Governor Phil Murphy: Good afternoon. I'm joined by the woman to the right of me, a woman who needs no introduction, the Commissioner of the Department of Health, Judy Persichilli. To her right, another familiar face, the Department of Health's Communicable Disease Service Medical Director, Dr. Ed Lifshitz, great to have you both. The guy to my left who needs no introduction, Superintendent of the State Police, Colonel Pat Callahan. Jared Maples, Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is with us. Good afternoon.
Earlier today, I signed the three-month spending plan passed by the Legislature. With this, New Jersey has a budget in place to see us through the summer and to the beginning of the fiscal 2021 fiscal year, which is now scheduled to begin on October 1st. The fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are as unprecedented as the public health emergency itself, and as we look forward toward the nine-month fiscal 2021 budget we will enact at summer's end, the decisions we make now will have an even bigger impact.
This $7.6 billion plan de-appropriates roughly $1.2 billion in previously authorized spending, and it does not include nearly $850 million in new program funds I had proposed in my budget address back in February, which feels like it was in the 1950s, at this point. It cuts non-salary operating expenses by 5% across the board. And while state aid to our schools and other critical payments are maintained, vital social programs that are helping residents through this pandemic are safeguarded and a modernization of our unemployment platforms is seated, this plan cuts all other discretionary grants by 10%. It defers billions of dollars in payments until the fall.
In the most essential terms, this three-month plan can be described in two words: cuts and uncertainty, and it contains plenty of each. Our income tax filing deadline is still two weeks away, and while sales tax revenues have begun to climb back as we've begun our restart, we know all that could just as easily melt away if consumer confidence in our recovery falters. And this is one reason why we must continue to be data driven and deliberate in our approach; not only does our public health demand it, our fiscal future also demands it.
We also anticipate ending the current fiscal year with a $956 million surplus. This is not just smart budgeting, it provides a cushion for the months ahead. However, to be perfectly clear, we need a bigger cushion. Make no mistake, we cannot just cut our way forward. While the tough decisions we have made now we'll see us through the next 91 days, absent greater financial flexibility, they will pale in comparison to those which lay just around the corner.
We must have the flexibility to borrow essential funds to fully secure the core services we will rely upon as we emerge from this pandemic. The Assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Craig Coughlin, has already passed this absolutely necessary measure, but it takes both houses to pass a bill and we need to see this bill passed in the Senate. We continue our discussions with the Senate President, but time is now of the essence.
I care about how we are going to provide relief for our seniors and middle class families. I care about how we are going to fund our schools. I care about how we are going to provide services to the most vulnerable. I care about providing for our returning citizens in our underserved communities. I care about how we are going to make New Jersey the state where everyone -- not just some, but everyone -- can thrive. So let's get this done.
It will take time for us to tap into the capital markets and we want to do so as soon as possible, to take advantage of historically low interest rates. We also need further direct assistance from the federal government, especially to ensure the jobs of our first responders and frontline healthcare workers, our educators and so many others who have continued working non-stop. This need simply has not changed and I continue to press the case directly with the senior levels of the Trump administration, with Speaker Pelosi and her team, with Senate Democratic Leader Schumer and his team, and I know our Congressional delegation is doing likewise.
Securing this funding has never been a partisan issue, just as COVID-19 never cared about the political party of those that it killed. But given the location of recent outbreaks, it is my hope that Congress will rally around all of our states to deliver the hundreds of billions of dollars states will need to, one, get through this current emergency as one nation; and two, not to have our overall recovery stunted by inaction.
But as we keep working, we have at least a spending plan in place to keep our state, and the essential services that millions of our residents are relying upon, up and running. I thank Treasurer Liz Muoio and her entire team for all the work they put in to see this budget extension through. I also thank Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin, Senate Budget Committee Chair Paul Sarlo, and Assembly Budget Chairwoman Eliana Pintor Marin, along with the staff at the Office of Legislative Services for their partnership.
Now we move forward, and the partnerships that got us to today will never be more valuable for our state or for our future. And our path forward is also going to continue to be dictated in so many ways by the data we continue to track as we keep fighting COVID-19, and the way we take personal responsibility for how these numbers play out is incredibly important. This is what we can't have. We've gone out of state for this photo, but to me, it captured the essence of what we can't have. This picture was taken in Missouri, at the Lake of the Ozarks, over Memorial Day weekend. Unsurprisingly, some folks there contracted COVID-19. This is not how we beat back COVID-19. This is how we, in fact, invite COVID-19. The only thing worse would be if that were indoors.
The scenes that we all saw over the weekend of crowded bars in our state, where social distancing was neither enforced by owners nor practiced by patrons, sadly, don't look terribly different from this one, and they cannot continue. This is how flare ups happen. This is how you risk turning your community into a hotspot. Now listen, I know there are many, many bar owners and managers who have set up their establishments the right way and are enforcing social distancing and to them I say, thank you, period. But one establishment ignoring the rules, or even just one patron ignoring the rules can undo months of progress and ruin it for the rest of us.
