New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday said his state's stay-at-home order will "remain in effect in its entirety until further notice."
Still, he offered a timeline as to when his state might meet certain benchmarks to reopen, while warning of a financial "Armageddon" that could leave the state unable to pay teachers, firefighters and police officers, The New York Times reported.
The reopening should come in weeks, not months, Murphy said, pointing to a possible Memorial Day return to a adjusted sense of normalcy.
"I want to see the shore humming throughout the summer," he said. But social distancing would likely remain, including on beaches.
A 14-day decline in new cases, expanded testing, the ability to trace those who have had contact with infected people and the ability to house people free of charge who need to be in isolation are among the metrics Murphy wants to see.
As New York looks to its different regions for signs of readiness, New Jersey outlined broader principles, and Murphy said he will not rush ahead of other states.
"We only want to have to do this once," Murphy said of his six fellow Northeastern governors and their agreement to work together.
New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, reported steady hospitalizations and lower intubations, and fewer than 400 deaths for a second straight day.
"It's still tragically high, but on the decline if you look at it over the last few days," Murphy said.
For the purposes of reopening, the state will use the 10 regional economic development zones as a guide, he said.
"That entire region has to have a control-room function, where we're watching what's happening," Murphy added.
"We have to coordinate as a region," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "Everybody in that region has to have the same policy when it comes to schools, when it comes to transportation, when it comes to testing, when it comes to tracing. And that region's plan has to fit in to our overall multistate plan."
"We're going to turn the valve on reopening, turn it a little bit, start to reopen and then you watch the dials," Cuomo said.
New Jersey, which has the second-highest COVID-19 rate, reported 106 new deaths, for a total of 6,044, with a decline in intensive-care patients and ventilator use. Murphy on Monday introduced six principles that must happen before and during the state's reopening.
New Jersey must have a 14-day drop in cases and hospitalizations; double diagnostic testing capacity; recruit "an army of personnel" for contact tracing; and secure locations for people who test positive to isolate, Murphy said. A commission will advise on returns to work and the state must build its stockpile of ventilators and personal-protective equipment.
Cuomo had offered a similar plan April 26, though he plans to open region by region. The governor said Monday that he will extend his stay-at-home order to many parts of the state May 15, but "some regions you could make the case that we should un-pause."
The governor released the results of expanded testing which suggests that 14.9% of the state carries antibodies to the new coronavirus.
To date, the state has tested 7,500 people statewide, looking for evidence that their immune system has built up antibodies to fight off the virus. In an initial study of 3,000 people, 13.9% had signs of the virus. There are big regional differences in test results, with 24.7% positives in New York City, 10.4% in Hudson Valley, and 2.7% in Finger Lakes.
Under Cuomo's reopening plan, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate, they might begin a phased reopening. The state will closely monitor that rate, along with the infection rate and the number of positive antibody tests, to make adjustments and other decisions.
Businesses considered "more essential" with low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized. As the infection rate declines, the pace of reopening businesses will increase. There will be two weeks between each phase, Cuomo said April 26.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.
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