NJ residents ordered to forgo religious holidays in order to flatten the curve

Sobering words from New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, as the death toll from coronavirus surpasses the number of people lost on September 11th.

Gov. Murphy also talked of the upcoming holidays – Passover and Easter – and how the two religious days will look different as communities and the state deal with coronavirus.

“Work and the grocery store. That’s about it. I sit in the backyard just to get some fresh air,” stated Harris Payne.

Weeks into the quarantine and the message hasn’t changed.

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“By being apart, we are actually working together” Gov. Murphy said.

A sad number as the governor reports over 800 New Jersey residents have died from coronavirus.

“We have now lost nearly 100 more New Jersey residents to COVID-19 then we did in the September 11th attacks,” Gov. Murphy explained.

Governor Murphy is calling coronavirus one of the greatest tragedies in history and says social distancing matters most. But, what about necessary workers?

“I work at a recycling company, so it’s an essential job. I have to go,” said Ramona Smith.

Ramona says social distancing is difficult when taking public transport. And, not everyone is covering their like the government is advising.

“It is scary. It’s very scary. I have three children at home,” Ramona added.

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Murphy said any sort of fabric over the face will help slow the spread. That and staying home.

“Everyone needs to stay home. Including, and I say this with profound gravity, including not taking communion whether on Palm Sunday, or any day, for Catholics around the state, especially because it’s the beginning of Holy Week,” Gov Murphy went on.

Easter, Passover and Ramadan are all coming up. Gov. Murphy wants all faith communities to practice social distancing, even if that means from family members.

“Big religious holidays, among so many other celebrations and festivals that are fast approaching. Our desire is to come together. That’s only natural. We are humans. But, our need, our mandate is to find a way to observe and celebrate separately,” Gov. Murphy explained.

That separation can be done except at the grocery store, where masks were everywhere.

“They have this big old shield in front of the cashier. It was like wow, this feels like a movie,” Harris Payne said.

It might not feel real, but it is and it will be until the curve flattens.

“When you panic, you don’t think straight. I’ve panicked before, so trial and error, it’s better to be calm,” Harris added.

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