Print By Tom Howell Jr. and Shen Wu Tan – The Washington Times – Monday, June 29, 2020 The governor of New Jersey said Monday that he won’t allow indoor dining to resume as planned this week, citing states with surging numbers of COVID-19 cases after restaurants and bars reopened. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said…
Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said he is concerned about the viability of the industry but is even more concerned about “reigniting a wave and then devastating both those establishments as well as our economy.”
He said the virus spreads more easily indoors and he can’t afford to let irresponsible patrons kick off another cycle of infection and death in his hard-hit state.
“This is for the greater good, everybody,” he said at a daily news conference.
Mr. Murphy is the latest governor to beat a retreat on reopening plans as cases surge across the Sun Belt and the national epidemic shifts from major urban areas such as New York City and New Jersey to midsized cities and rural towns.
At least a dozen states are pausing reopening plans or reimposing restrictions, especially ahead of the July Fourth holiday.
Officials in Texas, Florida and California have closed bars again, and popular Florida beaches in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach will be closed for the Independence Day weekend.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, ordered bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to be closed for at least 30 days starting Monday night.
Leaders say they are tired of hearing about people ignoring orders to wear masks and failing to maintain safe distances from others.
Gilead Sciences, that will ensure a supply for American hospitals through September, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday.
Governors remain skittish, though. Leaders in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas and Washington have announced they are halting their reopening plans, according to CNN and state websites.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, on Saturday announced a pause on moving to the fourth phase of reopening in eight counties because of concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
“Phase four would mean a return to normal activity, and we can’t do that now due to the continued rise in cases across the state,” Mr. Inslee said. “We all want to get back to doing all the things we love in Washington during the summer and fully open our economy, but we aren’t there yet.”
Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, said the state will stay in the final stage of its reopening plan for at least another two weeks because it has not met the epidemiological and health care criteria to move forward.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, on Thursday extended the state’s phase two reopening plan for another 28 days as new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations trend upward.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, moved last week to postpone reopening indoor bar service because it poses a higher risk of coronavirus transmission than outdoor service.
In Pennsylvania, the Allegheny County Health Department, which includes Pittsburgh, will ban on-premise alcohol consumption and order people to wear masks in restaurants, even when seated, except while eating or drinking. The order takes effect Tuesday.
Although officials have hit the pause button on reopening plans or renewed restrictions, they haven’t returned to the sweeping lockdowns that upended the economy and caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs.
That doesn’t mean Americans can get complacent, Dr. Schaffner said.
“I don’t think there is probably a county in the United States that has not been directly or indirectly affected by COVID. So this virus is now everywhere. It has not gone on a summer vacation,” he said. “And I think we need to — in our personal behaviors now — do our best short of a lockdown to curtail the spread of this virus. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
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