Gov. Murphy: New Jersey expected to have dates for start of reopening process soon

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday that New Jersey will soon have what he called 'hard dates' for the start of the reopening process.

During a news conference, Murphy showed charts detailing the drop in positive cases and hospitalizations, including patients in the ICU and on ventilators.

Because of those downward trends, Murphy said the dates could come by the end of this week.

Murphy said he will discuss on Tuesday plans for increased testing in New Jersey and a program for contact tracing.

Murphy warned that such a program "will be costly."

Much of the daily briefing in Trenton on Monday, however, was about federal funding.

"I'm proud to see, governor, after a lot of lobbying based on the first round, last week our hospitals received $1.7 billion that, I think, was critical to their existence," said Sen. Bob Menendez.




Menendez joined Murphy for Monday's daily briefing and is now proposing legislation that would give $500 billion to states and local governments.

"I have begun working in earnest with my colleagues in Washington on a COVID stimulus package that includes robust, flexible funding for states and communities on the front lines," said Menendez.

Murphy says fiscal disaster for New Jersey is weeks away without more assistance from the federal government. But through all this hardship, people in New Jersey are finding ways to celebrate.

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Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday that New Jersey will soon have what he called ‘hard dates’ for the start of the reopening process.



Drive-by parades have become increasingly popular as a way to socially distance while showing support.

But on Saturday, a letter was sent to all New Jersey schools from New Jersey State Police and the state attorney general, saying all in-person celebrations should be canceled, including "wave parades."

New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan clarified Monday that they're discouraging parades where people gather in groups outside of their vehicles, not parades where cars are driving past a house.

"It's a great gesture to give that sense of solidarity. But when there are 50 people standing on top of each other on the curb of a hospital or in front of a high school, that's where the problem comes in," said Callahan.

Tammy McHale, the principal of Haddonfield Memorial High School, had been considering a parade.

She's now considering other options for her graduates, like delivering boxes of senior mementos to their houses in a decorated school bus and having students come to the school in groups of less than 10 in their caps and gowns. She says she's trying to stay flexible as these plans are made.

"If we need to change things last minute because now we are able to do something then we will. As of now, we do have a July date for a possible ceremony," said McHale.

Murphy said in-person graduation ceremonies may be possible later in the summer.

Also Monday, the governor reported 1,453 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 139,945.

Another 59 deaths were reported, bringing that total to 9,310.

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