- The Washington Times - Monday, April 27, 2020

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday outlined a framework for reopening his state’s economy when it’s safe to do so as governors across the country start thinking about the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Murphy did not offer a specific time frame for when that might be and said a stay-at-home order will remain in place “until further notice.”

But the announcement in one of the country’s hardest-hit states during the COVID-19 outbreak is notable as more states around the country start allowing some businesses to reopen their doors this week.

“We will move as quickly as we can, but as safely as we must,” Mr. Murphy said.

He reported recent positive trends in terms of hospitalizations, but said the “curve” needs to stay down before moving further along in the process.

Mr. Murphy also says he wants the state to expand testing capacity, bolster contact tracing efforts and ensure that people who test positive can safely self-isolate before moving on to reopening parts of the economy.

“We need to, at the least, double our current testing capacity,” the governor said.

He said people can also expect to see the continuation of social distancing measures, including potential requirements for face coverings in certain locations.

“A plan that is needlessly rushed is a plan that will needlessly fail,” Mr. Murphy said.

Mr. Murphy on Monday reported more than 2,000 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to more than 111,0000. More than 6,000 people have died from the virus in the state, home to nearly 9 million people.

Among U.S. states, New Jersey has the second-most cases and virus-related deaths in the country behind New York.

Mr. Murphy said the seven mostly Democratic governors in the northeast who are coordinating on reopening plans “only want to have to do this once.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended his state’s stay-at-home restrictions until at least May 15 and said Monday he would likely extend them for at least some parts of the state beyond that date.

On Sunday, Mr. Cuomo laid out a framework to start reopening parts of the state’s economy on a regional basis starting with construction and manufacturing, though he said there’s no “X date” for revving things back up.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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