Mayor's Message - May 7, 2020
Two months ago, by Executive Order, New Jersey’s Governor declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency due to the appearance of the corona virus in our state. A week after declaring the emergency, Governor Murphy issued the first of many additional Executive Orders that would lead to what has been nearly two months of aggressive social distancing, hygiene and isolation recommendations, rules and regulations. The intent was to “flatten the curve” and make sure that our health care system would not be overwhelmed in the treatment of the COVID-19 disease that the virus caused. These actions have also caused harm to many of us economically and socially. The education of our children has been affected. The mental health of all ages has been tested.
Yesterday, the Governor extended the State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency for another 30 days. It is important to realize that this action was a necessary step to ensure that New Jersey continues to be eligible for federal assistance and to utilize resources within the state as needed. Although this action also continues the restrictions put in place in previous executive orders, there is still the possibility…and my hope…that restrictions can and will be eased during the duration of this current order.
Speaking with Congresswoman Sherrill earlier this week, I was asked what I thought were the biggest issues regarding opening some of our small businesses. I told her that I believed many of our businesses are ready to open and willing to do so with whatever recommendations are put in place. The biggest issue I thought had to do with the division of much of the public between those who feel life should be returned to normal right away since the curve has been flattened, and those who are still concerned that re-opening anything will lead to another outbreak. I feel, and the Congresswomen agreed, that the true path to recovery lies in the middle and that we must guide people to realize that the disease is not yet gone, but at the same time, it is beginning to be safe to resume some normal activities.
As there is the potential for some restrictions being lessened in the coming weeks I would like share my thoughts on returning to normal and ask everyone in the Lincoln Park Community to commit to doing your part.
There will be restrictions on much of what is allowed to reopen. I do not expect everyone to feel the same need for these restrictions, or agree to them, but I do ask that we ALL follow them. Being able to follow the recommendations will allow us to gauge if the step was too big and needs to be walked back, or if it was a successful and we can move more forward.
Monitoring and testing will likely be increased as we move more towards normal. Spikes of the disease should be avoided. It is important to realize that people WILL continue to be exposed to the virus and some will get the disease. A few new positive cases scattered around town is NOT a spike and should be expected. A few positive cases all coming from the same store, or restaurant, or park needs to be investigated and steps taken to lessen the chance of spread from a particular “hot spot”. Please take advantage of whatever testing is available to you, and please be as forthcoming as possible if you are questioned by a health care provider or official that is conducting contact tracing.
Please respect others in the community. Although you may feel “safe” as things reopen, not everyone will. Please be mindful of others in following the recommendations imposed. Likewise, if more and more things begin to reopen and you do not feel comfortable, please continue to self-isolate until you feel safe.
One of the things that everyone needs to be aware of and correct immediately is with regards to motor vehicle operation. The last month or so has seen very little automobile traffic and there have been some who have taken advantage. Please operate your vehicle at a safe speed. Please be aware of others on the road, as there will surely be increased traffic as we return to normal. Our Police Department has already seen a sharp rise in motor vehicle accidents this past week and have determined that many were due to excessive speed.
Please reach out to your elected officials to let them know what you expect as we move forward. This is truly the best way to let them know they are doing the right thing, or to use your voice to express your difference of opinion. This goes for myself and the town council as much as it does for our state and federally elected officials.
Lastly, good news continues on the amount of cases in town. It has now been 10 days that we have had only single digit new cases each day. We have averaged only about 3 new cases a day over that time and half of those continue to be from the long-term care facilities. Once again, these numbers are provided to let you know that what we have been doing is working, and not in any way saying to stop. Please continue to be vigilant in following the recommendations in place now and the additional ones we hope will help us get back to normal.
Mayor David Runfeldt