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. 

On this month's edition of Newark Today Host Michael Hill is joined by Mayor Ras Baraka and Director of Health and Community Wellness Dr. Mark Wade, to discuss all the latest developments around COVID 19, including the city's contact tracing initiative, and just when New Jersey's largest city will begin to re-open.



New Jersey reported 1,055 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 149,013.

Another 162 people died of complications from COVID-19. The state has now lost 10,586 residents to the pandemic.

Pharmacists cleared to order and administer tests

New Jersey has authorized its 18,000 pharmacists to order and administer coronavirus tests without the need for customers to first get a prescription.

 Antibody testing starts today for those battling the coronavirus pandemic in New York City.The antibody tests will likely will tell if someone already has already had coronavirus.  The tests will be made available in hospitals, firehouses, police stations and corrections facilities.  

 “140 thousand of our heroes will get tested.  It’s voluntary.  It’s up to each of you. First responders.  Healthcare workers.  If you want it it’s there for you.”

New Jersey announced another 1,735 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 148,039 confirmed infections.

The state lost another 83 residents to the pandemic, which means some 10,435 residents have died due to complications from COVID-19.

Murphy outlines multi-step recovery plan

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday the multistage plan for New Jersey’s reopening as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

NYC Beaches will NOT be Open for Memorial Day Weekend

May 18, 2020

The governors of New York and New Jersey have given the okay for localities to open beaches with coronavirus related restrictions for Memorial Day Weekend but they won’t be open in New York City.

Mayor de Blasio says opening new York City beaches is not safe and not the thing to do right now in what’s the epicenter of the pandemic.

“I have never ruled out the possibility of beaches being open later in the summer but we are not ready yet.”

The beach itself is not the only concern.

Student Player

While College athletics are on hold right now because of the coronavirus pandemic, some major decisions are still looming when it comes to paying college athletes for their name, image and likeness.

California and Colorado have already passed laws that take effect January 2023 that essentially create an open market for student athletes to be able to benefit from their name, image and likeness.  New Jersey and New York are strongly considering similar possibilities.

The Terrible Toll on First Responders in NYC

May 15, 2020
New York City Detectives
New York City Detectives Endowment Association

Here in our region, with the rate of COVID19 hospitalizations on the decline, officials have started the process of determining just how to restart the economy. But the pandemic has taken a terrible toll on first responders and their families.

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently briefed reporters on one way the city was trying to help these families cope.  


It has become apparent how social media have played a crucial role in helping people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the social media sharing has taken place on a national or international basis. But one social media network has been working in a hyper-local way.  

WBGO's Jon Kalish has the story of Nextdoor.

Newark's Salvation Army Sees Major Increase In Need

May 15, 2020
Salvation Army

We usually see them around the holidays, but right now they’re helping many in Newark, in all kinds of ways.


The Salvation Army says feeding the hungry during the pandemic has been job one, it has served five times as many meals in Newark over the past several weeks as it did in the same period of 2019. Major James Betts says the hotline the Army has in Newark for people to call for food is also getting calls for another kind of help.



As the weather warms up New York City is further limiting access to parks.  Last weekend, there were limits to the number of people in part of Hudson River and Domino Park and now mayor de Blasio is doing the same for Sheep Meadow in Central Park.

“We’ve definitely seen some places where overcrowding started to happen. We don’t want that to happen.”

The city is also putting more of what the mayor calls social distancing ambassadors on the streets.

 New York City’s health commissioner is getting criticized for a coronavirus connected argument she had with a top police official.  NYPD Chief Terry Monahan asked for 500-thousand more masks to protect officers from coronavirus back in March.  Apparently, Health Commissioner Doctor Oxiris Barbot told him she didn't care about police officers, used profanity and insisted only 50-thousand would be made available at the time.   Mayor de Blasio was asked about it Thursday.

Baraka: Reopening May Be Too Soon

May 13, 2020

New Jersey is taking the first steps to reopening its economy on Monday, when non-essential businesses will be allowed to take phone and online orders and deliver them at curbside, however, the word from City Hall in Newark is that it’s a little too soon.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, in a virtual discussion of the city’s reopening with state lawmakers and leaders in education, business, and health care, says opening up will carry a price.


Mayor Bill de Blasio says Congress needs to pass a three trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus package that would provide major financial relief to New York City.

Mayor de Blasio calls the stimulus package the game changer we need.   17 billion in aid would be set aside for the Big Apple, including money for public transit, housing and hazard pay for essential workers.

“There is literally no such thing as a city that could possibly stand up against a pandemic alone.”