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Curbside pickup not working in Newark; city needs different plan for reopening, mayor says

Posted at 7:22 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 22:22:54-04

NEWARK, NJ — Newark requires a different prescription for reopening than the rest of the state, the city's mayor said Thursday.

The city has suffered almost 7,000 coronavirus cases and 549 deaths. Mayor Ras Baraka said Gov. Phil Murphy's move to allow non-essential retail to open for curbside pickup is not working in Newark.

He said people were trying on sneakers and pants on the sidewalk. Some got their nails done on the sidewalk.

The city will be setting up information centers in each ward to explain rules to residents. The city has also formed a task force to bring universal WiFI to residents so they can access news, information and remote learning.

Baraka said he’s been vocal with Murphy about breakdowns in state-driven reopening policies.

"If you don’t let municipalities actually govern, then you get these things," he said.

Phase one of reopening in Newark will start on June 1.

Baraka plans to push for masks to be worn in Newark, even after things return to normal.

"I think it’s necessary until there is a vaccine or a cure," he said.

While Baraka thinks reopening is moving too quickly, Republicans in New Jersey are suing Murphy to reopen small businesses, claiming Murphy unfairly deemed some businesses as essential and others as non-essential.

"I’m sorry if folks don’t like definitions," Murphy said.

The lawsuit claims Murphy’s closure orders have caused irreparable harm.

As of Thursday, about 1.1 million New Jerseyans have filed for unemployment: that's 15% of the state.