Governor Phil Murphy: Sorry about that. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for coming in earlier than usual. I'm joined by the woman to my right who needs no introduction, the Commissioner of the Department of Health, Judy Persichilli. To her right, another familiar face, the Department of Health's State Epidemiologist, Dr. Christina Tan, great to have you both here. A guy to my left who needs no introduction, State Police Superintendent Colonel Pat Callahan, Pat, Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Jared Maples.
Good morning, everyone. We must begin by marking that today is Juneteenth, a celebration of the day in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas finally learned 900 days after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation that they were free. However, this Juneteenth, I have to say is a little different. Today it is black voices that are telling the rest of us in no uncertain terms of the sustained existence of systemic racism. I will be visiting Friendship Baptist church with my dear friend, Pastor John Taylor, later today to speak at length on the meaning of Juneteenth to our efforts to make New Jersey a leader in breaking down systemic racism.
But this is for many a day of celebration and liberation, a day to celebrate the strong culture and connections of our black community. It is something for all of us to celebrate. And this afternoon, I will also be joining advocates and lawmakers for a significant announcement in our efforts to do right by our environmental justice communities; communities which are the homes of predominantly black and brown residents, who have been living under the disproportionate impacts of pollution for far too long.
Now, for a moment looking past this upcoming weekend, on Monday we'll take our next step in stage two of our restart and recovery, as our hair salons, barbershops and personal care businesses will begin reopening their doors. And I know a lot of folks are looking forward to getting a bit of a trim. My appointment is scheduled for a week from tomorrow, Pat, in case you're wondering. However, we must be mindful that as we take each step down our road back, the risks increase for COVID-19 to spread if we do not take personal responsibility. Remember that notion, common sense for the common good, not just for yourself or your family, but for the rest of us.
We have given personal care businesses specific guidance meant to safeguard both clients and staff and greatly lessen the threat of exposure to COVID-19. We ask you to take every precaution as well. Remember to wear your face covering and to keep your social distance. Continue to wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Let's keep our common sense for the common good, as I mentioned. If we do, then we don't have to fear that a reopening may lead to a new outbreak and more importantly, we can begin to think seriously about when, and not if, we enter stage three. So keep up with everything that you've been doing, folks, which has already gotten us to this point of extraordinary progress. Great work, everybody, but our work is far from done.
Before we turn to the overnight numbers, a couple of comments. Went out and died outside last night, Judy. Wait staff and restaurant was a 10 out of 10. And I'm not talking about when you're at the table having your dinner, where people clearly, including yours truly, had my mask off, but a paucity of masks on people who were just walking through, including folks who are role models. And so that's something I'm going to hit again, I think we need to hit harder. I think on Monday we're going to come back to that theme. But face masks really, really, really make a difference.
And secondly, we have done inside stuff before, so we did it, obviously essential retail never closed. We've now opened up elective surgeries that are inside, we've opened up all retail but this is going to be, the salons and barbershops are going to be, our first step with largely sedentary indoor openings. And so we're going to have to be really, really careful, folks, on this one. So the entities, the businesses are setting themselves up. They know exactly what they need to do. But everybody has to approach this with a sense of responsibility, not just for themselves but for the for the greater community.
Unrelated completely. I had a really good call this morning with a guy who's been really good to New Jersey, and I want to give him a shout out, the Secretary of Veteran Affairs Robert Wilkie. He was checking in on us. I thanked him for his enormous help both not just in our veterans homes, but the surge teams that they put into our non-veterans long-term care facilities, and I thanked him for that. And he wanted to make sure that I knew that in the awful reality of a resurgence of this, that they would continue to be there for us, so I want to give Secretary Wilkie a particular shout out. He's a good man and he and his team have been there in our hour of need.
So let's go, if we could, to the overnight numbers. We received 516 positive test results. That pushes the statewide cumulative total to 168,496. Spot positivity, this is from samples taken on June 15, was 2.5%. The statewide rate of transmission is 0.7. These two metrics, as Judy and Tina know far better than I, both spot positivity and rate of transmission or RT, are our best measures for tracking COVID-19 spread and recognizing early on potential trouble. Where both of these numbers sit today tells us that the great work millions of you have done so far to crush the curves has been working, and that we need to keep at it. I looked at the county lineup, and I think virtually every county was at one or lower overnight, and we've got to keep it that way. We can't allow this to flare back up again. We need to keep these numbers as low as possible in order to continue on our road back.
