- The coronavirus is surging across the United States at a rate we haven’t seen before.
- The increase in cases and deaths has prompted a few states to implement tighter restrictions on dining.
- New Jersey is currently in the midst of a new coronavirus surge. In response, Governor Phil Murphy said that shutting the entire state down could be an option in the near future.
With colder weather setting in, the number of coronavirus cases and associated deaths is reaching new highs across many parts of the country. Just this past weekend, the U.S. reported nearly 100,000 new coronavirus infections, a figure which dwarfs the previous highs we saw this past July. What’s more, the current 7-day average for new coronavirus cases now stands at 85,000. To put that into context, the 7-day average for new coronavirus cases back in July was in the range of 65,000.
With no end to the coronavirus pandemic in sight, many states have started to implement tighter restrictions to help combat the virus. In Chicago, for example, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker recently issued new guidelines that preclude indoor dining and bars from operating in any capacity at all. In Massachusetts, meanwhile, several communities reverted back to Step 1 of the state’s Phase 3 reopening plan.
Another state currently experiencing a surge in new coronavirus infections in New Jersey. Over the last two weeks alone, the state has seen coronavirus cases increase by 59%. Alongside that, the number of hospitalizations and deaths has increased by 46% and 67%, respectively. Consequently, New Jersey recently instituted tighter restrictions on dining out. What’s more, Governor Phil Murphy recently threatened to take things one step further and shut the entire state down if the situation continues to worsen.
“We’re not there yet, but all options are on the table,” Murphy said to Yahoo. “If we have to shut the whole place down we will. We were one of the first, if not the first state to do that in March. I just hope we can avoid it again this time.”
“This is real. People are dying,” Murphy added. “People are going to the hospital and we need everybody to ban together and push back on that pandemic fatigue and push the numbers back down.”
In the interim, Murphy this week signed an executive order designed to provide workers with more coronavirus protections. The full order can be read over here.
A few notable provisions for employers in the state, as summarized by ROI-NJ, reads as follows:
- Provide approved sanitization materials to employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals;
- Ensure that employees practice hand hygiene and provide sufficient break time for that purpose;
- Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines;
- Conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, prior to each shift, consistent with CDC guidance;
- Exclude sick employees from the workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws; and
- Promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite.
While it’s hard to predict if a full state-wide shutdown is on the horizon, it’s certainly possible given that the “darkest days of the entire pandemic” will be in November and December.