Princeton’s Office of Emergency Management and Mayor Mark Freda have issued a Declaration of State of Emergency to all citizens and persons within the Municipality of Princeton due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Effective at 5 a.m. Jan. 13, face coverings will be required in public indoor spaces including restaurants, bars, gymnasiums, dance studios, recreation facilities, retail stores, cafes, supermarkets, convenience stores, places of worship, commercial establishments, salons, barbershops, banks, healthcare facilities, hotels, and government buildings and facilities.
Employees and patrons must wear a face mask at all times except when actively eating or drinking, when socially distanced at least six feet apart from all others for an extended period of time, and when performing for an audience or worship service.
Individuals with a medical condition that precludes the wearing of face coverings and children under the age of three are exempt from the requirement.
Establishments will be required to post signage notifying patrons of the requirement.
The order will remain in effect until 12 a.m. Jan. 31, unless modified or extended by further order.
“Princeton’s record level of COVID-19 cases, combined with the colder weather that has driven people indoors, the spike in the demand for testing and increase in hospitalizations, has prompted us to take these appropriate steps,” Michael Yeh, Princeton’s director of Emergency Services, said in a statement released on Jan. 10.
On Jan. 10, the Princeton Health Department reported its highest new case numbers ever, with 287 positive cases for the previous seven days and 568 for the previous 14 days, according to the statement.
“Wearing masks, especially in indoor settings, is known to be an effective way of combating the spread of COVID-19 and its variants,” Princeton’s Health Officer Jeff Grosser said in the statement. “We need to reduce the number of new cases locally and thus, reduce the impact of COVID-19 on area hospitals and testing sites.”