But to make sure these measures and these numbers are meaningful, and for us to have the most accurate data to determine the dates of our next steps forward, we also need to get our testing numbers as large as possible. So again, I encourage you all to go to get tested. Go to covid19.nj.gov/testing to find a testing site near you. We have the testing capacity, we have literally hundreds of locations. There is no reason not to get tested. I've got a call after our gathering here today with Admiral Girrier, I think with both Pat and Judy on with me, to talk about where the community based testing reality is going. And it's sort of 3.30 next generation. Again, everybody get out there and get tested. And as more and more residents are getting back out, the importance of knowing whether or not you are carrying the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 increases greatly.
Next, our long-term care facilities, 116 new positive cases for a total of 35,600 and lab-confirmed fatalities, blessed souls lost of another 22, so 6,152 lives lost the long-term care facilities. We continue to work with our industry partners to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among some of our most vulnerable residents, and to save every life we can.
Turning to hospitals, the number of patients being treated for COVID-19 decreased again to 1,177. There were 15 patients reported in field medical stations, the number of patients in intensive care is 286. The number on ventilators is 231, and both of these numbers, both ICU count and, ventilators are down significantly from yesterday. Our hospitals admitted 61, you can see in the lower left, COVID-positive patients, while 108 live patients left our hospitals. Across our healthcare systems we continue to see the numbers we want to see in terms of new and total hospitalizations and increasing numbers of empty ICU beds and unused ventilators. These are all really good signs that our hospitals are past the worst, yet remains fully capable of caring for those who are still coming through their doors.
And let's keep this in mind, that there are states which are now reaching their peaks. A few weeks ago, we were the outlier in terms of the tremendous impact COVID-19 was having on our state, and now we're an outlier in terms of how well we've done to stem the tide. And that's all on you, folks, you have done that.
This proves that our work to save lives by putting a premium on social distancing and face coverings and washing our hands with soap and water and taking data-driven, science-focused and responsible steps forward was the right path. And as we work to stay on our road back, we're also going to stay on that parallel path. And we have to, even with the continuously dropping numbers of new cases, we are still a top five state in terms of overall hospitalizations and fatalities per day, and this is why we must all keep up with the social distancing, the face coverings, the washing hands with soap and water.
Today we are reporting the loss of another 37 blessed souls from our New Jersey family to COVID-19 complications. Our statewide total is now unbelievably 12,835 precious lives last. However, in a quick, quick note here. We know that there are many others who have died throughout this pandemic who have not been counted officially among our COVID-19 related fatalities. Judy and I spoke about this literally yesterday. This could occur for a number of reasons, including that a COVID-19 test was never performed, even though the underlying symptoms and causes of death point to the fact that an individual did in fact have COVID-19.
As our fellow states have grappled with ensuring a complete picture of the grim toll of COVID-19, so has New Jersey, and for more than a month, our friend Dr. Ed Lifshitz and his team at the Communicable Disease Service have been carefully analyzing thousands of death certificates to identify those residents whose passing can, with a high degree of certainty, now be attributed to complications from COVID-19. Next week I think, Judy, these residents will be recognized alongside our confirmed COVID-19 losses. And as we do this, it will increase our overall toll significantly.
We do this with no sense of pride, but with a sense of duty and closure. And we must. I want to thank Dr. Ed Lifshitz and his team for taking on this solemn task. Now let's remember, as we do every day, several more of the blessed New Jersey souls lost to COVID-19, and today is an extraordinary and unthinkable tragedy that befell one family in Bellville.
Here are Luis and Libia Urgilies, and their son in the middle. Luis Marcelo, lovingly called by the way, Mashie. They were immigrants from Ecuador who would call the United States and New Jersey home for nearly 40 years. Luis and Libia were married while living in Ecuador, and this year would have been their 60th wedding anniversary. Together they had nine children, six daughters and three sons. They both enjoyed traveling back to their native Ecuador to visit the family who remained there, but their favorite times were spent with their children, and 20 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. They taught their children to be humble yet straightforward and to never lose faith, even in the toughest moments of life.
Their son, again Mashi, who's in the middle was 17 years old when the family arrived Bellville. A hardworking and determined man, he was the well-respected owner of Equinox Paving in Bellville for the past 14 years. But behind the hard-working exterior was a humble and loving family man, a man of faith and a man always willing to lend a hand to family and friend. He was devoted to his wife, Piadate and their children Cecilia, Daisy, and Marcello, and his grandson, Jaden.
