GOVERNOR MURPHY MARKS HISTORIC BEGINNING OF NEW JERSEY'S COVID-19 VACCINATION EFFORT AT UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL'S VACCINE CLINIC AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY
Governor Phil Murphy, joined by Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, University Hospital President and CEO Dr. Shereef Elnahal, and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Dean Dr. Robert Johnson, visited University Hospital’s Vaccine Clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School to mark the historic beginning of New Jersey’s vaccination effort and witness the administration of the first COVID-19 vaccinations to the state’s frontline health care workers.
“This is a day that we have been waiting nearly a year for, and while we know this isn’t the end, we are witnessing, at the least, a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel,” said Governor Murphy. “Without question, we are still in for several hard months and we are going to face stiff headwinds from this second wave, but now our heroic frontline health care workers can begin to take care of their fellow New Jerseyans with a higher degree of confidence in their own protection.”
“Availability of a COVID-19 vaccine within the same year as the epidemic began is a huge scientific achievement, which can help us contain this virus and save lives,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “We are thankful for our hospitals—who serve communities around the state—for volunteering to provide equitable and efficient access to vaccines to our valued healthcare workforce.”
“My experience during the COVID-19 pandemic has been that of so many of my healthcare peers, and during the first wave, we faced an unprecedented volume of critically ill patients from all walks of life and adult populations,” said Maritza Beniquez, Resident Nurse, Emergency Department, University Hospital and the first COVID-19 vaccine recipient in New Jersey. “As a woman of color, I stand in solidarity with my community and know that we are three times more likely to suffer the catastrophic effects of this disease. Although I am living proof that PPE functions and has kept me safe while at work, I’m honored to be the first person in New Jersey to receive this vaccine, which will limit the possibility of me contracting this disease and unknowingly transmitting it to others.”
GOVERNOR MURPHY AND NJ TRANSIT CELEBRATE MAJOR MILESTONE
Governor Phil Murphy, alongside NJ TRANSIT Board Chair and Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett, Amtrak President Stephen Gardner, Federal Railroad Administrator Ron Batory, and Parsons Corporation’s Terry Fetters, announced that NJ TRANSIT’s Positive Train Control (PTC) system has been certified by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) as meeting the December 31, 2020 deadline for implementation. This major accomplishment comes after nearly three years of around the clock work, first to meet the interim milestone for equipment and infrastructure installation at the end of 2018, and then to achieve this certification for full implementation. When Governor Murphy took office in January of 2018, the project was at just 12% completion toward the 2018 interim goal for equipment and infrastructure installation.
“After nearly a decade of neglect and disinvestment under the previous administration, I’m thrilled that NJ TRANSIT’s PTC system will today receive certification from the Federal Railroad Administration,” said Governor Murphy. “Our commitment to meeting this deadline and ensuring the safety of every rider along NJ TRANSIT’s rail network is simply an extension of our overall commitment to delivering the world-class transportation experience that NJ TRANSIT customers deserve. As our post-COVID future takes shape in the months ahead, hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans will again turn to our rail system for their commutes and NJ TRANSIT will be ready to get them to their destinations more safely than ever.”
“The Federal Railroad Administration’s certification of NJ TRANSIT’s Positive Train Control system improves safety for our customers by using technology to reduce the risk of human error,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “It took an amazing effort by our dedicated staff to complete this system on time, and I want to thank everyone who worked so diligently to get this done.”
“We could not have been successful without the hard work and dedication of the NJ TRANSIT employees assigned to this project, which was arguably one of the most complex in the country,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “Similar to the December 2018 interim milestone, we did what many thought was impossible. In addition to our employees, I want to thank our contractors (Parsons and Alstom), FRA Administrator Ron Batory and his team for their leadership and support, our partners at Amtrak, MTA, SEPTA and the many freight railroads - all of whom were critical to our success. Most importantly, I want to thank our customers for their continued patience and understanding over the last two years while we worked tirelessly to complete PTC and deliver a safer commute.”
