Newark residents enlisted to enforce city ‘stay at home’ order
The entire city of Newark is under a full “shelter in place” mandate by Mayor Ras Baraka, who is enlisting residents to call in violations of the order.
Baraka is "strongly advising" that residents stay home except in the event of an emergency. Trips to a supermarket or local store for essentials, a pharmacy or a doctor are permitted as is outdoor exercise or sitting outside. The order also requires children to be accompanied by an adult outside their homes.
The city's order is essentially the same one that Gov. Phil Murder imposed on the rest of the state this week.
Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose encouraged residents to call police if they see a violation because "the community has an equal responsibility to make sure we all stay healthy and safe."
Ambrose said police will be using loudspeakers to get gatherings off corners and streets.
“We will begin with verbal warnings. We want to save lives, not make arrests," Ambrose said in a written statement.
Essex County has 203 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the state Department of Health.
Baraka said most residents take social distancing seriously but there are a few who do not.
"Those people are putting their own health at risk, as well everyone they come into contact with. It’s dangerous and it has to stop," Baraka said in a written statement.
No specific penalty for violating the order was given by Baraka but police have been charging property owners across the state with misdemeanor complaints for allowing gatherings.