Gov. Phil Murphy says New Jersey is following the downward trends in new COVID-19 hospitalizations and other key categories so we’re well in to Phase 1 of his administration’s multi-stage reopening plan.
“We have begun to reopen our economy by focusing on industries and activities in which social distancing can be most readily maintain and public health and safety most readily protected,” Murphy said.
“We took all of these steps because the data that we had been seeing over the past weeks has signaled that it’s becoming safer for us to dip our toes back into the water, in this case literally. All of the important metrics, the data we need to see in our hospitals we have seen. The number of patients being treated for COVID-19, as you can see, is down significantly, as is the number of people entering our hospitals. Fewer ICU beds are being filled and fewer ventilators are in use,” Murphy continued.
The governor says the downward trends, plus increased testing and contact tracing, are among the main factors that will open the door to Phase 2 for expanded retail, dining, limited personal care and museums and libraries.
“Our goal is to protect our workforce. The more direct and regular your contact is with your coworkers and your customers, the greater the safeguards that will be necessary,” Murphy said.
The governor says New Jersey will grow in to a third phase of expanding reopenings, based on the data, and eventually in to a new normal. He says like the aftermath of 911, much will change after the pandemic and we’ll have to accept that for the greater good.
“After the 9/11 attacks our nation was similarly reeling from the massive loss of life and our seeming innocence. In its place, security measures were put into place that we were not accustomed to. How many of us, honestly, didn’t balk the first time, or the first many times, that we stood at the end of a long TSA checkpoint line being told that we had to take off our shoes while trying to board a plane. But today, the practices and protocols put into place after 9/11 are now part of our routines. We expect greater scrutiny when applying for a driver’s license, and we’re pretty much all adjusted to giving ourself more time before a flight,” Murphy said.
“In many ways, the aftermath of this pandemic will be similar. Right now we have to remember to bring our face coverings when we go out to the store. In the months to come it will more and more simply become second nature. And remember, we are resilient. Getting ourselves to a new normal is never easy, nor is it ever quick. And as in the time since 9/11, our singular goals will be to prevent another attack by COVID-19,” the governor added.
The governor says New Jersey will get used to what will become the new constants in the pandemic’s aftermath: practicing social distancing, staying home, wearing face coverings, exercising proper hygiene and not permitting small or large gatherings.