Dear Residents,

First, I would like to you wish you all a Happy Independence Day.  The Borough Council and I wish you all enjoy yourselves this weekend, but we ask that you also make smart decisions and practice good social distancing and hygiene habits.

These last few months have certainly been trying for all of us.  Our community came together at the very beginning of this pandemic to support each other and I am heartened to see that we are still here lending an ear or a hand to one another and still moving forward.  “The Boro” is a unique community, we saw this during Superstorm Sandy and we are seeing it now.  I am proud and honored to be the Mayor of a municipality filled with individuals that love our home just as much as the Borough Council and I do.

I have posted many updates over the last few months that have contained a great deal of information covering a host of different issues dealing with the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, and I hope they have been helpful. Whether you are a business or a resident looking for assistance or information, I urge you to look at all of them for valuable information.

Working with the State of New Jersey

Governor Murphy recently has signed a number of Executive Orders and Administrative Actions dealing with businesses and gatherings. If you would like to read all of the Governor’s Executive Orders in their entirety, you can click on the link for the full list.  These orders pertain to a number of items including increasing the capacity for indoor and outdoor gatherings, a number of new openings across a variety of businesses and attractions, the resuming of youth sports and extending the public health emergency by another month.

As I’ve previously stated, the Governor has finally allowed more businesses to re-open and has lessened some restrictions as we are in his Phase 2 Re-Opening Stage. One set back came just this week as the Governor rolled back his authorization to allow limited indoor dining right before the 4th of July Weekend.  I feel for the many local restaurants that were depending on this weekend’s business.  Our local economy is symbiotic as people want to eat and shop in town, when one industry suffers every industry feels those ramifications.  I know our local businesses are working hard meeting the health and safety standards necessary to stay in business during this crisis and I feel they should not be penalized because of other businesses elsewhere that decided to throw caution to the wind.  Those businesses not taking this seriously should be penalized, not the ones trying to survive and doing things right.  I’ve relayed this concern to the Governor’s Office and will continue to do so.  In addition to relaying the concerns of our business community to the Governor’s Office multiple times over the last few months on our weekly Mayors’ Conference Calls, at the end of May I sent him a letter urging him to re-open our businesses and since he has allowed a number to reopen, albeit with restrictions.  You can read my Letter to the Governor here.  Additionally, a few weeks ago, I along with 20 other Ocean County Mayors signed a collaborative letter urging the Governor to lift his restrictions and to open our economy, you can read that letter here.  Our local businesses are smart and want to do the right things.  I’ve known from the beginning that our local businesses can open safely, they are able and willing to do so with precautions in place to protect themselves and the public.

I’ve also had a number of residents who’s jobs were impacted by COVID-19 contact members of the Borough Council and I about not receiving their unemployment benefits yet.  The State of NJ who runs unemployment through the NJ Department of Labor has made recent improvements and are slowly processing more and more claims.  My office will continue to press them.  Additionally, NJ is extending unemployment benefits by 20 more weeks for people who have exhausted their State and Federal claims.  You can find out more information by visiting the NJ Department of Labor.

For those impacted by COVID-19 having trouble paying rent, the NJ Emergency Rental Assistance Program through the NJ Department of Community Affairs will begin enrollment for qualified participants starting July 6th.  For more information on this, you are encouraged to click here.

There are still grants and other programs available to small businesses as well, but the money allotted to those programs is limited.  If your business hasn’t applied for a program it may be eligible to benefit from, I encourage you to visit the NJ Economic Development Authority to find out more information.

I’d like to share again with you the most important link I feel will benefit you and that is 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.

Working with Ocean County

If you would like information on how to make an appointment to get tested for COVID-19, please visit the Ocean County Health Department to make an appointment for the drive-thru testing site at Ocean County College. For links about services, documents, information and help from your Ocean County Government related to COVID-19, please visit the Ocean County COVID-19 Information Page.

Our Ocean County Board of Freeholders are also making a concerted effort to fill out our Census forms.  It is vital, especially for funding purposes, that all residents in Point Pleasant and Ocean County fill out the Census, you can still do so if you have not already by visiting the US Census 2020 website.

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 the total number of cases and now deaths in each municipality are available. Further, it should be noted that this is a running total from when testing began almost three months ago, this number does not reflect recoveries, the Ocean County Health Department has not yet started to subtract recovered cases from the total.  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 link to the Ocean County Health Department. You can also click on the NJ Department of Health page as well for State numbers. It should be noted that a large portion of our cases here in Point Pleasant have come from nursing homes and adult care facilities as with so many other communities. We know this because nursing homes and care facilities are required to report their numbers and that has become public information. These facilities house some of our most vulnerable residents and our thoughts and prayers are with them as they are with everyone.

As time moves on, it might be easy to forget about the dangers of COVID-19 as more and more businesses and attractions re-open, but we must still remain vigilant.  The Borough Council and I can not emphasize enough the need to still make smart social distancing decisions and have good hygiene habits.

