Coronavirus fears force bars to move up last call

Bars and restaurants are also asked to take attendance

When the clock strikes 10 p.m., bars and nightclubs in Jersey City are going to start turning off their music and shutting their doors.

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The pre-witching hour last call, reportedly in effect this weekend through next week, is required under a curfew that's part of a slate of measures the city enacted to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The policy is designed to limit large, uncontrolled gatherings where transmission is easier, Mayor Steven Fulop said on Twitter.

"Nightclubs and bars attract a lot of people, and we classify that as uncontrolled," Fulop said in an interview with Pix11. The policy excludes restaurants. "We're kind of trying to find the right balance," the mayor said.

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A day earlier, he asked venues including bars and restaurants that hold more than 25 people to take attendance at the door “in case of future need to track exposure.” The mayor also canceled all nonessential city functions for a week, a move that will be re-evaluated on a weekly basis.

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“We always want the city to be a leader and proactive in protecting our residents,” Fulop said. “In this case, we are taking reasonable steps and giving clear direction to the community on expectations. We are asking our residents to help us in keeping our community safe.”

While there are no confirmed cases in Jersy City, officials want to be "as proactive as possible" given the cases in surrounding communities. Jersey City is just across the Hudson River from New York City, where several dozen cases have been reported, and the two are connected by a web of tunnels, ferries and bridges.

"We’ll leave these policies in place until we see a decrease in confirmed N.J. cases," Fulop told his Twitter followers. Worldwide, there are at least 124,518 individual cases of the new coronavirus, and at least 4,607 people have died.

Some 1,300 cases have been confirmed in the U.S., with 23 in New Jersey.

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