March 31, 2020


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• The updates are Monday through Friday at 5 p.m. You can tune into the City’s Facebook Live to get an update on COVID-19 and all of the things that we’re doing in the City, County and State to make our residents safe.

• Remember you can text COVID to 511511 to get daily updates on the pandemic in our city.

• The numbers are as follows and are still difficult numbers to give. We now have 568 confirmed cases in Newark and 12 deaths; 1986 in Essex County and 38 deaths; 16,636 in New Jersey and 198 deaths.

• We’re also going to start giving out the number of people who have recovered. We want to give everyone hope in our fight and our struggle in this war. This is not a regular situation that we’re in.

• We’re trying to save lives. This is a time to be collective and cooperative.

• New York is the epicenter and New Jersey has the second most cases. Our proximity to NYC and all of the pathways/ airport makes it easy for people to go back and forth traveling with the virus.

• Today, Mayor Baraka, Mayor Warren (Orange), Mayor Vauss (Irvington), Mayor Green (East Orange) came together and initiated a collective lockdown. All of our numbers collectively larger than many counties in the entire state. Many residents traverse back and forth across those borders. In all of these cities you should not be outside unless it’s an emergency; should not be outside going to work unless you are an essential employee; businesses will be shut down if they are violating these orders of social distancing or allowing too many people in the store at a time; businesses, senior buildings and apartments have a cleaning protocol; warehouses are being inspected to ensure they practicing social distancing and that the workers have protective gear; if outside or gathered in groups will get a ticket ranging from $75-250 and if constant tickets you’ll be referred to the prosecutor’s office for obstruction of law.

• We have to do this, because the outcome of us not doing this is deadly and we have to protect people’s lives and not put lives in danger. We’re putting people like supermarket workers, custodians, security guards, police and firemen, healthcare officials, nurses and doctors all in danger because we don’t have enough resources. We don’t have enough beds, tests, masks, gloves, because there’s a law that exists in the federal government where the President can begin forcing these businesses and corporations to make what we need so that we can end price gouging and have enough.

• Contact your Senators and Congressmen getting them to push the President so that we have the equipment that we need.

• The majority are taking it seriously and doing the right thing, but the minority affects the majority. People are jeopardizing lives.

• Q&A

1. Should we be wearing gloves and masks?

Yes, if you have access. Don’t touch your face with the gloves after being out. Wear when going to the store and then throw in garbage afterwards. The same mask shouldn’t be worn day to day. You should wipe down all surfaces just to be cautious.

2. What has Newark done?

After 1st case we eliminated all gatherings in the city of 50 or more and sent letters to venues, put out info in the community, we established an executive order that places need to close at 8 p.m., we put a moratorium on taxes, evictions and foreclosures, business licenses, and continue to do this as needed. If we didn’t do any of this the numbers we have could have well been in the thousands already.

3. Who’s listening?

Last night (March 30), we reached over 38,000 viewers plus we play this on our local cable tv for our seniors and others that don’t have access to Cablevision, we make sure that Portuguese, Spanish, and Haitian press and radio have the information.

4. If a person’s job/business does not have enough safety equipment (masks and gloves) can they receive them from somewhere?

Job is responsible for getting it and if they don’t have it, contact us at the City and we’ll make sure that they get it.

5. If we don’t have internet at home, how is our child expected to do homework or classwork from home?

Superintendent Roger Leon and Altice have been delivering Chromebooks and providing free internet access to those who need it.

6. What do we do if our landlords are expecting us to pay rent, but we cannot afford to because we are home with our children?

Communicate to your landlord that you’re home, cannot pay, and that the City has a moratorium on evictions. Be honest and if you need additional help call the Rent Control Office so that we can mitigate this for you.

7. Does the rent/mortgage moratorium waive or suspend expecting rent/mortgages?

If a landlord receives a moratorium for mortgage then that should be passed down to the renter – pay it forward.

8. Will I get a ticket from traveling to and from work during the lockdown?

If you’re not an essential employee, yes you will get a fine.

9. I don’t live in a senior building, how can I receive food and water?

Contact us and we’ll get it to you. Unfortunately, we don’t have unlimited amount of supplies. We need supplies, more resources, food, and resources to buy food.

10. How do we report businesses that are not enforcing social distancing or safety guidelines? @rasjbaraka on Instagram or call 973-733-6000 (non-emergency number) or 973-733-4311

11. Are the businesses that are closed expected to clean?

Yes. Businesses will need to certify that they’re keeping clean.

12. What is being done to protect/treat the homeless?

We have a team run by Bridges, all shelters have protocols, identified safe houses, secured a 200-bed facility, getting a place for our seniors. Bridges and the City needs volunteers for outreach to the homeless, call us if interested.

13. What are the lockdown guidelines/restrictions?

Can’t come outside unless it’s an emergency. Exceptions: to get food, to see a doctor, to pick up medicine, to walk your dog, to get fresh air on your property, or if you are an essential employee. No gathering in groups. No playground or park. No bars. No house parties or hair in your house. There will be checkpoints are the border. You can’t hang out.

14. How do warehouse workers in the Ironbound protect themselves, or receive protection, do we have to go to work?

If your warehouse is an essential job, then yes you have to go to work. But if you think your safety is at risk, contact the City. We’ll send a health team, code enforcers and give them 24 hours to make changes or will fine and close them (i.e. have gone to Hello Fresh).

15. Is there any relief for parents that must go to work? Or parents that must miss work to stay with their children?

The federal stimulus package will help with this. Also, City of Newark is working on programs for people struggling with rent and for those laid off/furlowed.

16. Are all parking rules suspended? Will Parking Authority and Newark PD be giving tickets?

Still need to pay meters Downtown; alternate side parking is suspended; not giving parking violation tickets; should not park where it causes safety hazards and other types of risks.

17. Can we go for a walk in the park if it is just us and our family? Or walk our pets?

You can walk your dog but then must go back in the house; cannot go to park nor can hang out in the park.

18. Buses are crowded, what is being done about this?

NJ Transit said that they are down to 5% ridership, practicing social distancing, and are cleaning their buses regularly. If you know of buses that are not following this, contact Mayor on Instagram or call 973-733-4311 or 973-733-6000. Also, if buses are crowded, suggest to not get on it.

19. How does someone who need mental health services receive help in these times?

Mental health services are still available. Crisis at Beth Israel, behavioral treatment at University Hospital, social services and social treatment at Shani Baraka Center and Mary Eliza Mahoney Health Center (FQHC) to help get your through this time.

20. Will my child’s graduation and prom be canceled?

Unfortunately, more than likely yes. The fact that the kids are graduating is the most important thing. We can do a late graduation and prom – we are not going to let our kids miss out.

21. Why are you talking about the Census?

All of the things that people are asking for we would have more money for if we had the last Census done correctly. We are an undercounted city – most people do not fill out the census who need to. Undocumented, homeless, don’t count our children – historically undercounted and we end up getting less money for scholarships, grants, Title I, breakfast and lunch programs, to pave roads, community development, affordable housing, feed the needy, and help provide more services. We have to do the Census.

We need your help. Selfishness and cynicism are the enemies of hope and collectivity. Now is the time for us to be hopeful. Shout out to stores, to all of the folks staying in the house and for sharing on social media, our partners helping us get food out, and all the Newarkers holding the line, to those risking their lives for us, to everyone thank you and love you.

Stay home, stop the spread, save lives. God bless everybody.