Newark residents asked to stay home for 10 days starting Thanksgiving eve

Posted at 11:25 AM, Nov 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-21 22:39:43-05

NEWARK, N.J. — Newark's mayor says he is asking residents of New Jersey's largest city to stay at home for 10 days starting the day before Thanksgiving.

Mayor Ras Baraka made the announcement during a radio interview Thursday on WBGO-FM.

Baraka said beginning Wednesday, city residents should only go outside if absolutely necessary.

The test positivity rate in New Jersey’s largest city is currently 21%. That’s twice that rate of the entire state. In the East Ward, better known as the Ironbound District, it has skyrocketed to 41%.

Baraka's office didn't respond to a request for comment Friday, and it wasn't immediately clear how the city would enforce the new restrictions, particularly for the Thanksgiving holiday. A message was left with the Newark police department.

Baraka recently instituted curfews in three areas of the city in response to a steep increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Newark.

In the East Ward, nightly street closures began Friday. The Department of Public Safety and the Ambassador Unit will close streets leading into the East Ward from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Police have set up check points at roads leading into the East Ward only allowing people who live there to enter.

Drivers that don’t have ID to prove they live here are being turned away.

Residents who live in the impacted area, particularly the zip code 07105, will be allowed to travel for essential needs. Proof of area residency or proof that an essential need is being addressed will be required.

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, Baraka said the percent of positive coronavirus tests in Newark is 21% — twice that of the statewide infection rate. In the East Ward, the positivity rate is an "alarming" 41%, he said.

“So, we are urging all Newark residents and businesses to follow the guidelines and instructions for this holiday season,” Baraka said in the statement. “We cannot risk a continual spread of COVID-19 in our community. We cannot go back to where we were in April and May. But what we can do is urge everyone to be responsible, cautious, and think of the greater good. People’s lives depend on this.”

PIX11's Katie Corrado and Lauren Cook contributed to this report