Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla takes initiative: Closes bars, restaurants, sets nightly curfew

HOBOKEN Mayor Ravi Bhalla in the U.S. state of New Jersey has become some kind of a role model after he took the bold initiative of closing bars and restaurants and declaring a mandatory nightly curfew days after Hoboken officials announced the city’s first positive case of COVID-19.

NBC New York reports: “Bars that do not serve food will have to shut down as of Sunday morning. Restaurants can offer takeout and delivery but will have to shut their dining rooms. And as of Monday night, residents will be under curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next day.”

Residents will be required to remain indoors during the curfew hours except for emergencies and required work.

Bhalla said in a statement: “As I am writing this message on a Saturday evening, I received a call from our Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante notifying me of a bar fight in downtown Hoboken, with at least one person falling in and out of consciousness, and our police having to wait for over 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, because our EMS is inundated with service calls. This is unfortunately a contributing factor why we cannot continue bar operations which can trigger calls for service that are delayed in part because of this public health crisis.”

Bhalla was on CNN on Sunday.

In a tweet, Bhalla also encouraged people to support local businesses: “Purchasing a gift card, particularly to bar and restaurants, is a great way to lend a hand,” while thanking @Raakstar for this reminder on “how to support local businesses while still maintaining social distancing.”

Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante in a letter to a newspaper said: “Last night, Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Sgt. William Montanez and Mayor Ravi Bhalla ordered new regulations including overnight curfews starting Monday. I support those decisions 100%.

“I applaud the amount of time the two of them have put into this over the past two weeks. For the past week, we have been on the phones 24/7. They are not working 8, 12, 16 hours. Their communications with us and their work is around the clock.

“They have the responsibility for keeping our residents safe from this pandemic. All of these regulations this week have been discussed and well thought out and debated.”