Week’s Start: Area Covid-19 Update

The COVID-19 message for New Jerseyans from their governor is an emphatic, simple one — Stay home!

As of Monday morning NJ Gov. Phil Murphy’s office reported that there were 27 deaths in the state due to the virus and 2,844 cases. That total is expected to increase exponentially in the coming days, as the new testing site at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel opened and shut within half an hour Monday morning. It opens again tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. Only those showing symptoms will be tested.

This all comes after the governor’s address on Saturday afternoon, officially enacted a stay-at-home executive order (107) to shut all non-essential retail businesses in an effort to widen the social distancing gap and flatten the COVID-19 curve as it surges to uncertain heights. Its goal is to keep as many people out of circulation as possible.

“This is a time for us all to come together in one mission to ‘flatten the curve’ and slow – and eventually halt – the spread of coronavirus,” the governor said.

The order does not prohibit essential services such as: medical, low-income residents’ access to food banks and other essential services, the media’s operation, law enforcement and other emergency services work and the operations of the federal government, a released statement said.

The order does not prohibit people from visiting with family or close friends with extreme caution, going to work in a distanced, sanitary capacity (if business has not been shut down for safety’s sake), if necessary. Though the order also mandates that businesses must wherever possible accommodate their workforce by setting it up for it telecommuting and continuing to offer employees work and benefits. If telecommuting is not possible in some businesses, there should be a staff reduction with minimal people on-site for essential operations only.

Examples of necessary, but skeleton crew, jobs are: law enforcement officers, fire fighters, first aid/EMS, grocery store clerks, warehouse workers, construction workers, utility workers, repairmen, lab researchers, IT techies, janitorial and custodial staff.

“From day one, we’ve made a commitment to be guided by the facts and take any action necessary to protect the health and safety of New Jersey’s nine million residents,” Governor Murphy said. “We know the virus spreads through person-to person contact, and the best way to prevent further exposure is to limit our public interactions to only the most essential purposes …”

The governor said the decision was not made lightly, fully cognizant of the economic repercussions for many, but was necessary for the health and welfare of the state’s residents.

He urged people to stay home aside from limited essential trips to the supermarket, gas station, bank, pharmacy or doctor. While restaurants and other eateries are closed, many are offering curbside pick-up and delivery with no person-to-person contact. Some are offering make-it-yourself kits as well.

Grocery and other market deliveries and pick-ups remain in effect.

The governor, in his Saturday address and on social media platforms, also made a stern plea to those who have second shore homes to stay put in their primary residences, as migration poses more of a danger for rampant spread of the virus, especially considering that many not showing any symptoms yet are thought to be unwittingly carrying and spreading the virus exponentially.

Too many were ignoring distancing and stay-at-home recommendations, he said Saturday, making the edict the most prudent, necessary move going forward. He was very firm about the order’s gravity.

The governor urged people to, yes, take a walk or otherwise recreate to maintain health and sanity, but do so at a compliant distance from others.

The exceptions to the governor’s order are:

• Grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store;
• Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries;
• Medical supply stores;
• Gas stations;
• Convenience stores;
• Ancillary stores within healthcare facilities;
• Hardware and home improvement stores;
• Banks and other financial institutions;
• Laundromats and dry-cleaning services;
• Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years;
• Pet stores;
• Liquor stores;
• Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics;
• Printing and office supply shops;
• Mail and delivery stores.

“Governor Murphy also signed Executive Order No. 108, which invalidates any county or municipal restriction that in any way will or might conflict with any of the provisions of Executive Order No. 107. Municipalities or counties cannot 1) make any additions to or deletions from the list of essential retail businesses; 2) impose any additional limitations on businesses beyond the Governor’s Order; 3) impose any additional density or social distancing requirements; or 4) impose any additional restrictions on freedom of movement. The only exceptions are two categories over which municipalities or counties may impose any additional restrictions: 1) online marketplaces for arranging or offering lodging and 2) municipal or county parks.”

NJ Governor’s Office press release

The COVID-19 in Monmouth County and more locally …

As of Sunday, one person in Rumson, one in Fair Haven, three in Little Silver and two in Red Bank had tested positive for COVID-19, according to Monmouth County officials.

As of Sunday, according to a release from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, there were 156 positive cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County.

The breakdown by municipality, the release said, is as follows:

  • Aberdeen: 6
  • Allentown: 2
  • Asbury Park: 1
  • Atlantic Highlands: 1
  • Belmar: 1
  • Bradley Beach: 1
  • Brielle: 2
  • Colts Neck: 3
  • Eatontown: 4
  • Englishtown: 1
  • Fair Haven: 1
  • Farmingdale: 1
  • Freehold Borough: 1
  • Freehold Township: 28
  • Hazlet: 8
  • Holmdel: 2
  • Howell: 8
  • Keyport: 1
  • Little Silver:3
  • Long Branch: 7 (1 Tinton Falls Quarantined in LB)
  • Manalapan: 22
  • Manasquan: 3
  • Marlboro: 9
  • Matawan: 1
  • Middletown: 7
  • Millstone: 1
  • Monmouth Beach: 1
  • Neptune: 10
  • Neptune City: 1
  • Ocean: 4 
  • Oceanport: 2
  • Red Bank: 2
  • Rumson: 1
  • Sea Girt: 1
  • Tinton Falls: 4
  • Wall: 4
  • West Long Branch: 1

The Freeholders also announced that, due to the order, all Monmouth County golf courses have been closed. Monmouth County open park spaces remain open.

Fair Haven’s Borough Council meeting will be conducted virtually tonight. Click here for information on how to join the meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

For continuous municipal updates from Rumson and Fair Haven, check borough Facebook pages.


** As to not inundate people with information overload, R-FH Retro will feature twice weekly updates on COVID-19, from state to local effects. We will also feature local services available in different categories. Stay home! Stay safe! **