Baraka urging business owners and employees to get tested for COVID-19

Cyril Josh Barker | 5/28/2020, midnight
As New Jersey continues taking more steps toward a full reopening, businesses have been open for curbside and in-store pickup ...
Ras Baraka

As New Jersey continues taking more steps toward a full reopening, businesses have been open for curbside and in-store pickup per Gov. Phil Murphy’s recent implementation of a phased reopening.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka wants business owners and workers in his city to get tested for COVID-19 as businesses continue to open. He cited the recent story out of Springfield, Mo., where a COVID-19 positive hairstylist infected 91 people in one week after the state allowed her shop to open.

“That is scary,” Baraka said. “And when you think how many people those 91 people infected, and how many people they infected, you can see how quickly this can get out of control. That would be deadly for our city. I’m asking everyone that comes in contact with the public to please get tested to assure their safety as well as your own.”

Last week, Baraka unveiled plans for a phased reopening of Newark slated to start in June. The first phase of the reopening is being called a “preparation” meaning that some things will open however a plan will be in place if things have to shut down again.

Baraka introduced a color-coded system at a press conference last week that would rate the risk factor of businesses and public places, with red being the highest risk, yellow being moderate, and green the least risk, to “educate and inform” the public. He also said businesses must submit stringent and thorough safety plans before being allowed to open.

Officials say customers have the right to ask if a business has tested it’s employees for COVID-19.

“We want to make that part of the culture,” Baraka said. “The public has the absolute right to ask if people serving them––the barbers, the hair salons, the nail salons, cashiers at the grocery store––if they have been tested. I think it’s extremely important that our people have information to make decisions about where they want to buy their food or get their hair cut, so we can safely and cautiously reopen the city.”