With the coronavirus situation improving in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is not ruling out the possibility that all children will go school in September.  Mayor de Blasio says the city will try and get the most children in school buildings as possible in September while keeping it safe.  He does admit a lot can change between now and then with coronavirus and even during the school year. 

New Jersey reported another 539 coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the state’s total number of residents sickened to 165,816.

Another 70 residents died from complications of COVID-19. All told, 12,433 people have died in New Jersey from the disease.

Workers can refuse to return over safety fears

Workers recalled to their job, but concerned their employer has not met required health and safety standards or has violated a New Jersey executive order on COVID-19, can refuse to work and continue collecting unemployment benefits.

On Wednesday, New Jersey reported 611 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and an additional 74 deaths from the virus.

The new statewide totals are 165,346 cases and 12,377 mortalities.

The state hospital association reported 1,701 hospitalizations as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday; a net reduction of 15 hospitalizations.

The number of patients in intensive care decreased by 30 to a total of 471.

Training begins for additional contact tracers

On Tuesday, New Jersey reported 375 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and an additional 91 deaths from the virus.

The new statewide totals are 164,796 cases and 12,303 mortalities.

The state hospital association reported 1,736 hospitalizations as of 10 p.m. Monday; a net reduction of four hospitalizations.

The number of patients in intensive care increased by 12 to a total of 510.

Stay-at-home order lifted

Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the state’s stay-at-home order Tuesday.

Phase two of reopening could start earlier than the original target of July for New York City.    The data shows just one percent are testing positive now for coronavirus in the Big Apple with some 30-thousand plus tests being done daily.


“That is an amazing statement on what all of you have achieved, all of you have done.”


NYC Begins Phase One of Reopening

Jun 8, 2020

  New York City has been the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s now starting phase one of reopening today. Mayor de Blasio credits New Yorkers, saying they did the hard work with social distancing, face coverings and other measures to get the number of coronavirus cases down. Manufacturing, retail for curbside pickup and construction are among the industries that are back with phase one.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging all New Yorkers, especially protesters to get tested for coronavirus.

Throngs of people have been seen packed together protesting the police custody death of George Floyd  in the recent week or so and many were not wearing face coverings.

“If you have been at one of these protests, I want to strongly urge you to get tested.  It has been a real concern that people have gathered in close proximity.”

de Blasio says the city now has enough testing capacity where he’s urging every New Yorker to get tested.

Coronavirus update: N.J. Assembly approves $5 billion borrowing plan

Jun 5, 2020

New Jersey reported another 603 cases of coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the state’s cumulative count of infected residents to 162,530.

The state lost another 92 residents to complications from COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 11,970 lives lost.

Assembly approves $5 billion borrowing plan

The New Jersey Assembly approved a plan Thursday that will allow Gov. Phil Murphy to borrow $5 billion or more to prop up the state’s finances, which have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy

The latest edition of Ask Governor Murphy on June 4 focused on how New Jersey is handling the protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the latest restrictions in New Jersey concerning the coronavirus.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, practicing social distancing, joined the show from his home.

The show was hosted by WNYC's Nancy Solomon.

NYC Phase Two Reopening Could Begin In early July

Jun 4, 2020

If things go smoothly with coronavirus, phase two of reopening will kick in at the start of July in New York City. Outdoor dining is a big part of that.  Mayor Bill de Blasio is hoping it will give a huge boost to the restaurant industry so he says the city will put together a plan.

“We will provide a massive expansion of curbside seating, a big expansion of open streets.  We will do what it takes to help this key part of life in New York City.”

New York City continues coronavirus related preparations for phase one of reopening which is still on track for Monday. Whether protesting or just out and about, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants folk off the streets.  

“I want people to stay home to the maximum extent possible. I want people to practice social distancing very very consistently.”

He says the MTA is working hard in getting the subway and buses as safe as possible.

Dean Moses / AMNY


A curfew going from eight pm to five am is being extended in New York City through Sunday following yet another night of mayhem.  A clearly agitated Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’s tired of people criticizing New York City and its police officers.

“To hell with all of them. I don’t care if they are left or right or center.  I am sick of people attacking the city of New York.”

As for the day after day of violence and looting

Barring a “precipitous backslide” in COVID-19 cases, New Jersey restaurants can offer outdoor dining and nonessential retail businesses can reopen their doors starting June 15, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.

A week later, on June 22, salons and barbershops can again serve customers, Murphy said, while gyms and health clubs can reopen sometime after that.

All will likely face capacity limits and be required to make other adjustments, such as using paper menus or performing temperature checks at the door, the Democratic governor said.

New York City will be helping employees protect their workers from coronavirus with the city still on pace to start reopening within the next couple weeks.  Businesses must supply face coverings to their employees once they reopen and the city will give them to companies for free.  Mayor de Blasio is setting up a worker helpline for employees to send in coronavirus related workplace protection complaints.


It’s tough enough being an essential worker these days without having to worry about how you’re going to pay for additional schooling.  Essex County College is trying to help.

