COVID in NJ: Mask mandates in Hoboken, Paterson; vaccine requirement coming to Newark


NEW JERSEY — Several New Jersey cities are tightening their COVID safety measures as cases of omicron surge across the region.

Hoboken was one of the first cities to institute COVID restrictions when the pandemic first began. Now, it’s cracking down again.

Starting Wednesday in Hoboken, everyone over the age of 2 must wear a mask inside any public building or commercial establishment.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla said cases are rising in both Hoboken and neighboring Jersey City, with several bars and restaurants forced to close in recent weeks due to COVID outbreaks among staff.

The city said the mask order will remain in place until case numbers decrease.

Paterson is also instituting its own mask mandate, with Mayor Andre Sayegh set to issue an executive order for the mandate on Tuesday.

Once enacted, any person who enters a city-owned or operated facility in Paterson will have to be wearing a face mask.

In Newark, starting Jan. 10, anyone age 5 and older must show proof of vaccination when entering restaurants, bars, theaters and other indoor entertainment venues.

Mayor Ras Baraka announced the measure just before Christmas and signed an executive order on Monday enacting the vaccine mandate.

Also in New Jersey, Princeton University is pushing back students’ return to campus in January by a week, staggering arrivals and imposing tight travel restrictions.

Undergraduate students on campus will not be allowed to travel outside Mercer County and Plainsboro Township except in extraordinary circumstances, the school said.

The university said it will reassess the restrictions by Feb. 15.

New Jersey’s current seven-day case average is the highest on record since the COVID pandemic began, and more than double what it was a week ago.

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