Luis, the dad on the right, passed away on March 30th at the age of 82. Mashie, Luis Marcelo in the middle, lost his battle with COVID-19 just four days later on April 3rd. He was only 54 years old. And just six days after that on April 9th, we lost Libia at the age of 78. All of them gone within 10 days of each other. They leave their surviving children and Marcel's siblings, Rosario, Milton, Nubay, Rolando, Lupa and Sandra, and I had the great honor of speaking with Sandra yesterday for this extraordinary conversation about this extraordinary family tragedy. So in addition to, again, the children and siblings, they leave behind also those members of the next generation of the extended Urgiles family. To them, we offer our deepest, deepest condolences. One family should never endorse such a loss in such a short period of time and may God bless, Luis, Libia and Marcelo. For them, our flags remain at half-staff and our thoughts and prayers are with every family who has suffered the loss of a loved one because of COVID-19.
And even as we enjoy the restart of our economy, we must never forget what is now nearly 13,000 brothers and sisters in our New Jersey family who will not join us for that restart. Let us never forget that and never forget them.
Now, I want to end on a little bit of a grace note. Before we close, there are a couple of stories that give us hope and restore our spirit for the days ahead. First up comes from Pequannock in Morris County. This is 21-year-old Colby Douglas. I don't think, Pat, you or I are going to win an arm wrestle with Colby anytime soon, he's an extraordinary young man and a special Olympian and his inner strength was pushed to its limits. Colby fought a nearly 11-week battle with COVID-19 at Morristown Medical Center, and was on a ventilator, Judy, for over two months. His fight brought well wishes literally from across the nation and literally around the world. Cards came to him from as far away as New Zealand.
And on Wednesday of this week, two days ago, day 75 since being hospitalized, Colby left Morristown Medical Center and was transferred to Children's Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick to begin his rehab, and he is no longer on a ventilator. To his mom and dad, Gail, and I had the great honor of speaking with Gail yesterday and George, her husband and Colby's dad, and to Colby's four siblings, by the way, he's the youngest of five. Know that we are all rooting for Colby's full recovery and when he's well, I've already said this to his folks. I want to personally stop by to offer my best wishes. Again, I'm not going to get into any arm wrestling with Colby, but I would love to give that guy a hug.
And finally, let's meet a guy that Pat Callahan first raised with me months ago, Manchester Police Sergeant Antonio Ellis. After 35 days at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, and a rehab stay in Philadelphia, he returned home to his family again on Wednesday. He was on a ventilator for 30 days, and to be frank, there were days where it wasn't clear if Sergeant Ellis would be returning home, but he did. He's back with his wife Carla and his boys Antonio and Dante. Manchester Police Chief Lisa Parker calls him quote, "Our Miracle." I had the great honor of speaking not only to the sergeant but his wife Carla and Antonio and Dante yesterday, and to send them our best wishes for his continued and complete recovery.
Both Colby and Antonio stand as inspirations. They both defied the odds in many ways, they epitomize this state, the singular state, Jersey, our Jersey spirit, because we have always punched above our weight and defied the odds from moment one, and we continue to every single day, and you've never seen it more clearly than during this incredible, awful pandemic.
With that, please help me welcome the woman who needs no introduction, the Commissioner of the Department of Health, Judy Persichilli.
Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli: Thank you, Governor and good afternoon. We all know being apart from our loved ones has been one of the most difficult challenges for all of us throughout this pandemic. We recognize that this hardship has been particularly difficult and stressful for those living in a long-term care setting and for their families. We understand the emotional distress that comes along with this isolation, and we are concerned about the mental health and wellbeing and quality of life of the 70,000 residents in our long-term care facilities.
To allow families to reconnect in person, beginning this Sunday, Father's Day, June 21, New Jersey nursing homes, assisted living residences, dementia care homes, pediatric transitional care homes and comprehensive personal care homes, can welcome reunions with loved ones in a designated outdoor space. A staff member wearing a surgical mask must remain with the resident during the visit. A resident who is suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 or quarantined for a COVID exposure cannot have visitors.
