The public notices I have been sharing with you on the Borough website these last few weeks have contained a great deal of information covering a host of different issues dealing with the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. I urge you to look at all of them for valuable information.
As always, the Borough Council and I have been regularly engaging in conference calls with State and County Officials about COVID-19 and working with emergency personnel around the clock. Due to the volume of information over the last week, I thought it best to do another quick recap in conjunction with some new information from the Governor’s Office.
Before I go into some items that I feel you will find informative, I want to once again share with you the link to the NJ COVID-19 Information HUB. This website has been set up by the State of New Jersey and is your one-stop website for all issues whether you are an individual or a business. There are various portals on this site for general questions about COVID-19 itself, what to do if you are infected or think you are infected, financial assistance and grants for both individuals and businesses along with areas for a range of social services assistance including but not limited to food, mental health and domestic violence. Additionally, this site condenses all of the Governor’s Executive Orders dealing with COVID-19 in a clear and succinct manner.
Please click here for this site: NJ COVID-19 Information HUB
Working with the State of New Jersey
Governor Murphy this week has amended previous Executive Orders and signed new ones dealing with COVID-19. I would like to share some of the more recent ones with you below. For a full list of all the Executive Orders from Governor Murphy, please visit the NJ COVID-19 Information HUB or visit the Governor’s Official page consisting of all Executive Orders by clicking here: All Executive Orders by Governor Murphy.
The most comprehensive of the Executive Orders has been Executive Order #122 that ceases all non-essential construction projects and imposes additional mitigation requirements on essential retail businesses and industries to limit the spread of COVID-19. Please click on Executive Order #122 to read it in its entirety. This Executive Order covers topics for businesses regarding hours of operation, sanitation, social distancing and the need for protective measures such as barriers, face-masks for employees and customers along with addressing occupancy limits. It also covers new restrictions on essential and non-essential contract work in great detail. I implore you to read it in it’s entirety. I am pleased to say that working with our Police Department, we have already started to help local businesses implement these health and safety policies and I thank our businesses and residents for respecting those necessary precautions. If you are unable to purchase face-masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put out a guide for how to make home made masks and care for them at CDC Face-mask Guidance.
Other Executive Orders I feel are important are Executive Order #120 which postpones the June 2nd Primary Election to July 7, Executive Order #123 extending insurance premium grace periods and Executive Order #119 which extends the public health emergency in New Jersey. As I’ve stated, for a full list of all the Executive Orders you can click on the link that I shared above.
COVID-19 In Point Pleasant
In regard to positive cases of COVID-19 in our community, I’ve previously stated that as tests become more available and time moves on, we will inevitably have a rise in positive cases as with all municipalities in our State. The names, addresses and statuses of these individual positive cases will not be revealed due to laws protecting one’s medical history. Not even the Borough Council and I are privy to specific information, only authorized medical personnel have this info as it is not public. Only the total number of cases in each municipality are available. I’ve previously shared with you the link to view them daily and will share again below. There is no need for you to be panicked by this though.
The Ocean County Health Department is the lead agency for investigation of cases involving a positive COVID-19 person. If it is determined that a resident is in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, the County Health Department will reach out. The County Health Department conducts a thorough contact tracing exercise on each case and notifies anyone that could have come in contact with that individual.
You can see the total number of cases not just in Point Pleasant but in every municipality in Ocean County daily by clicking on the Ocean County Health Department. You can also click on the NJ Department of Health page as well for State numbers. At the moment, there is no more information other than total numbers in each town. County and State Officials have not yet created reports breaking down cases town by town in regard to recoveries, deaths or severity. Once reports like this become available, I will certainly relay them to you.
In recent news articles, Governor Murphy has stated that across the Jersey Shore the effects of social distancing are starting to be seen. I am heartened to hear this but that does not mean we can start being lax, instead this is a time to be stricter than ever. Unless you are going to a store to buy essential items, going to work because you are an essential employee, or going outside to get fresh air in a responsible manner, the best thing for you to do is stay home. The Borough Council and I cannot stress enough the need to practice strict social distancing and good hygiene habits. It is imperative that we all do our part to help flatten the curve and prevent further spread of COVID-19.
Municipal Operations in Point Pleasant
I previously reported to you that even though Borough Hall is closed to the public, we are still performing essential functions to keep our community operational. All essential functions can still be accomplished either by mail, email or going onto our website. I encourage you to check our website often for changes to any services and to revisit past notices. Public Works services also continue and garbage, recycling and leaf collection schedules are on time.
While the Governor has closed all State and County Parks until further notice in Executive Order #108, our municipal open space fields still remain open for passive recreation only but group gatherings are strictly prohibited. It is my hope that we won’t be forced to close our open fields as we feel it is important for residents to be able to go outside and remain active in a responsible manner. As long as we all cooperate and practice social distancing, I am optimistic we will not have to take further action. Our boardwalk at Riverfront Park along with our small beaches due to their confined spaces, playgrounds, skate park, basketball and tennis courts all still remain closed. There is signage posted at all of our sites stating COVID-19 precautions and our Police Department has increased their patrols.
As a reminder, the Borough Council and I also prohibited all Air B&B, Vacation Rentals by Owner and all short term rentals until further notice along with suspending all door to door solicitors permits.
Through our Recreation Department, we have employees calling Senior Citizens that would normally participate in our Senior Beehive programs. These calls are made weekly to those we have listed as isolated or vulnerable. We reach out, say hello and let them know they are not alone during these difficult times. Our Police Department also operates Operation Reassurance year-round where they will check on senior citizens and those living alone under special circumstances regularly. To sign up for Operation Reassurance, you can visit the Police Department’s Page on our Borough website.
You will be happy to know that our first responders are doing an outstanding job. Myself and members of the Borough Council have visited our First Aid Department and left prouder than ever after seeing the fine job that they are doing. In fact, 92.7 WOBM FM did an interview with our EMS crew showcasing the extra precautions they are taking due to COVID-19. You can see the impressive interview for yourself by clicking Point Boro EMS Interview with 92.7 WOBMFM.
The Borough Council and I would like to again thank our employees for their dedication and hard work in these trying times. Our staff at Borough Hall and Public Works have truly shown what it means to be public servants. We would also like to thank our emergency personnel as well. Our Police, Fire and First Aid Departments have been working harder than ever and we cannot thank them enough for putting themselves on the front lines of this pandemic. On behalf of all of our residents, we put up a banner thanking them and essential employees everywhere.
In closing, The Borough Council and I would like to once again thank our community for your patience and understanding during these trying times. I constantly say there is no better place to be than The Boro and the way we have all pulled together recently proves that. From your charitable acts towards one another, to supporting your local businesses and for adhering to smart social distancing and hygiene practices we have shown what being a community is all about.
Mayor Robert A. Sabosik