Below is an update from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla regarding additional COVID-19 preparations:
Working with the Office of Emergency Management, we continue to take proactive steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Hoboken. My office will continue to put out as much information as possible to be transparent with the public, so everyone is informed.
We’ve received a number of questions about the first known positive case of COVID-19 announced earlier today. I’ve been informed that the individual who tested positive was a model case for what to do if you feel sick. Once he felt symptoms that he thought could be from COVID-19, he immediately reached out to his physician, was tested, and began self-isolation before even receiving the result. Once he knew he tested positive for COVID-19, he continued self-isolation. These responsible decisions allowed our Hoboken Health Department to proactively reach out to those who were in contact with him, and self-quarantine as directed by the Health Department.
Due to confidentiality laws, the City is not permitted to give out more information about this individual, however this positive case is an ideal example of the critical need to stay home if you are sick, and to call your primary care physician if you feel symptoms related to COVID-19.
As Hoboken is in a State of Emergency, I’ve been in close contact with Police Sgt. William Montanez, the head of our Office of Emergency Management about additional proactive measures we can take to help limit the spread of COVID-19. To that end, we have taken the following actions that are in effect as of Saturday, March 14 through at least March 20, all of which will help limit travel within Hoboken and minimize clusters of people:
Suspension of street cleaning: We recognize that if people are working from home, moving their cars is only encouraging additional travel within Hoboken. It is now suspended.
Closure of fields, recreation facilities and playgrounds: In addition to the closure of City fields and recreation facilities, we’re also taking the step to close playgrounds to children as a preventative measure. City parks will remain open with the exception of fields, recreation courts, playgrounds, and restrooms.
Closure of day cares, and pop-up camps for children: Unfortunately, day cares also contribute to the gathering of people, and we had to make the difficult decision to close them, out of an abundance of caution. We also will be prohibiting any day camps or pop-up camps for children through at least the end of next week, also as a precaution.
City Hall services available by phone, email or online only: To limit travel and congregation within City Hall, and to protect employees, we are closing City Hall to the public. However, services will continue to operate either within City Hall or remotely by employees. Members of the public must call the respective department in City Hall and speak to a representative or leave a message, or send an email to the respective employee or department head, that can be found at http://www.hobokennj.gov and choosing the “departments” tab under “government”.
As the most visited department in City Hall is the Hoboken Parking Utility, I’m glad to share that every single service that has been offered at the customer service window is now offered online.
I ask residents to please be patient as we work out some of the details within City Hall operations this upcoming week. However, we will do our absolute best to accommodate normal City services whenever possible.
Our Health Department continues to recommend practicing social distancing (remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance of approximately 6 feet from others), washing and sanitizing your hands frequently, and to work from home if you are able. As I’ve advised in previous communication, I am strongly discouraging any larger discretionary gatherings within our City. If you’ve planned an event, please consider rescheduling it to a later date.
Finally, I want to let all of Hoboken know that although we are in a period of uncertainty, we are one community and I know that we will get through this together. While it’s important to be prepared, it’s not a time to panic. Please be responsible when going to the supermarket and purchase only what you need for two weeks. This will allow others to gather goods they need as well.
And most importantly, please don’t forget to show kindness to one another, empathy to your neighbors, and lend a hand to those in need. Thank you to everyone for your continued patience and understanding.