A resident who has tested positive is allowed visitation after they have met the criteria for discontinuation of their isolation. Facilities may start scheduling appointments today, but visitation cannot begin until Sunday. Long-term care centers must follow safety and infection prevention and control measures in order to allow visitation. The department will issue a full directive today outlining the measures that must be in place to reduce the risk to this vulnerable population, while allowing visits outdoors. There will only be two visitors permitted at a time, and the visitors must remain at least six feet away from the resident. Both visitor and residents must wear face coverings. A designated area should be established for visitors to be screened that maintain social distancing and infection control standards. If the individual has any COVID-19 symptoms, they will not be permitted, obviously to visit with the resident. Visitors are not allowed beyond the reception area of the facilities and restrooms will not be available to them.
When staff are transporting the residents outdoors, they cannot be moved through any space where either positive or suspected COVID patients are cohorted. A safe distance of six feet must be maintained between residents and staff at all times. Long-term care facilities should communicate the visitor policy to residents, family, staff and others. They should receive informed consent from the resident and the visitor, in writing, that they are aware of the possible risks of COVID-19 exposure and that they will comply with the facility's policies during the visit. As part of the consent form, the visitor must agree to notify the facility if they test positive for the virus, or have symptoms, within 14 days of visiting. At least 24 hours before they begin outdoor visitation, facilities must submit an attestation to the Department of Health that they have implemented the requirements of the department's directive and that the facility has a location designated for outdoor visitation, that they have sufficient staff, and protective equipment, and a method to schedule appointments.
We know families are eager to see their residents, so I encourage facilities to move quickly to submit their attestations. We know that it has been a long, hard three months for residents and families, but we know we must be thoughtful and careful. Virtual communication can never replace a gathering face to face. If you or the loved one you visited need emotional support as a result of difficulties related to the pandemic, such as an extended absence from one another, there are resources available to help. You can call New Jersey's toll free hotline and speak to counselors seven days a week at 1-866-202-HELP. That's 1-866-202-4357. We hope these outdoor visitations bring joy and comfort to residents as well as their loved ones, while also protecting them.
Moving on to the daily report as the Governor shared, we're reporting 1,177 hospitalizations with 286 individuals in critical care and 81% of those patients are on ventilators. Fortunately and thankfully there are no new cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, so the total remains at 43.
The Governor reviewed new cases and deaths reported today. In terms of deaths, the breakdown by race and ethnicity is as follows: White 54%, Black 18.4%, Hispanic 20.3%, Asian 5.6% and other 1.7%. The state's veteran homes, the numbers remain the same, as do the numbers in our state psychiatric hospitals. In New Jersey, the overall daily positivity as of June 15 is 2.47%. In the North, it's 1.8%. The Central part of New Jersey 2.07%, and the South is 4.69%. So that concludes my report. Remember, for those experiencing mental health challenges as a result of the pandemic, you can call 1-866-202-HELP for support. Stay connected, stay safe, stay healthy, and get tested, and Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: Amen to all. Again 1-866-202-HELP, and I know there's a lot of folks out there who are going to welcome and are thrilled to hear the news that they'll be able to at long last have a very highly protocolled, but a visit with a loved one. So thank you, Judy, for that and for all. Pat, as I turn to you, I wanted to also give a shout out to a very dear friend Janet Toro, I heard from -- Janet's a big environmental activist but she is also very prayerful and she knows the Ellis family personally and I said, when she raised Sergeant Antonio to me, I said, believe it or not, I actually have known about him for a while and I've been praying for him, but I want to give Janet a shout out too. How are we doing overnight, Pat? Any news to report?
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: Thanks, Governor. Good afternoon. Generally pretty quiet. There was two Executive Order compliance issues overnight, one in Paterson, where Paterson Police Department responded to an open tavern. They were cited for the EO violation as well as several ABC violations. And in Newark, an altercation led to, aside from a simple assault, the one subject spitting on the other claiming to have corona.
With regards to events around the state today, there are 28 gatherings, which is a combination of both protests as well as Juneteenth celebrations, which the ROIC is monitoring and we trust, as it has been over the past several weeks, that they will remain peaceful and I certainly appreciate that.
And lastly, if I could take two seconds to wish a Happy Father's Day to the retired Jersey trooper, my father, who was the greatest role model in my life, and certainly a Happy Father's Day to you, Gov, and to all the dads out there. Thanks, Governor.
Governor Phil Murphy: Thank you. Likewise. Pat. To you, I know your mother is still celebrating her birthday, so you'll have to squeeze in something for your dad for Father's Day here, but God bless him and God bless all the dads out there.