As a bar-goer, you have just as much a responsibility as anyone who works at that bar. Ignorance is not, in this case bliss, period. So when you go out, do not congregate with your friends at the bar. Leave spaces where other customers can safely approach to place their order, and on your way in and out or to the restroom and back, when you're not enjoying a drink or food and when you can't safely social distance from others, please wear a face covering. And by the way, if you become uncomfortable, if the bar becomes overcrowded, leave.
We all have to do this together. There can be no exceptions. There are no mulligans when it comes to COVID-19. Use your common sense, not just for yourself or your family or your friends, but common sense for the common good.
And by the way, that includes those who are coming to New Jersey from across the country. Today we updated the list of states from which visitors are being advised to observe a 14-day self-quarantine period. These are states which currently have a positivity spot test rate higher than 10%, or a new number of cases more than 10 per 100,000 residents. And again, Judy monitors this on a rolling seven-day average. As we've said many times, one day or two even, blip up or down, does not a trend make. So if you're coming in New Jersey from one of these states, we urge your compliance. And we also urge you to get a COVID-19 test while you are here to ensure your health and safety, and that of those around you. And by the way, we have testing capacity. We spent months building it, let's use it.
With that, let's look at the overnight numbers. Yesterday, speaking of tests, we received another 461 positive test results. The cumulative total is now 171,667. The daily positivity rate is quite good. It's 1.82% for those tests recorded on June 26th. The rate of transmission is not quite as good; that ticked up slightly, Judy, to 0.88. Again, we must keep this number below one at all costs and we must work harder than ever to keep it from going higher than it is at the moment. This number, as we've said before, combined with positivity rate, I would add to that new hospitalizations which we know is a real, hard, immediate number. They give us our best picture of how COVID-19 continues to spread. We must keep, in particular that number right there, in check if we are to continue on our road back.
If you move to our hospitals as of last night's report, there were 992 folks hospitalized for COVID-19. This is a slight increase from Monday but it is still below 1,000 for the second day in a row. Number of patients requiring critical care, however, decreased to 211 and the number of ventilators in use also decreased again to 174. There were 44 new admissions, you can see how they spread out regionally, of COVID-19 positive cases yesterday, while 50 live patients left our hospitals. These numbers continue to fuel positive trends that are allowing us to continue moving forward with the majority of our announced restart dates for the restart of outdoor activities and for limited indoor activities that can be done while wearing a face covering.
Our rankings among states continues to be a bit of a mixed bag, is the way I'll put it, but let's start with the good news first. With the latest national data, our ranking for new cases dropped to 47 out of 50, and we've cut new cases by 95% from our peak. That is all you, folks. You did that. No other state can say that. That is definitely a good place to be at this moment, especially given the dramatic increases that we are beginning to see in other states to the right, and we wish them nothing but a speedy resolution of those cases. We pray that they're able to break the back of the curve and of the virus, as you all have done so well here.
So while we feel good about the decrease in new cases, we must keep our testing numbers up to ensure we spot any problems and get on top of them. There are absolutely no excuses for not getting tested and for knowing your COVID-19 status, especially if you were among those crowding at a bar over the weekend, with no regard for social distancing and not wearing a face covering. And as Judy reminds us, having meaningful interactions, so 10 minutes or more if you're within six feet of somebody, and you weren't wearing a face covering, those are bad data points. Knowing whether or not you're carrying the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is not just about your health, but it's also about your family's health and your friends and your community. So don't be selfish, be selfless. Go to covid19.nj.gov/testing to find a test site near you, then go out and get tested. It is easy and it is painless.
Let's go back to the chart we had a minute ago, however. We finally dropped out of the top 10, thank God, in terms of numbers of patients in our hospitals. However, we continue to be a top 5 state in the ultimate toll COVID-19 takes in our communities through the loss of life. As we've said before, this is a trailing indicator, but our job here is to save every life we can. This number reminds us of the responsibility we all have, not just us here but every single one of us to take personal responsibility.
And today with a heavy heart, we report an additional 47 fatalities among COVID-19 confirmed positive residents. The confirmed total is now 13,181. Judy alluded to this yesterday. I think we both think that yesterday's number was a little smaller because of a glitch in the systems on Sunday night, so I'd encourage, if you're looking for day over day, I'd average Monday and today. But average or not, these are still human lives that have been lost. Bless them and bless each and every one of them. Let's remember a few more of those who have lost.
We'll start in High Bridge in Hunterdon County, the home of Henry Hagen. Henry was 93 years old and spent 87 of those years as a High Bridge resident. He was a proud member of our Greatest Generation, World War II veteran of the United States Navy. After the war, he made his career with the Jersey Central Railroad, Union Carbide and BASF. Community service was a central pillar of his life and he gave back to his neighbor neighbors often. He served as a member of the High Bridge Borough Council and the planning board. Was a Police Commissioner, and a 33-year volunteer firefighter, and for 18 years, was Secretary of the Exempt Firemen's Association. Henry was a volunteer for the St. Joseph CCD Program for 35 years, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Pat, we don't have to say what religion he was, with that resume, Judy, right?
