Brooke Valentin Contributing Writer

    Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey has put the entire state on lockdown due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). On Saturday, March 21, Murphy ordered all residents to stay home, banned all gatherings, and told nonessential businesses to close in order to slow the spread of Coronavirus. The people excluded from this are: health care workers, emergency responders, some federal offices, food bank workers and grocery store workers as well as other employees deemed essential staff. People are advised only to leave their home for essential needs, such as groceries and essential medicines and to visit family or others you have a “close personal relationship with” such as a significant other. The state also has an 8 p.m. curfew and people will be given a ticket if violating this curfew.

    Many people in the state have begun social distancing and have not left their home unless absolutely necessary. Miranda Redish, a student at Middlesex County College in New Jersey, will have to start changing her normal routine from attending classes and spending time with friends. “Since my school has switched to online learning, I would say it’s more difficult because I’m more of a hands-on learner,” said Redish. “It’s been really tough adjusting to this new routine.” 

    Many colleges across the country have switched to remote learning, which has been a challenge for many students. Redish is grateful she can access the internet at home but that is not the case for many students. “My daily life has changed. Instead of going out with friends and visiting family I’ve been spending more time at home unless I have to work. I’m doing everything I can to help stop the spread of this virus so life can go back to normal. More people should be taking this seriously.” Redish said.

    In New Jersey there are 13,386 people infected with COVID-19 and there have been 161 deaths according to a New York Times Coronavirus tracker as of this afternoon. Governor Murphy is encouraging people to stay home and avoid social contact with anyone outside of their social circle, but many are still not taking the virus seriously and are continuing to go about their daily lives. 

    Douglas Brook, a dairy clerk at Shoprite, has witnessed people out like nothing is happening. “I’ve seen people come into the store with their entire families, ignoring the governor’s request that only one person go out of their house if they need to,” Brook said. 

    This virus is serious and can affect you if you’re young or old. “People are still going to their friends houses and not taking social distancing seriously,” said Brook. “Just this weekend, a group of my friends got together and hung out. They think because they are young this virus can’t affect them.”

    New Jersey is opening a number of testing centers throughout the state. Passaic County is opening its first testing center for residents at William Paterson University. Other universities, such as Kean University, are following suit. There will also be a bigger testing center at the PNC Bank Arts Center. Practicing social distancing and staying home, no matter where you are, is crucial.