I think we'll start with Elsie. Before we do, Matt, just to say we have a White House video conference on Monday, as we usually do. I believe that's scheduled for 11:00, so we're going to be here I think at 2:30. Have I got that right, Mahen? So we'll see you here at 2:30 on Monday. Elise, good afternoon.
Elise Young, Bloomberg: Good afternoon. Do you have any response to a letter from the Senate Republican Caucus today, asking why the administration hasn't distributed a billion dollars in CARES Act funding, particularly to small businesses?
Also, do you have any updates on the state of your borrowing plan? Have you had any recent discussions on the matter with the Senate President? And if so, what can you tell us?
And finally, your administration took court action to compel two towns to follow your orders on restaurant operations and high school graduations. Do you believe the message got out to other local officials who may have been planning similar actions? Or do you expect that more will try to reopen on their own? Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: Thanks, Elise. I have no reaction to the letter from the Senate Republicans because I haven't seen it. But if it's related to CARES Act money, Matt Platkin has just joined us, Matt, good morning. It is overwhelmingly likely that we are still seeking the proper guidance from the federal side to be able to disperse those monies. Matt, would you add anything to that?
Chief Counsel Matt Platkin: Yeah, and I would note that we presented the Legislature, including in a private briefing, this bill with Senate Republican leadership, with a plan for the CARES Act spending, and are awaiting their feedback.
Governor Phil Murphy: So we'll give you more on that. Again, I haven't seen the letter, so. Borrowing plans, we had a leadership meeting a week ago today. We've been back and forth. I don't think I've got any new update on the on the Senate side. We need them to act sooner than later. As you know, the Assembly has already passed the law that would allow us, once it's signed by me, to borrow. I hope the Senate gets there soon.
So you never say never, Elise, on your third question. I'll probably say yes, we won a court case and therefore everyone went away. You never say never, but we're not aware of, and I assume the two communities you're referring to specifically were Asbury Park as it relates to indoor dining, and Wayne as it relates to graduations. And in fact, in both cases, we did win.
I think the message, put the legality aside for a minute, the message from me would be simply, we want to get to indoor dining and we will get there, but we've got to do it responsibly, and it's quite clear, I mean, Judy and Tina have forgotten more about this than I'll ever know, but it's overwhelmingly clear that the virus inside is much more lethal than the virus outside, particularly when you've got a sedentary lack of ventilation, close proximity realities. And we've all seen that video, I believe in China in that restaurant.
And so we want to get there. We will get there. We've got to do it really carefully. And secondly, as it relates to graduations, we want folks to celebrate, they deserve it. And we, I think now a month ago at least, over a month ago, we said beginning on July 6th, as long as you do it right, socially distance, you're outside, God bless you, go get them. And so we support each case. But let's do this at the right time and in the right way. So thank you. Sir, do you have anything?
Reporter: Yes, Governor. We've had some increases in cases, of positive cases, of COVID-19. Is there a magic number that we have to hit for you to start reversing some of the open policies that have been introduced?
Governor Phil Murphy: The increase in the positive cases, Judy and Pat and Tina and I were having, I guess it was in particular Judy and I were talking about this earlier, that's also related to the fact that we are testing the heck out of the state right now. So the positive tests, Judy, tell me if you agree with this. I don't think it's positive tests that we would look to as much as the positivity rate, the rate of transmission and new hospitalizations. Those are the three numbers. I'll speak for myself, but I believe we're in unison on this, that we look at most closely, because they're immediate here and now, what's going on, and there's no question about, there's no confusion about what the denominator is. It's literally how many people have tested positive? As of today it was on June 15. What's the rate of transmission today? Or as of yesterday, I guess, and how many people, new folks are in the hospital? Would you concur with that? Nothing – even the positivity? Okay.
Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli: I think we look at positivity, Dr. Tan and her team look at the epi curves, which are definitely something she can explain much better than me.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan: You know, there are always a lot of different factors that you look at to define a rebound, in general. So it's not just one metric. It's not just one magic number. We have to look at trends also because as you can see, as the Governor and Commissioner report every day, there's always a little bit of fluctuation, too. So that's why again, we look at a combination of items from an epidemiologic perspective, the cases over time, the daily positivity, because that takes into account the fluctuations and the denominator data. As well as, again, looking at the health care capacity issues.