He was, of course, also a proud member of the American Legion of High Bridge and a love of history was something he carried with him throughout his life. He also had a deep love of gardening and for jazz music. Henry is now reunited with his late wife, Elizabeth, who passed away two years ago, and with his son James, who he lost just this February. He leaves behind his surviving children Edward, Patrick, Thomas and Maureen and I had the great honor of speaking with Maureen yesterday, along with their spouses and his four grandsons, Justin, Bryan, Ian and Connor, and his granddaughter Catherine. He also leaves behind three great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. We thank Henry for his service to our nation and to his community, and God bless you and watch over your soul, Henry.
Next up, we remember Joan White of Bloomfield in Essex County. She was a talented seamstress who loved embroidery and needlepoint and could make anything, from work clothes to wedding dresses to theater costumes. Joan was a quiet woman who loved reading any James Patterson novel she could get her hands on. She also loved working with children, passing her love of reading to the younger generation as manager of the children's department at Barnes and Noble, and she never missed the opportunity to be part of a children's gardening workshop at the Bloomfield Home Depot, where she had also worked.
Her sister Carol, with whom I had the great honor again of speaking with yesterday, said of Joan and I quote her "Once she was your friend, it was forever and she would move heaven and earth to help if you needed it." She leaves behind Carol and another sister Cheryl. She also leaves behind her best friend, her dog Mitzi. Joan was 67 years old, a loving member of our New Jersey family. Thank you for sharing your life and time with us, Joan, and God bless you.
Finally, today we remember 26-year Haworth resident in Bergen County, Jack Ferber. Jack owned his own Corporate Premium and Apparel business for over 40 years, but it was his commitment to his community that will live on. He served on various local boards and commissions, including the Haworth Shade Tree Commission and library board. I also found out yesterday from his wife, that he was a big Southside Johnny Lyon fan. He was an active part of his children's lives as well. He was the cheerleader of his kids' athletic endeavors. Jack himself was a huge sports fan and a great tennis player. And his son Henry recalled and I'll quote Henry, "You can always hear him shouting at the refs from the stands." Not necessarily singling him out among dads, but it certainly was the case with Jack. And he also fought for their educations, even spearheading a fundraising campaign to save the music program at his children's school.
Jack was also a tremendous advocate for individuals recovering from traumatic brain injuries, a cause that became dear to him after his eldest daughter Kara was injured in an automobile accident. Jack leaves behind his wife Susan, and Susan reminded me that we were in Israel together a couple of years ago. And by the way, Susan herself battled COVID and thank God, she's doing much better. Jack also leaves behind his three children, Kara, who I mentioned who lives in Hoboken with her husband, and their twins, Isabel and Henry and as luck would have it, they have just each graduated from college, from University of Michigan and Penn State. He was strong and caring. Jack was the model New Jerseyan, he was just 73 years old. May God bless and watch over him and his family.
So we remember Henry, Joan, and Jack, because none of the New Jerseyans we have lost should ever be remembered as just a number. They were real people with real families. They lived real lives. They deserve to be remembered for the things they did to make our state is a better place for all of us, not just for how they passed. And in many ways, that's the thing we all must keep in mind as the rest of us soldier on.
We must do the things we need to do to make our state a better place. And right now, that means being an example of personal responsibility. We have to keep practicing social distancing. We must continue to wear our face coverings, especially whenever we're indoors and when we can't keep a safe distance from others, even outside. We can't be lulled into complacency and think it's okay to crowd around bars without any regard for those around us. That's how we backslide. That's how we get pushed off our road back. We have worked too hard over the past three-plus months to get on that road back. Let's stay there. We here, the group of us, can't do it by ourselves. Just as you've been doing it all along, we need every single one of you along for the ride. This is the only way we defeat COVID-19, through all of us working together. This is our time. We've come so far already. Let's finish this job together.
Before I turn things over to Judy, I just found out this morning that a dear friend passed away on Sunday, Lou Kaden, and I'm not sure how many of you remember Lou. Lou was, at a very young age, Brendan Byrne's Chief Counsel, born in Perth Amboy. He had an extraordinary career. He was an extraordinary family man. So to Ellen, his wife and their family, God bless Lou. We're thinking of him. He's in our prayers.
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. As hospitals begin to open their doors to visitors, I wanted to review some of the guidelines that will be in place to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of patients, their loved ones and the hospital staff. All visitors must be 18 years of age or greater, except in rare exceptions as determined by the facility. Visitors are limited to one person at a time, unless the patient is a minor, in which case the pediatric patient may have both parents or guardians; or at the facilities discretion, a limited number of additional persons as determined to be appropriate.
All visitors will be provided with a must wear appropriate PPE, as recommended by the CDC. Hospitals should provide instruction on how to appropriately wear these items. If a visitor refuses to wear a mask or other PPE, they will be asked to leave the facility. All visitors must undergo symptom and temperature checks upon entering the facility, and anyone with symptoms will not be permitted to visit. All visitors must perform hand hygiene before visiting with the patient and once in the hospital, the visitors should remain in the patient's room, or the emergency department bay, as much as possible throughout the visit, except when directed by the hospital staff to leave during certain procedures.