ECC will cover tuition and fees for a minimum of 6 credits for essential workers for the Summer 2020 term. All they have to do is provide a letter from their employer confirming that they are indeed essential. 


It’s estimated upwards of four hundred thousand people will be back at work with phase one of reopening still on track to start in New York City in the first two weeks of June. Mayor Bill de Blasio says companies will be required to do healthcare screenings once they open.

“It might be a temperature check in the morning as people come to their place of work.  It might be a questionnaire.”

New Jersey announced another 1,261 cases of coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the state’s total count of positive cases to 157,815.

Another 66 New Jerseyans died from complications of COVID-19. The state has now lost 11,401 to the outbreak.

State releases guidance on school graduations

Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration late Wednesday released guidance for how schools across New Jersey can hold modified in-person graduation ceremonies this year, as the state continues to deal with one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country.

NYC Providing Service For Residents In Isolation

May 27, 2020

New York City is providing free services to those in isolation with coronavirus.  In an effort to help people and try and make sure folks who test positive stay in quarantine for two weeks, the city has brought on what Mayor Bill de Blasio calls resource navigators. They will make daily phone calls to people and get them what they need for free.

“Medical check ins.  It means meals. It means laundry. It means making sure you get any medicines delivered that you need.  It means mental health support.”

New Jersey reported 703 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 155,764.

Another 54 people died of complications from COVID-19. The state has now lost 11,191 residents to the pandemic.

N.J. to allow outdoor graduations

Starting July 6, New Jersey schools and colleges can hold outdoor graduation ceremonies “that comply with social distancing,” Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday.

Jumbo Care Packages
Ken Schreihofer

It’s another way of saying thank you to our frontline health care workers.

Jumbo Care Packages --- the work of the nonprofit Operation Gratitude as well as Newark’s own Prudential and Mars Wrigley --- have made their way to hospitals in Newark as well as the police and fire departments.

Inside are snacks, candy, coffee, and handwritten thank you letters from Prudential employees and others. Are they helping?

In his 13 years working as a bartender at Harrah’s casino in Atlantic City, Jason McKnight has just about seen it all.

“Shakeups and downturns and expansion of gaming in other states and the list goes on,” he said. “I mean, you name it, we’ve done it.”

But in his estimation, nothing compares to the threat COVID-19 poses to the iconic resort town.

“This one’s on another level,” he said. “We don’t know if people are going to just flock back in like nothing happened, or if people are going to be very scared and very wary to be around that many people.”

Another jazz festival has been scratched from the schedule because of COVID-19. The Celebration of the Arts Jazz Festival at the Delaware Water Gap has been held every September for the past 42 years, but not in 2020.

A Congressional Effort to Aid COVID Essential Workers and their Families

May 23, 2020
Robert Hennelly
Port Authority of NY & NJ

As states across the nation open up their economies, we are just beginning to get a sense of the toll on the families of essential workers, like nurses and firefighters, who either died in the pandemic or maybe permanently disabled from their bout with COVID19.

It should come as no surprise that the members of Congress from our region that led the charge for the passage of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund are teaming up to introduce the Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act.

Seeing Eye
Seeing Eye

There are 90 accredited schools around the world that train guide dogs for the blind. Many of them have been closed by the coronavirus pandemic. The oldest such school in the U.S. is the Seeing Eye located in Morris Township, New Jersey.

WBGO's Jon Kalish reports on how the the Seeing Eye is coping with the pandemic.

Alexandra Hill / News

Restaurants and restaurant owners and employees across New Jersey have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with many being forced to lay off employees and shut their doors, only to survive on pick up and delivery orders since the shut down began back in March, but some have managed to adapt and have even answered the call to feed those in need and those on the frontline.

NYC Beaches Open For Memorial Day Weekend

May 22, 2020

 New York City beaches will be open for Memorial Day weekend.   Mayor de Blasio is clearing up a bit of confusion when he said a few days ago beaches will remain closed.  He now is inviting folks to come to the beaches but says there’s no swimming.   


“You can walk, you can sit down, you can bring a chair.  You can bring a blanket. But you have to follow the same concepts.  Socially distance from people who are not a part of your own household.”


Starting Friday, New Jerseyans will be able to take self-administered, self-swab COVID-19 tests outside seven Walmarts across the state.

The announcement comes as Gov. Phil Murphy reiterated his goal to have 20,000 people tested each day by the end of May.

The tests are a partnership with Quest Diagnostics, which will handle the tests, and Walmart, which will host the drive-thru sites.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Organizers of the Jazz Coalition had a lot of phone calls to make this week.

The industry collective, which formed in response to the hardships of the coronavirus pandemic, spent the last month mobilizing behind its signature initiative: a Commission Fund designed to award $1,000 grants to an array of artists, in support of the creation of new work.

New York City is making a big effort to protect the elderly in nursing homes which have been hard hit with coronavirus. Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will fulfill all nursing home staff requests by the end of the next week.  The city will also offer regular testing to nursing homes.

“Whatever amount of tests they need, whatever amount of lab capacity they need, we will find it for them.”

de Blasio says the city has also formed outbreak teams to be sent to nursing homes to slow the spread.