Posted: Apr 30, 2021 / 10:24 PM EDT
Updated: 04/30/2021 / 10:55 PM EDT

NEWARK – The curfew on restaurants and bars in Newark has been extended to midnight.

It’s a two-week pilot program that starts on Friday.

Mayor Ras Baraka leaves open the possibility of complying with the later curfew if people act responsibly.

“Do the right thing,” said Baraka. “Don’t let this 12pm curfew drive you crazy when you start throwing wild parties and our numbers get back up and we have to close and you lose money, it’s not worth having these wild parties when you can stay open a little later every day. ”

The reason for the subsequent curfew is because Baraka says Newark’s COVID numbers are going in the right direction. On April 27, the three-day rolling average test positive was 6.48%, the lowest in a long time in the city, according to Baraka.

Baraka admitted they could do better.

“These are good numbers, not big numbers.” Newark’s 7-day average is 8% versus 11%.

Still, it’s a long way from last November when the citywide positivity rate was over 21% and at least one in three people in the city’s Ironbound District tested positive. Streets were closed, residents were asked to stay home as much as possible, and there was a 8 p.m. curfew for non-essential business and indoor dining.

Baraka also said they need to vaccinate more city dwellers. Only 22% are fully vaccinated and 38% have received at least one vaccination. These statistics are low compared to the rest of the state.

To that end, Newark officials will be setting up mobile vaccination sites on a different ward each week for the coming weeks. These are walk-up appointments; prior registration is not required. As an added incentive, Baraka says that if you get vaccinated, they will also hand out groceries at the same time.

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