Same-day surgery or same-day procedure patients may have one support person, with the exception of labor and delivery which we discussed yesterday, children, and patients with an intellectual developmental or cognitive disability. The support person may remain with the patient through the initial intake process and may rejoin the patient for the discharge process. Outpatients may be accompanied by one adult. Visitors who accompany outpatients should wait for the patient in the hospital designated waiting area, if there is enough space to allow for social distancing. The visitors may use the cafeteria and other amenities available to patients or visitors.
All visitors must comply with all reasonable requirements imposed by the hospital to minimize the potential spread of infection. Individual hospitals will set their visiting hours and visitation duration. Before you visit your loved one, please check ahead to find out what specific policies the hospital has established so your visit can go as smoothly as possible.
Moving on to my daily report, as the Governor shared, we have reported 992 cases of COVID-19 patients in the hospital, of which 211 are in critical care. We are reporting today one new case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, so the total is now 48 cases in our state. The children affected have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have antibody tests that were positive. The ages range from 1 to 18; eight children are currently hospitalized and there have been no deaths reported at this time.
At the state veterans homes, the numbers remain the same as they do at our state psychiatric hospitals. In New Jersey, the overall positivity rate as of June 26th is 1.82%. In the Northern part of the state it's 1.22%, in the Central part of the state 1.91%, and in the Southern part of the state, 3.36%. That concludes my report. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay connected and get tested. Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: Judy, thank you for that and thank you for all, and I know there are lots of folks who are going to be happy to hear the guidance on visitations, so thank you for that. Pat, as always, great to have you. What news do we have from the front?
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: Thanks, Governor. Good afternoon. Again, I'd say a quiet night with regards to compliance. There was just one subject that was cited for an EO violation for operating a day camp at his residence, which is in violation of the Executive Order. And the only other thing that I'll add, I know we had talked about him a few months ago, but Reverend Melvin Wilson of St. Matthews AME, yesterday we had a bunch of troopers stop by just to thank him because he and St. Matthews AME provided meals for our Mortuary Affairs, if you remember those temporary morgue sites in Newark, for troopers, for the medical examiners, for the National Guard, and the troopers thought it appropriate to take a donation up and make a donation as a token of our appreciation. Those mortuary affairs sites are being demobilized, but it just was another indication of the phenomenal community partnerships that we have here in New Jersey. Thanks, Gov.
Governor Phil Murphy: Thank you, Pat. Pastor Wilson has been a great leader. As we've mentioned a couple of weeks ago, he was the first faith-based institution to do testing on site. He's been a huge supporter of the troopers. One of the great examples of someone who's as important in the tentacles into the community and leadership there as he is inside the sanctuary, and so thank you for giving him a shout out.
I think we're going to start over here today. We've got a little bit of a different schedule tomorrow, so Mahen will give me guidance on what time were together, but we're going to be a little bit later tomorrow just because we've got a few other items, a few other balls in the air. So with that, Dustin, Good afternoon.
Dustin Racioppi, Bergen Record: Good afternoon. What, if any, options does the state provide for people who need to quarantine or isolate but don't have space in their homes, or maybe even don't have a home, especially as you're urging people coming from other states to isolate? Does the state have rooms reserved in hotels or other locations where people can isolate safely? And if so, could you share the number of rooms and where they're located, and any planning you've done for these people?
Given your reasoning that indoor dining increases the risk of transmission, is it even feasible for that to happen before there's a vaccine? And since nursing homes are similarly vulnerable, are you considering pulling back on visits to those locations?
Why weren't you naming and shaming any of the establishments that, for a couple weeks, were clearly violating your orders, at least in some sort of attempt to get people into compliance before making your decision that you did yesterday on indoor dining?
Governor Phil Murphy: I'll leave to Judy or Pat on the options to isolate. My guess is we will probably want to come back to you on details. Yeah, Dustin, I would not -- it's a very fair question. Again, the elements of indoor dining that we've seen in other states, right before our eyes, that are really tough. Indoors, ventilation issues or lacking thereof, proximity, sedentary. And so the question folks rightfully ask is, you know, when do you find your way out of that reality?
We've said this before, and I want to repeat it again. The extent to which and Ed has forgotten more about this than I'll know, so he'll forgive me for getting out over my qualifications here. But the more time on the clock we have -- not forever -- but the more time on the clock we have to drive rate of transmission to not only get it down as we have but keep it down, spot positivity, to bring it down as we have, but to keep it down, the less likely you're going to have community spread. And it allows us a whole other, unrelated but importantly, our testing capacity kind of almost grows by the day. Our contact tracing corps is literally growing by the day. Our plans to isolate, which Judy will come back to in a second, we have more depth to that. So just more time on the clock gives us a whole lot of stuff that we don't have now. And again, it's different than indoors in and of itself is tough but if you're in a mall, you're moving around, capacities are limited, you're not sedentary, we're not allowing you to use common areas, etc.