Governor Phil Murphy: I'm glad Tina said one thing that I neglected to say in particular, it's not a one day, this is a trend that you folks are looking at, not a one or even two or three day. It's, what do the rolling averages look like. Thank you. Sir?
Reporter: Governor Cuomo was comfortable enough with the declining cases in New York that he doesn't feel the need to hold daily briefings after today. At what point would you be at the same comfort level and only give briefings as needed?
Governor Phil Murphy: Is that it? Yes, we're going to review this every five years and we'll make that decision at that point.
Now, listen, we will almost certainly, if the data continues to get better, we will almost certainly begin to do these less frequently. For the time being, I think we are comfortable with the schedule that we have, which is another way of saying there won't be a briefing tomorrow or Sunday, but we'll be back at it again on Monday. But it's something we review, and we want to make sure that these are meaningful, not just for the folks like yourself who show up and take the time to be here, but for what turns out to be millions of people who watch us. And if we've got important messages, particularly as we continue to go through stage two and then turn to the early moments of stage three, particularly if we see a flare up, or we think there's a particular habit that we need to emphasize, we think those continue to have value. We'll report back when we've got something to say on that.
Let's come to Brent down front here.
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: All right. I have a few and then Dan Munoz has a question for you. How will you start adding the new deaths that are not lab confirmed? Will they be lumped in with lab-confirmed deaths or treated separately like they are in long-term care? Is this now the same as other states methods? Does New York do this? Does the CDC recommend it?
Two, you mentioned face coverings. Are customers in outdoor dining required to wear face coverings at seats? And if not, is that strongly recommended? We keep hearing from a lot of people who have weddings coming up but don't know when to cancel. When can couples and venues expect more guidance?
Last one from me, and then from Dan. The AAUP Biomedical and Health Sciences Union at Rutgers has been on the front lines helping with COVID-19 data and research, but has been working without a contract for nearly two years. Do you think they deserve a new one?
And from Dan Munoz, forecasts are calling for rain this weekend and next week. Are you worried a lot of restaurants will lose business since they are limited to outdoor dining? And a lot of restaurants say they don't have the resources to have true outdoor dining. Do you expect a lot of restaurants are going to suffer until there is indoor dining?
Governor Phil Murphy: Any idea of what kind of resources he's talking about?
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: Yeah, he's saying -- hold on, his -- he sent me, a lot of restaurants are slow to reopen because they don't have resources, they can just take their tables outside, they can't afford entire outdoor tents, fans or outdoor climate control.
Governor Phil Murphy: Okay. I think we're going to hold off on the question of how we're going to characterize other deaths until we have Dr. Ed Lifshitz with us and we've gone through that whole process, and Judy will oversee that, if that's okay.
You're not required to wear them at the table. And by the way, I've now dined out two times, and I hope to get two more this weekend. Almost nobody is wearing the mask at the table and I don't think we've mandated that, but if you're moving around, certainly if you're in the wait staff, but if you're moving around, you really do need to be wearing face covering. And if anything, I think we're going to get more belligerent about face coverings as opposed to less.
Weddings, we hope to be able to give a date. I assume the cancellation of the wedding has nothing to do with the relationship between the bride and groom, and you're more looking for when catering halls are opening We hope to give some guidance, I would hope maybe even as early as next week on that, and we have heard it loud and clear.
Listen, we're a proud union state. I don't have particular insight into that contract discussion, but we are a proud, there's no state prouder of its union heritage than we are, whether it's in law enforcement, whether it's in higher education, whether it's in healthcare, regardless of where it is. So we are on the side of labor getting its proper representation.
Listen, rain and resources. I don't have a particular insight on it, but weather's going to be an issue. So I was on Broad Street and Red Bank last night, it happened that our table was under a, probably a three or four-foot overhang, but if it had been a real rainstorm, I'm not sure that would have worked. The rest of virtually, other than a handful of tables, they were all outdoors with no tenting. It was a magical night, but if it had been raining, my guess is you wouldn't have seen any of that. So we are, at least for some amount of time here, beholden to Mother Nature. I believe the restaurant I was in last night, I think I heard this from the manager, that they had to buy some -- this maybe gets to Daniel's question about resources -- they had to buy some tables that were outdoor friendly. And so that was an expenditure of resources.
