HOBOKEN, NJ — After the city of Hoboken asked residents Monday what their thoughts were on a $250 fine for individuals not wearing a mask in a public place, the city announced the results on Wednesday, in advance of a council vote that night on the measure.

The city said Wednesday that 3,661 people filled out the survey in a 24-hour span between Aug. 17 and 18.

They said that a slight majority of respondents, or 51 percent, indicated they agreed or strongly agreed with the implementation of an ordinance that allows for a $250 fine in situations when social distancing is not possible.

Of the “high risk” population, including seniors or those with serious underlying medical conditions, 70 percent indicated they would feel safer or much safer if a $250 fine was instituted.

(The federal government recently said that about half of American adults who are not elderly have some kind of “pre-existing condition.”)

The city said that 62 percent of respondents indicated that they believed a $250 fine would make other people more likely to wear face masks, while 37 percent indicated that a $250 fine would make them more likely to wear a face mask outdoors.

Additional results of the survey include:

Currently, the CDC recommends that people wear facemasks to cut down on exposure.

  • 64 percent of residents said they wore a face mask all or most of the time outdoors, 25 percent of residents said they wore a face mask some of the time outdoors and 11 percent of residents said they hardly ever or never wore face masks outdoors

  • 66 percent of residents said they would feel safer or much safer if more people were wearing face masks, while 26 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that they’d feel safer if more people were wearing masks and 8 percent not sure.

  • 15 percent of respondents indicated they were in the at-risk category identified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, including seniors and those with serious underlying medical conditions (549 total)

The ordinance mirrors the Executive Order issued by Governor Phil Murphy currently in effect in the State of New Jersey, that requires face masks to be worn in situations where social distancing is not possible.

The city of Hoboken initiated a social distancing task force that, along with Class II police officers, would be responsible for both educating the public about the new ordinance with a period of warnings and handing out of face masks, as well as enforcing the ordinance.

The city, located across the Hudson River from Manhattan, packs 53,000 people into one-square mile. There are also 140 liquor licenses potentially in use at any one time, and dozens of restaurants providing outdoor dining.

Hoboken, a city of 53,000 people in one square mile, was one of the first towns to close facilities in March amid the pandemic. So far, it has lost 29 residents to the virus, with no new fatalities since May.

For full results of the City’s face mask survey, click here.

Hoboken and national coronavirus statistics and trends

Last Thursday, the city said it now has had a total of 687 known, confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The city said that Wednesday and Thursday, it had reports of two and one new case respectively (included in the 687 total).

The city had gone a week in June with only one new case, then experienced an uptick in new cases in July — as did many New Jersey cities — after facilities started reopening and people traveled to states with higher numbers. The governor has also blamed large parties for high transmission rates.

As of Thursday, 165,000 Americans had died of coronavirus, and more than 5 million have tested positive.

As of last weekend, 35 states remained above the positive testing rate recommended by the World Health Organization to safely reopen. WHO recommends states remain at 5 percent or lower for at least 14 days. Read more: More Kids Getting Coronavirus.

In New Jersey last Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy said the number of coronavirus cases statewide has risen to 186,594, with 14,054 confirmed deaths. That included 699 new cases since the day before and eight newly confirmed deaths.

But the daily death rate in New Jersey has been declining since back on April 30, when it reached a peak of 460 residents in 24 hours.

Many other states reached record daily death rates in July (see the daily totals in each state here). They have pulled back on their reopenings, including Texas, which closed bars after seeing record numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.

New Jersey updated its list on Tuesday of states that residents must quarantine upon returning from. There are now 35 states included.

See below for other recent Hoboken coronavirus and reopening updates:

SCHOOLS

  • The Hoboken public schools are slated to reopen Tuesday, Sept. 8.

  • The district has offered a reopening plan giving parents a choice of either full-time in-person learning (until 3 p.m.) or full-time distance learning. In the buildings, there will be restrictions, such as kids wearing masks and maintaining a 6-foot distance.

  • The governor’s school reopening guidance was published on June 26.

  • The state has said that all districts must offer a remote learning option.

BUSINESS

  • Here is the August schedule of Hoboken “summer streets” that are restricted to vehicles, to encourage walking, bicycling, and outdoor dining.

  • Hoboken recently received almost $1.9 million in funding for small businesses, to be distributed in $20,000 grants. Read more here.

  • Hoboken businesses received government PPP loans to help with payroll, rent, and more during the pandemic. Read the list here.

  • More than 50 of the city’s restaurants opened the week of June 15 for outdoor dining. READ MORE.

  • Some of those have added “streateries” for outdoor dining. READ MORE.

  • Two of the city’s weekly farmers’ markets reopened in June. READ MORE.

  • The city and Patch both have directories of businesses that are open and closed. Check them out and add your listing. READ MORE.

  • The city will be closing off certain blocks for businesses to expand and draw foot traffic. READ MORE.

  • Here’s what you need to know about applying for unemployment and other benefits during coronavirus. MORE.

  • Read more about unemployment, small business, and other coronavirus regulations and benefits in New Jersey here.

LIBRARY

  • Residents can return library books and other materials by placing them in the library book/media dropbox in front of the library (500 Park Ave.) from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The library has begun no-contact “curbside pickup” service. Library patrons will be able to reserve the materials online, place their orders via email to [email protected], or call (201) 4202346, ext. 5102. For additional details, visit hobokenlibrary.org.

PARKS

GYMS

  • Bhalla said recently, “According to Governor Murphy, the following activities are permitted at indoor gyms starting July 2, as provided by his office: ‘individualized indoor instruction by appointment only where an instructor is offering training to an individual, and the individual’s immediate family members, household members, caretakers, or romantic partners. If a gym or fitness center is offering multiple simultaneous instructions at the same facility, these instructions must take place in separate rooms or, if they take place in the same room, must be separated by a floor-to-ceiling barrier that complies with all fire code requirements.’ “

NURSING HOMES

  • New Jersey residents have become alarmed at the high number of residents who have passed away in nursing homes, rehabs, and similar facilities, and have charged that the facilities are undercounting the numbers and not adequately protecting residents and staff. The state has faced questions for weeks from the press about how they will address the problems. They announced plans last month to increase testing at some long term care facilities and to bring in the National Guard to help make changes.

  • The state has begun releasing death toll statistics for long-term care facilities like rehabs and nursing homes. See the list here.

  • You can report problems with long term care facilities here, or if you suspect coronavirus related misconduct, here.

  • Some New Jersey long-term care facilities reopened for limited visits, with precautions, in July.

  • Other states have also been dealing with nursing home deaths more recently, including a recent outbreak in a Texas nursing home.

Here are statewide coronavirus resources:

  • NJ COVID-19 Information Hub: https://covid19.nj.gov/

  • General COVID-19 questions: 2-1-1

  • NJ COVID-19 hotline: (800) 222-1222

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This article originally appeared on the Hoboken Patch

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