I'll let Judy address the long-term care. I think those are outdoors, to the best of my recollection, so I think that's the most important part of that answer.
On the naming and shaming, I don't want to just sort of be blustery. We don't want to use the bully pulpit as we shoot straight with people, but we also want to be able to back that up with action. And so I want to make sure that we're not just talking a good game, that we are aggressively pursuing stuff. We've spent a lot of time, even more intensely over the past 48 hours on other weapons we have at our disposal. There's a lot of peer pressure right now. I mentioned this in my remarks. Overwhelmingly, folks are doing the right thing and they're getting really mad at the folks who aren't, peer to peer, never mind what we can do or the local municipalities can do.
Judy, any comment on isolation and LTC visitations?
Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli: Sure let me start with isolation and quarantine. You know, the most important aspect of containment is follow through with isolation and quarantine. As of today, we've identified close to 3,000 bed spaces for isolation and quarantine. We've done that along with the municipalities. Most of them have brought up hotels, hotels that have been shuttered, and we also have the field medical station in Atlantic City that currently is isolating 14 individuals, as far as I know.
The most important part is to make sure that the people that go into isolation and quarantine are aware of all of the social service supports that are available to them. Because as you can imagine, in order to get tested, you have to be secure that if you test positive and have to go into isolation, that your children will be taken care of, that you will have food on the table, you could get SNAP or WIC, that any available funds that the state has will come your way.
So the model that we've put up for isolation and quarantine is what we call a social service model, as compared to what we did in Secaucus, which was a medical model for patients being discharged from the hospital. So, more to come on that. We're checking that day by day, but I feel comfortable that at this point, we have enough isolation to meet the demand as we go forward with increased testing and contact tracing.
On long-term care, the visitation, as you know, is outdoors, for those individuals that are not COVID positive, and it requires all of the protections that we've identified in the directive. And it also requires an appointment. It requires that you cannot bypass, on your way outdoors, that you cannot bypass an area that has COVID-positive patients. So the directive is pretty prescriptive, and we've not identified any issues at this point in time.
Governor Phil Murphy: Again, to repeat the point that we've probably said 1,000 times, outdoors is a whole different reality than indoors. That's another good example of that. Thank you. Matt, good afternoon.
Matt Arco, Star-Ledger: Afternoon. Governor with the indefinite pause of indoor dining and the rise in rate of transmission numbers, does moving to phase three no longer look like it's a matter of weeks away as you previously said? And the news of no indoor dining brought an about face for Atlantic City's largest casino operator, with Borgata announcing it would not reopen this weekend. Are you considering an exemption for casinos for indoor dining, given the amount of video scrutiny they face day to day with the Division of Gaming? And also curious if any casinos have asked for an exemption?
And lastly, Governor, many restaurant owners have spent thousands on distancing measures and to restock food to prepare for the opening on Thursday, only to be devastated by this about face from yesterday. We've heard from many who said they would like to know why they were being hit when state and local agencies should instead insist on cracking down on those who scoff at the regulations to profit. You know, I know what you said about indoor dining, but also you mentioned yesterday that a big reason for the turnaround was because of the bad actors.
And just on that very last point, yesterday I asked, I don't think I got an answer about if any businesses were issued citations, and you just mentioned now, quote, "other weapons at our disposal." I'm curious as to what that means in terms of enforcement?
Governor Phil Murphy: Yep. So, are you good? Did I cut you off or you're good? Okay. Listen, we want to get back on our feet. We want to get to stage three, but we've got to do this in a way, I guess a phrase that I have not used that I want to maybe we should begin to use, we're seeing what's happening in other states right now. We have been trying, particularly on the restart piece of this, but frankly, on the shutdown side as well. We're trying to stay one step ahead of this virus, and that's the sort of mindset I want, if I could ask humbly that folks sort of, that's a lens I'd like folks to look at this through. We're trying to stay out ahead of this, and you heard my -- I won't repeat the answer I gave to Dustin.
So it's not a life sentence. If we continue to keep the numbers that we care most about, that Judy and Ed and their colleagues care most about, rate of transmission, spot positivity, new hospitalizations, if we keep a lid on those, and by the way, which does give us the side benefit of increasing our capacities, whether it's isolation beds and the social services that go with them, or even more testing capacity or that contact tracing corps continuing to grow, that's another side benefit from that. Believe me, we want to get there.
I noted I only saw the headline of the statement Borgata had put out. Believe me, we would like to be full bore open. We're just not there yet. There's no further color in terms of exceptions to what we announced yesterday. And you know, again, I hope we get there sooner than later, believe me.
