Hoboken mayor says he’ll sign order that gives bars, restaurants midnight curfew

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Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla says that given the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases throughout Hudson County and the state, he will be bringing back a citywide curfew for bars and restaurants – effective as of Thursday evening.

Photo via Google Maps.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“With health experts predicting a substantial rise of cases during the winter months, and a second wave already upon us here in Hudson County and New Jersey, I believe the time is now to begin taking additional precautions against the threat of COVID-19 spreading indoors,” Bhalla said in a Nixle alert this evening.

“To that end, to limit situations when social distancing and other precautions are much less likely to be followed, and to take a proactive approach at reducing gatherings indoors, I will be signing an executive order closing all bars and restaurants at midnight, seven days a week. This order will take effect as of Thursday, October 29.”

On March 14th, Hoboken was one of the first in the country to limit restaurants to take-out only service, also implementing a 10 p.m. curfew that was previously seen in Jersey City – though the Mile Square City also closed their bars at that point.

The amount of new coronavirus cases in New Jersey has been over 1,000 for the past 10 days, according to the state Department of Health, with the largest spread of Hudson County cases in Kearny, Union City, and Harrison.

While the Mile Square City has fared better than those municipalities, they have seen 254 new cases since August 15th, which is a 30-day average of about six new positive tests a day.

Bhalla’s announcement comes in the midst of backing a city council measure that would allow up to $1,000 fines for house parties that exceed 25 people ahead of the Halloween weekend.

The council will vote on the ordinance at a special meeting on Thursday and Bhalla says the fine would apply to both the tenant and the property owner. He also stated that the 25 figure isn’t an arbitrary one.

“Governor Murphy’s Executive Order regulating indoor gatherings lists 25 people as the maximum allowed in one location, with exemptions including religious or political gatherings, so long as face masks and other health precautions are taken,” he explained in the Nixle alert.

“As a city, we cannot enact legislation that is stricter then the state, which supersedes city law. This ordinance was drafted in order to be consistent with the state’s order, so it can hold up in court if challenged.”