Gov. Phil Murphy was at a bar in Hoboken Saturday night when he came into contact with a senior staffer who later tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesman for the governor said Wednesday evening.
The governor and first lady were at a social event at Pilsener Haus & Biergarten with Murphy’s communications director and his wife, Murphy senior adviser Dan Bryan said.
Murphy and his wife were there for a little over an hour, he said. Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Delamater, who learned he had tested positive for the virus Wednesday, “joined toward the end of the gathering” for about 15 minutes.
“The small gathering was outdoors,” Bryan said. “(Delamater) was not close to the governor or the first lady for a sustained period of time.”
The governor and First Lady Tammy Murphy both tested negative for the virus Wednesday afternoon, Murphy’s office said.
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They were tested after Murphy abruptly stepped off the stage of a public event about two hours earlier, moments after he learned Delamater had tested positive.
“I was just informed by my colleagues that I was in close proximity to someone on Saturday who has just tested positive,” Murphy said after attending the event at Camden Community College for about 30 minutes. “I will now unfortunately have to take myself off the field.”
Bryan also announced he had tested positive Wednesday afternoon.
Officials say contact tracing has begun, but it remained unclear Wednesday night how many people from the governor’s inner circle had come into contact with the senior staffers who tested positive.
“There was not a violation of the executive order at any juncture,” Bryan added about Murphy’s visit to Pilsener Haus & Biergarten.
Murphy’s order on restaurants and bars requires people to wear a mask at all times except while eating or drinking.
Aside from the social gatherings last weekend, Murphy has been going to his office on West State Street on most weekdays, accompanied by 10 to 12 staffers over the course of a day, Bryan said.
Masks are worn faithfully inside the offices, and desks in a common area are separated by plexiglass, he said.
The governor said he plans to quarantine through at least the end of the weekend. He has scheduled remote appearances, including his coronavirus briefing, for Thursday
The last time COVID-19 crept into Murphy’s orbit was when his former chief counsel tested positive in early April. It was about a month after New Jersey reported its first case on March 4 — the same day Murphy underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from one of his kidneys.
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Matt Arco may be reached at email@example.com.