It isn't either/or is the message I would have. It isn't hey, you should enforce or you should keep us closed or prevent us, in this case, from going indoors, it's both. And it isn't just the knucklehead behavior, it is a disturbing amount of growth of this virus, we know from indoor locations experienced now in other states. Judy and I have been back and forth yesterday in particular on rates of transmission that are going up in places that look like us, because of indoor activity that really concerns us. So in as much as we want to stamp out the knucklehead behavior, whether you're a proprietor or a patron, it isn't just that. It is what we're seeing elsewhere, concerns that we have about the potential. Again, indoors this thing is a whole different thing in terms of its lethality, and we've got to do both.
We need compliant, proper behavior, and it is that, but we also have to aggressively prevent situations that we know are conducive to this virus taking on real momentum. Thank you. Sir.
Reporter: In regards to hotels and motels, when do you expect the moratorium on evictions to be lifted? And also, what advice do you have for hotel or motel owners who have protected guests under the moratorium but they are not paying? Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: I've got no news on evictions and I'll just leave it there. I've got nothing to report on that. And I would just say we're trying like heck to work with folks. As you know, we gave windows, breathing space, holidays, whatever you want to call it in terms of rental, no evictions, mortgage payments, insurance premium payments, etc. You know, we're always trying to find ways to work with folks. We're not trying to be callous about this. I would remind everybody, this is only comparable to the Great Depression of the 1920s and the Civil War in our country in the 1860s. One message I'd have is, there is no playbook. This is unprecedented, both in the public health impact as well as in the economic impact, so bear with us, if you could. Ma'am, do you have -- good afternoon.
Reporter: Good afternoon, Governor. The change at the very last minute to stop the opening, the reopening of restaurants indoor eating, it's costing restaurateurs thousands of dollars. What guarantee can you give them moving forward when you decide that it is okay for them to open that they won't be wasting, again, thousands of dollars in preparation to reopen? And also what's the difference between a barbershop or spa opening and a restaurant opening if they have, let's say 30% capacity inside?
Governor Phil Murphy: Thank you. I wish I had all the answers. I wish I crystal ball. By the way, Tony Fauci doesn't know all the answers as it relates to COVID-19. And if he doesn't, I can guarantee you we don't. We try our best to get this as right as possible. This weekend, there was a lot of disturbing data nationally that we saw, overwhelmingly it was coming from indoor activity. And again, it's the combination of indoors, lacking ventilation, sedentary, close proximity, that's a lethal combination. We'll try to give folks -- we're trying to make these calls.
I mean, think of the other side. Why would I want restaurants not to be open, other than we're trying to save lives? I mean, we want to get there. And so I have enormous sympathy for the challenges that our restaurateurs are going through and the thousands of dollars I don't take lightly for one second, but there's also 15,000 lives that we've lost and we're trying to save every single one going forward, and that's job number one.
In a perfect world, you'd give a longer runway, so you'd give more time and notice to folks and that's what we will endeavor to do, I promise you. And again, this isn't a life sentence. We want to get there. What's the difference in terms of hair salons, barbershops? You've got hardly anyone inside. First of all, when we open it won't be 30%. Almost certainly, it'll be 25%. It'll be, I would guess, the same guidance, Judy, that we were going to have for Thursday, whenever that will be that it'll be going forward. Maybe you'll put more elements into it but the capacity and the restrictions right now in hair salons and barbershops, etc., you've got limited number of people. You've got Plexiglas, you've got masking at all times.
The other issue with restaurants, not surprising is, you've got to take this off to eat or drink and that's not the case in a nail salon or a barber shop right now. It's very different, both in capacity and the actual demeanor of how you actually conduct your business is dramatically different. Thank you, though. Sir.
Reporter: A couple more on restaurants for you, Governor, both from owners. Restaurant owners say that there should be much stronger enforcement like yanking of licenses of establishments that break the rules, but not wholesale punishment of everyone else. They're concerned that businesses will fail because of this. They'd like you to respond to that.
And as a follow up, if the main offenders that people have been seeing have been big bars, a lot of restaurant owners are wondering why punish restaurants? Why are they getting lumped in with this?
Governor Phil Murphy: Yeah, I think I've answered this. It's and/both. It really is and/both. We will take action against noncompliant folks, and that includes everything including, by the way, a big one, taking your liquor license away. That's a decision the Alcohol and Beverage Commission would have to take, but everything is on the table. But it is not just that. It is the reality of this virus. Indoors, if it's sedentary, if there's lacking in ventilation, if you're in close proximity, whether you're in a bar or in a restaurant setting, it is more lethal, dramatically more lethal. I think the number I'd read at one point, 19 times more lethal. I'm not qualified to medically certify that, it's just a different reality.
And listen, again, I want to repeat this. I have enormous sympathy for what that industry is going through. I also want to repeat what I said yesterday. There's been a lot of really good work between municipalities and the restaurant community in opening up outside real estate, whether its sidewalks, parking lots, spaces in between buildings. As long as it's done safely, I strongly encourage more of that. And we want to get there, we absolutely want to get there but we've got to do it responsibly. And again, we're trying to stay one step ahead of this virus. I'm not going to call out other states because we have nothing but prayers for them and hopes that they can, as quickly as possible, get this behind them. But if you don't stay out ahead of the virus, and human behavior gets out ahead of it instead, it is a long road back to try to get back to whole. We do not want to see that in New Jersey.
