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Newark Facing New Restrictions, Partial Curfew In Bid To Slow COVID Spread

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A lockdown is looming in a major part of New Jersey.

Newark residents are being told to stay at home starting next week to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

As CBS2's John Dias reports, New Jersey's largest city is now preparing for a Thanksgiving like no other: In lockdown.

"I know you want to have fun, but now is not the time for fun. We have to stay focused, we have to do what's right," said Mayor Ras Baraka.

More: Restrictions Loom As State Reports More Than 4,500 New COVID Cases; Gov. Murphy: 'If We See Transmission, We Will Get At It'

All Newark residents are now being asked to stay at home for 10 days, from Nov. 25 until Dec. 4, essentially asking people not to go outside unless they have to.

"We want people to shelter in place. We want to be able to do that for 10 days, and we want only folks to come out for essential purposes. That's what we want," Baraka said.

Watch John Dias' report --

Starting Friday night, there's a new curfew in the East Ward neighborhood of Newark's Ironbound section.

The curfews are in place in three zip codes, and citywide, non-essential businesses must close at 8 p.m. nightly.

"We need that because we have too much cases over here, we have to take care," said Newark resident Odalma Lisser. "The people don't listen."

From 8 p.m. Friday until Saturday at 3 a.m., and then again overnight Saturday, people will only be allowed to go through the area if they show proof of residency and proof they're doing an essential activity.

"The weekends, there's a lot of people," a woman named Marie said.

Police cars were blasting reminders while driving through the area Friday.

"Due to a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases in your area, a 9 p.m. curfew has been put into effect," the reminder said.

A looming lockdown means more uncertainty for businesses.

Diago Pina is chef at Sagres Bar and Grill in the East Ward.

"We are losing a lot of business, and with a lockdown, it's going to be complicated because we've got a small business," Pina told CBS2's Nick Caloway.

Orlando Campos has already been closing his restaurant, Sabor Unido, early every night because of the city's strict measures, worried and wondering how much more businesses can take.

"One more shutdown for 10 days, some of them are not going to survive," Campos said.

It comes as the city continues seeing a staggering rise in infections, and the positivity rate has risen to 22%.


Thursday, the Garden State reported more than 4,300 new cases, and 34 more deaths.

Statewide, hospitalizations are also rising quickly, more than doubling since Nov. 1.

"What I think we're detecting now is what we would have detected back in February and March had we had tests for COVID-19, had we had awareness for COVID-19. So what I fear is that this is a preface to what will be yet another overwhelming surge of cases in hospitals," said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, president and CEO of University Hospital in Newark.

At Holy Name Medical Center, Chief of Infectious Disease Suraj Saggar says they are much better equipped with supplies and knowledge of the disease compared to the spring.

"That time was, almost felt like the wild wild west, you know, a war time scenario," Saggar told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis. "Right now, we feel much more in control, but again, we still have the idea, we still have the understanding that things could quickly get out of control if numbers reach a breaking point."

He's asking you don't let your guard down as colder weather forces us indoors.

"This virus doesn't know that it's Thanksgiving or Christmas or Hanukah, it just knows it needs to reproduce in a host and that hos is us," Saggar said.

Watch Nick Caloway's report --

Gov. Phil Murphy warned the next few months are going to be "brutal," saying more restrictions are possible.

"Next week we'll continue to take steps. If we see transmission, we will get at it," Murphy said.

"They gotta do what they gotta do to keep people safe," said Hoboken resident Kevin Campbell.

Starting Friday in Hoboken, the mayor is strengthening contact tracing regulations with certain businesses, including restaurants, gyms, and salons. They're now required to record contact information and time of arrival of customers.

More: Restaurant, Gym Owners Worry Looming Shutdown Could Devastate Businesses In New York City

"We are willing to do whatever it takes, just don't close us down," said Nick Brando, owner of Mr. L Hair Creations.

Brando says they've been doing this since they reopened, as well as temperature checks and wiping down chairs in between each client.

"If it means doing a little extra, it's worth it," he said.

Quick service businesses like retail stores and cafes don't need to do the extra contact tracing steps, but many say they will if they have to.

"It's a great thing. It could really trace the virus in the right direction," said Luca Infantino of Alessio's Cafe.

The mayor's office is ensuring the Information collected by business will only be shared with the Hoboken Health Department in the event of a positive COVID-19 case.

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