I will say in both instances, they were two dinners. In terms of service and attitude and the whole setup they were first rate, and let's remember lastly, this isn't a life sentence. So we are hoping, I don't know when yet, but we hope that we can, under certain parameters, have indoor dining, I would hope sometime sooner than later. And when we have that, then you've got at least the beginning of getting back to some balance and you're not as beholden to Mother Nature or extra resources. So thank you,
Charlie, don't be mad at me if I've got nothing new on OPRA, but I don't. But I do promise you that Matt or one of the team will follow up with you. We look at these on a case-by-case basis and I don't do it personally, but I've got nothing new generally to say on it, but fire away.
Charlie Kratovil, New Brunswick Today: Thank you, Governor, and Happy Father's Day.
Governor Phil Murphy: Thank you, man.
Charlie Kratovil, New Brunswick Today: Happy Juneteenth.
Governor Phil Murphy: Same to you.
Charlie Kratovil, New Brunswick Today: What's your response to people who view jails and prisons as a form of modern day slavery? And with regard to the AG's directive, adding a modicum of transparency to the internal affairs, does that also apply to corrections officers? And if not, would you sign something to that effect?
Elections going on, should candidates be going door to door campaigning? I know a lot of people are interested in the indoor pools, and there's been no guidance to my knowledge yet. People need them to teach kids to swim and also to provide therapeutic services. Do you have any idea when those might be allowed to reopen? I know there's a gentleman outside complaining about unemployment and not being able to get income for, he says 97 days. What do you say to people who are struggling with that? And do you have any comment on the lawsuit against Trenton Waterworks or the barber shop situation at Woodbridge Police?
Governor Phil Murphy: Okay, if there's a guy outside looking for unemployment, can one of our folks try to get his details, because these are almost invariably, Charlie, as I've said many times, very specific to the individual so I obviously have enormous sympathy with someone who's unemployed and they're frustrated they can't get their benefits. Unending sympathy for them, but we have to know what the details are.
No comments on the lawsuits.
Your last question, I'm going backwards, I realize. Indoor pools, we have no guidance on that yet. Those are tricky. Inside stuff is tricky. As I said, we're starting with our first big sedentary step. I think candidates have to be really careful. I mean, I'm not wild about door to door, frankly. I'm not saying you can't do it, but you've got to be really careful. If you're outside, it's clearly better than inside, so that's a good thing. If you are going to do it, please keep social distancing, so that you're not right on top of each other.
Listen, I was back and forth this morning, exchanging notes with Senator Sandy Cunningham and Senator Nellie Pou, who are great leaders, period, but also on the question of following up on the Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission's recommendations, the piece of that which requires legislation, and I want to give them a big shout out, because I know they're working hard on that. And I think that will address, that'll be transformational, particularly as it relates to elimination of minimum mandatory sentences.
Matt, on the AG's and as it relates to, I assume when you said the internal affairs, you mean the transparency in terms of record, etc.? So he's mandated it and with Pat's, not just assent but leadership, both prospectively in the case of the State Police going back 20 years, do you want to comment on the corrections officers, piece?
Chief Counsel Matt Platkin: Sure, prospectively, corrections officers are law enforcement officers so they are subject to the Attorney General's directive.
Governor Phil Murphy: Prospectively. And it's up to any other individual law enforcement entity to consider, as Pat has done, as to whether or not you want to go back in time and do a retrospective. Is that fair? Thank you.
So thank you, folks. Again, as I do as I say, as opposed to the opposite, I guess, I've got to mask up here while I – folks, listen. Again, I want to thank Judy and Tina, as always, for being here. Pat, Jared, Matt, Mahen, the team, will be again, we'll be with you virtually both tomorrow and Sunday. And again, if there's something we think is meaningful, we will let you know, in terms of getting on the phone or doing something in person.
I'm honored to be a Friendship Baptist later today, and I'm in one of those 28 that are registered, this one is indoors, with Pastor Taylor and I'm really excited, who also happens to be a Lead Chaplain for the State Police and is an outstanding leader not just in the pulpit and in the sanctuary, but in the community. A very important environmental justice step we're going to take this afternoon, which we're very excited about, and want to conclude as we always do, and say thanks to the millions of you out there who have just unfailingly done, almost without exception, the right thing, day in and day out, for three-and-a-half months, both as we closed and now as we're opening. Invariably, you're going to see more steps and more guidance next week for other openings that we want to get to sooner than later.
Be safe, be careful, social distance, wear a face covering if you're out, wash your hands with soap and water. Enjoy the shore or our lakes or wherever you may be, and God bless all the dads out there. Happy Father's Day.