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UPDATE: Tedesco Rescinds Executive Order

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco.
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. Photo Credit: Bergen County Executive James Tedesco

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco's executive order declaring a state of emergency will not be implemented as requested by Gov. Phil Murphy, officials said Thursday.

Tedesco on Monday announced the executive order calling for the shutdown of malls, non-essential retail and banned groups of four or more people from public gatherings by Tuesday at 11 p.m.

Then, Tuesday morning, Tedesco announced he was postponing the order until Saturday. On Wednesday, Tedesco sent a revised order to Murphy for review.

As of Wednesday, Bergen County had a total of 114 confirmed cases -- the most of any county in the state.

The Murphy Administration has stated that the only closures that could be enforced were those issued by the Governor

"The Murphy Administration has stated that the only closures that could be enforced were those issued by the Governor," according to a news release from the county executive's office.

Tedesco will be holding a press briefing Thursday night at 5:30 p.m., at Two Bergen County Plaza to address the changes.

As of Thursday morning, all schools in New Jersey were closed indefinitely -- something Tedesco did before Murphy made it a statewide order -- and all Bergen County malls were to remain closed. Restaurants closed dine-in options with delivery or takeout/curbside pick-up options only.

"The restrictions I'm putting in place are to protect you, the people of Bergen County," Tedesco said at Monday evening's briefing, noting he had "moral authority" to make the call.

"This is about saving lives. If you want to put money over someone's life then shame on you.

"If I don't do something now, more people are gonna die."

In addition to closing malls, non-essential businesses and banning large groups from gathering in public places, the executive order mandated wholesale stores such as BJ's and Costco can only sell items sold in supermarkets, in a move modeled after Bergen County Blue Laws -- something residents are already familiar with.

The executive order also mandated the following:

  • All construction activities will cease and all offices, malls, dance facilities, dental offices (other than for emergencies) will close immediately
  • No utility road work or road opening permits unless emergency situation
  • No utility meter readers that need to go into building
  • No roadway solicitation for charitable or other reasons even if previously granted a permit
  • Golf can remain open solely for golfers to walk. All clubhouses, restaurants, etc. related to golf course must close.
  • No more than 50 people allowed in stores at a time.
  • Parks remain open for passive recreation, but no organized activity will be allowed.
  • Gas stations will be open as long as they adhere to guidelines put forth by the CDC, and auto repair shops may remain open as long as they're attached to gas stations, the county executive said.

New Jersey's first drive-thru coronavirus testing facility was expected to open at Bergen County Community College by Friday. Tedesco asked all health professionals who are interested in volunteering to email bcvolunteer@co.bergen.nj.us.

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