NJ Beaches to Open for Memorial Day

At today’s COVID-19 press briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that he is signing an executive order that will open New Jersey’s shores and lakes in time for Memorial Day weekend. There will be a restriction on the number of beachgoers allowed on each beach or lakefront, and social distancing measures will be required. The order will be in effect on Friday, May 22.

More specifically, Murphy said that every New Jersey beach must: establish capacity limits, enforce social distancing measures, as well as prohibit contact sports and organized events, and implement proper and regular sanitation.

The order also calls for the reopening of park restrooms, which were previously closed, and the opening of shower pavilions, changing areas, and restrooms at beaches.

Boardwalk restaurants will be allowed to continue to operate with takeout and delivery only, but rides, arcades, other games, amusement parks, playgrounds and visitor centers will remain closed.

Murphy added that while not specifically ordering it, it is highly recommended that anyone who goes to the beach and finds themselves in a situation where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, should wear a facemask.

Unemployment Update

Nearly 70,000 new unemployment claims were filed in New Jersey last week, as the Department of Labor processed another 262,000 week’s worth of federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The total amount of pandemic-related payments to unemployed New Jerseyans has now reached $2.7 billion.

The number of initial claims filed since mid-March approached 1.1 million, with more than 725,000 actively collecting state and federal PUA benefits.

The $2.7 billion in benefits to date includes, $1.1 billion in state unemployment payments since mid-March, $1.5 billion in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments, and $79 millions in PUA payments.

People collecting unemployment are also receiving a $600 supplemental weekly benefit through the end of July. Those payments arrive separately, after the regular unemployment payment. A separate application is not required.

The Department of Labor also announced that it is clearing 140,000 unemployment claims off of the backlog this week.

“We are doing everything we can, working within federal guidelines, to get benefits to as many people as possible as quickly as possible,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “We can only do so much without jeopardizing billions of dollars of funding for the new federal benefits programs, like PUA, the FPUC program, and the $600 weekly supplement.”

“You will get every single penny that is coming to you, including the federal piece,” Murphy reassured frustrated residents who have filed for unemployment, but may not have yet received any payments.

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