“We’re delighted that NJ TRANSIT has been able to complete their installation of PTC and thank them for the focus and collaboration under Governor Murphy’s and CEO Kevin Corbett’s leadership over the past few years,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia. “It’s clear that NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak share the same commitment to safety, customer service and growth and this stands as another example of how our partnership is delivering value for the public, even in these difficult times.”
“As FRA Administrator, one of my greatest privileges has been to oversee—and stand alongside—NJ TRANSIT as it fully implemented FRA-certified and interoperable PTC systems on its network,” said Ronald Batory, Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. “I salute and commend the perseverance and commitment at all levels of NJ TRANSIT’s team to meeting this important deadline.”
“Achieving this critical milestone was made possible by the combined collaboration, innovation, and determination of NJ TRANSIT, Federal Railroad Administration, Parsons and Alstom,” said Chuck Harrington, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Parsons. “The team worked tirelessly through a global pandemic to ensure the safety of New Jersey’s rail network.”
GOVERNOR MURPHY DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN RESPONSE TO WINTER STORM GAIL
Governor Phil Murphy declared that New Jersey entered a state of emergency beginning Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. in response to Winter Storm Gail. The state of emergency was lifted on Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. Executive Order No. 208 declared a state of emergency across all 21 counties in New Jersey, allowing resources to be deployed throughout the state during the duration of the storm. The Governor also initiated a staggered closing for state offices. The early dismissal did not include weather-essential employees, who remained until the normal close of business.
GOVERNOR MURPHY, SENATE PRESIDENT SWEENEY, ASSEMBLY SPEAKER COUGHLIN, AND BILL SPONSORS SENATOR RUIZ AND ASSEMBLYWOMAN PINTOR MARIN ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT ON COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN AND TAX INCENTIVES REFORM LEGISLATION
In a statement, Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, Speaker Coughlin, and Bill Sponsors Senator Ruiz and Assemblywoman Pintor Marin said:
“Today, we are proud to announce that we have reached an agreement on a comprehensive economic recovery package that will support small businesses, drive sustainable economic growth, and reform our tax incentives system. This plan will specifically target historically underserved communities that have also been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 with tailored programs to combat food deserts, spur brownfields redevelopment, and support historic preservation and renewal, as well as a grant and loan program designed to bolster Main Street small businesses.
“The agreement includes annual caps, strong compliance standards, groundbreaking tools to support the innovation economy, and robust labor protections. The plan will also help attract more high-growth businesses to the Garden State and provide additional support to small businesses during this unprecedented time. This is especially important as we lay the foundation for a stronger, more resilient post-COVID economy in New Jersey.”
N.J. HEALTH DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES MEGA SITES AS PART OF OVERALL STATEWIDE COVID-19 VACCINE PLANNING EFFORT
Six mega sites throughout New Jersey will serve as vaccination hubs for phased priority groups, part of a critical network of over 200 sites tasked with carrying out the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan fairly and equitably, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) announced.
The six state-coordinated sites are expected to begin opening in early January and will immediately be in position to vaccinate front-line healthcare workers and then continue in a phased approach depending on the supply of vaccine to New Jersey. After these phases are complete, then the general public will be eligible for vaccination. The timing of the progression among the groups depends on the supply of vaccine to the state.
“Building out a core infrastructure of vaccination sites is a critical component of our strategic and efficient deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine and is a key element of New Jersey’s recovery,” said Governor Murphy. “These statewide sites will be in position to vaccinate front line health care workers who are part of the 1a category and will continue for each successive group of New Jerseyans that becomes eligible for vaccination.”
The sites include:
- Atlantic County: Atlantic City Convention Center
- Bergen County: Racetrack at Meadowlands, East Rutherford
- Burlington County: Moorestown Mall
- Gloucester County: Rowan College of South Jersey, Sewell
- Middlesex County: New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, Edison
- Morris County: Rockaway Townsquare
“New Jersey will roll out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all who live, work or study in the state,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “New Jersey’s phasing will ensure that limited vaccines are distributed in a fair and equitable manner. With each successive wave, we will get closer to being able to open our vaccination sites to the general public.”