Food, Financial, Social Services Assistance & Help

Some of the challenges that this pandemic has presented us are not just financial. Some deal with having an adequate supply of food for families and seniors while others relate not just to physical health, but mental health as well. Some suffering from various addictions also need somewhere to turn to as being quarantined could have lasting implications. Others unfortunately could be faced with a situation involving domestic violence. In previous posts I shared some links to find assistance should you need them, you can revisit that post by clicking here. Ocean County is also helping to get food to senior citizens through the Ocean County Office of Senior Services. To volunteer or to help put seniors in need in contact with them, please click here.

For individuals looking for work, you are encouraged to check the NJ COVID-19 Information HUB Job Portal Site.

For those impacted by COVID-19 having trouble paying rent, the NJ Emergency Rental Assistance Program through the NJ Department of Community Affairs will begin enrollment for qualified participants starting July 6th.  For more information on this, you are encouraged to click here.

For businesses, please see the above Working With New Jersey section for links to the NJ Economic Development Authority.

Supporting our Local Economy

Our Point Pleasant Borough Chamber of Commerce has been doing an excellent job promoting local businesses that are able to open. I previously posted an update regarding this with links to help support those businesses. I ask you to revisit that post by clicking here.  Our Chamber of Commerce is very active and is continually sharing local advertisements and specials, I urge you to continue to shop local whenever possible.

Myself and the Borough Council are working with our Chamber of Commerce to come up with new ways to help bolster and promote our businesses as more and more open back up.  One such way is to loosen some restrictions on our existing outside dining ordinance and rental policies.  For restaurants that wish to have outside dining, you are encouraged to download and fill out an application here.  We were one of the first in the area to have a local ordinance like this, our intent now is to streamline the process so local restaurants can serve customers without being hamstrung by capacity limits and other restrictions.  This will be done in a safe and responsible manner and will allow restaurants to operate in a greater capacity and allow residents to enjoy themselves.  These are temporary policies made to balance the need of getting our local economy back on track with the needs of our residents.  Further, the Borough Council and I are waiving the local permit fee.  Those restaurants that have chosen to take advantage of this have been doing an excellent job and I ask you if you have the means to visit them and enjoy yourselves while still practicing smart social distancing and hygiene habits.

COVID-19 rental restrictions have also been scaled back.  Effective immediately, all Air B&B, VRBO’s and Short Term Rentals may resume as long as the rental term is for a minimum of at least 7 days.  Further, hotels and motels may resume operation at 25% capacity, and then increase to 50% capacity starting June 22, 2020.  Door-to-door solicitation is still prohibited.

We also partnered up with our Chamber of Commerce to unveil a new marketing campaign.  The “Shop, Dine and RE-Discover Point Pleasant” campaign was unveiled last week.  The Chamber reached out to member businesses to take part in a virtual ribbon cutting where they video recorded themselves “handing off” the ribbon to other businesses that culminated with an actual ribbon cutting across Bridge Avenue “re-opening” Point Pleasant.  You can see the videos and photos on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.  Please make sure to visit the Chamber of Commerce regularly to sign up for weekly email alerts promoting specials and services from our local businesses.

COVID-19 Related Scams

Unfortunately, even during a time of crisis there will be those that prey on the unsuspecting and vulnerable members of our society. It is important to remain vigilant and be able to recognize when someone is taking advantage of you. The NJ Attorney General and U.S. Attorney announced the creation of a State of New Jersey and Federal joint task force to investigate and prosecute those who are exploiting this pandemic. If you believe you are being victimized or know of someone who is, you can call the National Center for Disaster Fraud’s National Hotline at 866-720-5721.

Municipal Operations in Point Pleasant

I am happy to report that Borough Hall has been re-opened to the public.  There are a number of social distancing measures in place to protect both the public and our employees including but not limited to counter shields, 6’ separation markers, hand sanitizer and the requirement to wear a face-mask in the building.  You are still encouraged to call first and to accomplish whatever you can online, but the building is open to serve your needs should you need to come in.  The only service being conducted by appointments only are marriage licenses, you can call the Registrar’s Office at 732-892-3434 and make an appointment

Residents should take note that twice a week Summer trash pick-up has commenced at the beginning of June.  If you have a question about where you fall on the pick-up schedule, you can call public works at 732-892-1287 or check the Public Works sections of our website.  Also, the Ocean County document shredding program is taking place throughout the Summer in different locations in Ocean County.  It will be in Point Pleasant on Saturday August 1 at the Point Pleasant High School parking lot from 9am – 1pm.

The Governor also recently announced that parks and playgrounds can re-open.  I am pleased to report that all of our playgrounds have been re-opened and that regular cleanings are taking place by our Department of Public Works.  Social distancing is still required and face-masks are strongly encouraged.

For up-to-date emergency information, I ask that you follow the Borough of Point Pleasant’s Office of Emergency Management Facebook Page and The Borough of Point Pleasant Police Department’s Facebook Page. You can also sign up for free NIXLE text message alerts by clicking the link on our Borough website’s home page.

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

The Borough Council and I would like to also 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.

Stay well,
Mayor Robert A. Sabosik