Keep their distance (6 feet)
  • Mask up

Employers pledge to:

  • Provide appropriate PPE for employees’ jobs
  • Provide sanitization materials, training, and time to practice safe hygiene as recommended by CDC
  • Support contact tracing efforts, while respecting employees’ privacy
  • Require that employees with COVID-19 symptoms stay home

Employees pledge to:

  • Follow hygiene guidelines, including regular hand-washing
  • Wear face coverings at all times and gloves for certain activities
  • Participate in staff health screening on arrival
  • Clean high-touch areas frequently

UNEMPLOYMENT

This week brought about 23,166 new unemployment claims throughout the state, the fewest since March, said Robert Asaro-Angelo, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. 

Since the pandemic began, 1.2 million workers in New Jersey have filed claims, with one in four being employed in the food service industry. The amount paid out in benefits to date is $6.2 billion, with 94 percent of claimants receiving a check, he said. The state is also extending benefits for another 13 weeks for those who qualify.

TODAY’S NUMBERS

New Jersey officials reported 539 new positive COVID-19 cases today, June 11, down from the 611 new cases reported on Wednesday bringing the state total to 165,816.

The state’s death toll is now at 12,443, with 70 new deaths reported today, a decrease from the 74 reported yesterday.

Of those numbers, 34,866 positives and 5,734 deaths are in long-term care facilities.

The transmission rate for the virus has dropped to 0.62, meaning that an infected person is passing the virus on to less than one person on average.. The positivity rate for Sunday’s COVID-19 tests was 3.08 percent.

On Wednesday night, hospitals reported 1,512 hospitalizations, down from the 1,701 reported on Tuesday. Of those, 445 patients were in critical care, with 319 ventilators in use, both numbers dropping from the night before, when 437 were in critical care and 342 ventilators were in use. 

Hospitals admitted only 27 new patients, down from 156 on Wednesday night, and 169 were discharged. Officials said the numbers could be skewed due to reporting issues.

On Thursday morning, Essex County officials reported 67 new cases, up from the 13 new cases reported yesterday. Seven new deaths were reported, up from the one new death reported yesterday. The county totals are now 18,236 positive cases and 1,726 deaths.

On Thursday, Montclair Health officials reported no new cases which now total 430. The number of fatalities remains at 50.

Essex County officials announced today that Treetop Adventure and Zip Line and the miniGOLF Safari at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex will reopen on Friday, June 12. Procedures have been put in place to promote social distancing among visitors and sanitize all equipment.

All visitors to the Treetop Adventure and Zip Line and miniGOLF Safari must wear face coverings. Social distancing is required while patrons are waiting to enter the attraction and while at the attraction. All equipment will be sanitized after each use. Those visiting the Treetop Adventure will have their temperature scanned upon entry.

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