Governor Declares State of Emergency
Orders Mandatory Evacuation of Barrier Islands and Atlantic City Effective 4PM Sunday
Urges Residents to Use Nice Weather Saturday and Sunday to Get Prepared
Warns Retailers Against Price Gouging
Middletown- Governor Chris Christie flew into to Middletown this morning to announce that he has declared all of New Jersey under a State of Emergency in preparation of Hurricane Sandy. The storm is expect to made landfall in New Jersey, somewhere between Cape May and Seaside late Sunday.
Christie has ordered a mandatory evacuation of New Jersey’s barrier islands south of Seaside and Atlantic City effective at 4PM on Sunday. All roads heading into those locations will be closed.
Residents of the northern coastal regions of Monmouth and Ocean Counties are left to their own discretion to voluntarily evacuate, pending updates from the National Weather Service.
Christie said that when shelter is needed that, except in those areas being evactuated, residents should stay in their homes or arrange to stay with family members. Shelters are being set up in all counties for those who can not stay at home or with family. The State will have five shelters open in the event of overflow at the county shelters.
“As we move towards what is an increasingly likelihood of seeing Sandy make landfall in New Jersey, I am urging all New Jerseyans to take every possible and reasonable precaution to ready themselves for the storm’s potential impact. That means having an emergency action plan for their families and other loved ones who may require assistance, and avoiding unnecessary risks in the severe weather, including staying off of the roads,” said Governor Christie. “At the state level, we are taking immediate steps to prepare for the storm’s impact and ensure that state, local and county governments have the tools they need to manage and respond in a coordinated way. With this, government at every level can respond more effectively to conditions on the ground, activate emergency operations plans, and ensure that resources are being marshaled to assist and protect the public through this storm.”
Christie encouraged residents to stay off of the roads during the storm and announced that NJ Transit will cross honor tickets and passes, Monday through Wednesday, giving those commuting to work greater access and flexibilty to public transportation in the event that their normal routes are closed due to the storm.
The governor emphasised that, unlike previous storms that have move through quickly, Sandy is expect to move slowly and impact the area for up to three days.
Utilities repair crews will not restore power while the storm is ongoing. Power outages are expected to last for as long as 7 to 10 days.
Residents should consult http://www.ready.gov/ for updates and preparedness tips.
In response to a reporter’s question, Christie urged residents who are using power generators to make sure they are doing so correctly according to the manufacturers’ directions. “If it looks stupid, it is stupid,” the governor said, responding to the question about residents sharing power from generators with their neighbors via extension cords.
Following Christie’s briefing to the press and about 200 Middletown residents, his office issued a warning to merchants against price gouging.
“During emergencies, New Jerseyans should look out for each other – not seek to take advantage of each other,” said Christie. “The State Division of Consumer Affairs will look closely at any and all complaints about alleged price gouging. Anyone found to have violated the law will face significant penalties.”
Price increases are deemed excessive under the law if they are more than 10 percent above the price at which the good or service was sold during the normal course of business, prior to the state of emergency. The law does allow that, if the merchant faces additional costs imposed by suppliers or legitimate logistical concerns, a price increase is considered excessive if it is more than 10 percent above the amount of markup from cost, compared with the markup normally applied.
Violations of the price-gouging law are punishable by civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first offense and $20,000 for the second and subsequent offenses. Each individual sale of merchandise is considered a separate and distinct event.