As of Monday, Dec. 20, City of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka issued an executive order determining that all city residents and visitors must wear a mask at all times while indoors at any public facility in the city.
His order added that all patrons must be seated while at a bar within the City of Newark, and must be masked unless actively eating or drinking.
Noting that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious, and at times fatal, respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Baraka stated, “I will continue to monitor the progression of the virus and reserve the right to take additional mitigation measures, if the city’s test positivity rate reaches 15% or higher for three (3) consecutive test periods.”
On March 9, 2020, Gov. Phillip D. Murphy of the State of New Jersey issued Executive Order 103, declaring a Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency due to the spread of COVID-19.
Newark’s mayor recalled, “I declared a State of Emergency in the City of Newark on March 12, 2020 after COVID-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic.”
Then on March 14, 2020, the City of Newark declared its first confirmed case of COVID-19, and on March 18, 2020, Baraka said that the city had its first confirmed death of a Newark resident from COVID-19. “Since March 18, 2020, I have issued approximately 35 Executive Orders which set forth restrictions and protocols in our effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, and to provide some economic relief to Newark businesses.”
Baraka’s office stated that “the SARS-Co V-2 virus strain, commonly referred to as the Delta Variant, is the dominant strain in the United States; the Omicron Variant is now more contagious and therefore is more deadly and spreads more quickly throughout communities.” He is tasked he said, “with the responsibility to take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard and best ensure the health, safety and welfare of the citizens throughout the City of Newark.”
As of Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, Newark officials said it had a test positivity rate of 11.89%; Baraka concluded, “In the midst of this continuing pandemic, the increase in the Omicron variant, and until the spread of COVID-19 is contained and/or better controlled, I find it is necessary and critical for me to institute the [stated] policies for the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens throughout the City of Newark.”