The City of Hoboken is set to implement a new indoor mask mandate due to the latest COVID-19 spike throughout New Jersey and beyond, with the order set to take effect Wednesday at 6 a.m.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Under the executive order, signed by Hoboken Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Sgt. William Montanez, all residents and visitors over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask or face-covering while inside any public building or commercial establishment – except when actively eating or drinking.
“This order will be lifted when the positivity rate for the State of New Jersey reaches 5% for a one-week average or when the daily positive cases in Hoboken fall below the weekly average as compared to the first week of November 2021, prior the surge of the Omicron variant, whichever is first,” the order says.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the seven day testing positivity rate hit 19.73 percent today in Hudson County.
“We are today taking additional steps to help curb the spread of the Omicron variant in Hoboken. With cases at an all-time high, we need to revert back to one of the tools that we know works – a face mask,” Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19 this weekend, said in a statement.
“This new measure will create a safer environment for our most vulnerable residents and ensure our businesses can stay open and remain adequately staffed during the winter months. Thank you to the many Hoboken businesses which have already implemented this requirement.”
During the recent Omicron surge, various Hoboken restaurants, bars, and other establishments have been closed by business owners due to outbreaks among staff.
The executive order applies to all areas of indoor public accommodation including, but not limited to restaurants, bars, gymnasiums, dance studios, recreation facilities, retail stores, cafes, supermarkets, places of worship, commercial establishments, salons, barbershops, banks, healthcare facilities, and hotels.
Residents, visitors, and patrons of the above public facilities must wear a face mask at all times except when actively eating or drinking as mentioned above, or when socially distanced at least six feet apart from all others for an extended period of time, such as in an office setting when seated at desks.
“Given the recent surge in Omicron, we’re taking additional effective measures in preventing the spread of COVID and having our staff mask up for the safety of all,” said Bin 14 and Anthony David’s Owner Anthony Pino.
“We’re hopeful the severity of omicron will be short lived and our community can resume to some normalcy.”
The Hoboken Health Department reported record high positive COVID-19 cases as over 611 residents have tested positive in the last seven days and eight individuals are hospitalized at Hoboken University Medical Center with COVID-19.
Since the pandemic’s onset, the city has had a total of 7,322 positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic’s onset.
The recommendation comes after Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said they would not implement any local mandates, opting to follow state guidance instead, and the CDC issuing new guidance for COVID-19 due to the highly infectious nature of Omicron.
For asymptomatic cases, vaccinated individuals who have received their booster should wear a face mask for 10 days, while unvaccinated individuals should quarantine for five days, followed by an additional five days of mask wearing.