When we had the numbers that you're seeing spike in some other states right now and again, we wish them nothing but success against this virus, you go back to mid-March until sometime in May, we were completely locked down. This wasn't a question of, we will just decide to close bars. The state was locked down. People were at home. That's what this virus, that's what happens with this virus if it gets beyond your reach. We cannot afford to let that happen again. We've been through hell once. I can't fathom, none of us can fathom going through hell again. Thank you. Dave. Give us one second.
David Matthau, NJ 101.5: Hi, Governor.
Governor Phil Murphy: Hey, Dave.
David Matthau, NJ 101.5: Not to beat a dead horse, but –
Governor Phil Murphy: I'm not going to really have a whole lot more to say on this.
David Matthau, NJ 101.5: Well, if I could just ask a couple of questions. Yes, I understand you're concerned. Restaurant owners understand you're concerned. Yes, indoor activity is a problem. Yes, there was disturbing behavior in other states. But this is not new. We know that indoor problems exist, and the problems we're seeing in indoor states are not because of restaurants solely. If they're at 25% capacity, if everybody's wearing a mask that's working in there, restaurant owners have the following suggestion for you to consider. Why not, as a previous question posed --
Governor Phil Murphy: Are you representing them, or?
David Matthau, NJ 101.5: No, but I'm asking the question on their behalf. Why not, you know, you say yeah, you're looking at different options. While the people that are breaking the rules, close them down. Take their liquor license away, period. Zero tolerance. If you do that and if you say to members of the public, hey, you see somebody's not following the rules? Let us know. Shoot a video. Take a picture. You're going to be damn sure that these places are going to cooperate.
These people haven't been able to work for three months. They've now spent thousands of dollars, as has also been pointed out, and they're broke and now two days before it happens, the rug is pulled from under them. So some ideas possibly to consider, and also would there be any help from the state for people who are facing these extremely difficult situations?
The second question, much shorter. With regard to the casinos, are you concerned that other casinos may decide that hey, you know something? If we can't offer a drink, if we can't offer a bite to eat, the smoking areas are closed, which for those of us who don't smoke, that would probably be a good thing. But are you concerned that other casinos may not decide to open because it's just too restrictive and people are not going to go for it?
Governor Phil Murphy: Yeah, and I'm a huge fan of yours. I think I've really addressed both of the questions. We want to do both. Both be very tough on enforcement, but also accept the reality. The risk is asymmetric for us right now, and has been from day one. So when you're closing, the word you've got to use, in my humble opinion, our humble opinion, is aggressive. And when you're opening, it's cautious. And if you're going to make a mistake on either side of either aggressive closing or cautious opening, in terms of public health and ultimately the long-term economic health, you want to err on one side and not the other. So I will be, we have been, I think you've seen, as aggressive as any American state closing, and probably arguably as cautious as any American state in opening. There's a near-term price that comes with that, we completely understand that. But public health does create economic health.
Think of a favorite restaurant, and by the way, I've got a lot of friends in this business and believe me, I've heard from a fair amount of them over the past 24 hours, and I would say overwhelmingly, responsibly, which is a testament to the character of the industry, of overwhelmingly really good folks, men and women doing the right thing. But you can imagine if you take your favorite restaurant, there's an outbreak. That restaurant is done forever. That's a forever. We're talking about weeks. And so that's, it is enforcement and sharpening that. It is also more time on the clock is our friend right now, and being more cautious as opposed to less, just as being more aggressive as opposed to less as we were closing.
Listen again, on casinos, it's a huge industry for us. It's obvious a huge industry for Atlantic City and Atlantic County, but it is for the state and it brings me no joy to not allow them to get back more fully on their feet. I would hope it's sooner than later again. Again, I think we're talking here a short amount of time, please God. And by the way, I want to reiterate something that Matt and/or Dustin asked about, back on the restaurant side. Yes, a longer runway, the money involved, etc. We understand that.
It's a good way, on your first question, to get back, we need to be able to bond and borrow. That will give us a lot more financial flexibility. We desperately need direct cash assistance from the federal government, and we're hardly alone in this respect at the moment. And again, we wish nothing, they're in our prayers. We wish nothing but a speedy resolution to the flare ups right now going across the country, in both red and blue states. But the fact of the matter is, sadly with a heavy heart, the cases are going up and not down. The need for federal cash, direct assistance for American states, the case is a stronger one, sadly, and not weakening, so thank you for that. Sir.
Phil Andrews, NJ News Network: Phil Andrews, New Jersey News Network. I have a couple of questions today. Governors Cuomo and Wolf, when they opened up their respective states, they did so by regions, counties and areas. Is it something you've considered, instead of a uniform rule across the state? Staying with Governors, some of your gubernatorial colleagues have made it mandatory to wear masks in their state. Right now you've made it a suggestion. Is that something you've thought about? We are now seeing commercials for "Enjoy your summer in New Jersey, come to New Jersey." Is the timing for this right now, given what we're going through?
And the final question is for Pat, and for you or one or the other. When I say the word defunding to you, how does defunding differ from what they did down in Camden, which right now has become a model for redoing a police department? And thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: No problem. So New York and Pennsylvania are very different than New Jersey and it's an obvious point, but it needs to be repeated. You've got enormous concentration in New York City and you've got a largely suburban, overwhelmingly suburban and rural state with a huge geographic square mile reality. Pennsylvania is not quite as skewed as New York is, because you've got some big communities, notably, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but you've got a much bigger footprint and you've got an urban/suburban rural reality there as well.
New Jersey doesn't really have that. I mean, we do have rural counties where Pat lives and we've got some in the south, but the fact of the matter is, we're the densest state in the nation. We're a lot smaller geographically than either New York State or Pennsylvania. It doesn't really fit. The only place that it really has fitted in this whole crisis, and that's to Judy's credit, is that she had the North, Central and South strategies, which by the way, is technically still in place but as healthcare, moving folks around as hospitals hit surge capacity. I think that is where we'll stay.
We're being, I'm unequivocal. If you're inside, you've got to wear a mask, period. It's outdoors when you can't social distance. I'd frankly err on the side of being stronger than that. Yeah, we still -- listen, tourism is still a big part of our state. If you can come in from a non-hotspot place, that list unfortunately, is growing, of the hotspots. We still think we can do tourism responsibly. But if you are coming in from one of those 16 states, we're asking folks to take personal responsibility and do the right thing. Self-quarantine, test. We've got the capacity to test.
I'll answer defunding and give you my version, and Pat can hit it from his perspective. I think it's, to me at least, we need law enforcement. We need great law enforcement community relations. There are a whole series of steps that we are taking through executive action. Nobody asked Pat to talk about opening up the 20-year history, but he felt that was the right thing to do. I see it as a priority matter. Budgets speak to this, so it's appropriate that you ask it on a day when we passed a budget, which by the way, is full of bad news.
But what are your priorities? What are you doing to invest in communities, not just in the relationship between law enforcement and the community but where are you on social services, on education, on healthcare? On not just saying the right things, which words matter, but doing the right things with dollars? Where are your priorities in closing the gaps? As we've said many times, Judy said it most eloquently, COVID-19 didn't create the inequities, but it laid them bare in the state. When you see the killing of George Floyd, sadly, that's not a new reality, but it's laid bare the stain of racism yet again, and other names that we could put alongside of his name, a guy who should be alive today. Pat, please.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: Thanks, Gov. I would just add that, I think when that first discussion came about, defunding the police sounded like less law enforcement, and the talk of maybe categorizing calls. And my response to that is, as a profession, we need to be social workers. We need to be pastors. We need to be coaches. I think it's a profession that when somebody picks up the phone and calls 911, that we are asked to solve people's problems from a stray cat in their house to a 17-year-old wrapped around a tree in their Toyota. So when I hear that, if that means shifting to other programs, whether that's with youth programs or community partnerships, I'm for that. But I am a bit cautious of categorizing certain calls, and maybe not having law enforcement go to a domestic or maybe not have law enforcement go to meet with a marginalized citizen. I think we can be all of that. That's why we raised our right hand and take that oath to serve every single day.
Governor Phil Murphy: I think I said this, I didn't give you an answer on Camden. I just will say that when I saw Chief Wysocki standing there marching alongside residents of the community, I picked up the phone and called him, and I take my hat off to that whole spirit.
A couple of things in closing before I mask up. Mahen reminds me we're together, tomorrow is a little unusual, at 3:30 here, so forgive us for that. I'm a little bit on the road tomorrow with some semblance of what it used to be like, but very modest semblance of that. And again, this gets a little bit back to Dave's question about help and resources for small businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry. I just want to repeat, we need to be able to borrow, so that's something that's here and now in this state. I hope we get resolution on that very quickly.
Secondly, we need the direct federal cash assistance. And it's not either/or, and I think we're going to have to have revenues on the table as well. We need an all-of-the-above approach. When you twin the experience you're going through with only two other eras in our country, the Great Depression and the Civil War, you know you're up against it. And we're up against it in that budget that we passed today, while allowing us to stay in business for another three months. But lacking in so many of the programs and initiatives that we care deeply about and that we know will change people's lives in the state. It gives us no joy, period. So getting the ability to borrow, to get the federal cash assistance to consider revenues that we may need, we need an all-of-the-above approach.
With that, I'm going to mask up and say again, thank you to everybody. Thank you for bearing with us. Again, because of everything you've done, the millions of you, we're in a dramatically different and better place, but we need to keep it up. And for those of you who are disappointed that we can't yet get to things like indoor dining, it's not a life sentence. If we keep up the great work, we crack down and eliminate, God willing, the knucklehead behavior, if we do both, we get to a much better place sooner than later. Hang in there folks. Keep doing the great job you've been doing and God bless you all.