Below is an update from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla for Hoboken residents:
Among the things I am grateful for are the many educators and teachers from all Hoboken schools who are working around the clock in what is likely the most difficult year they have ever had. Developing and executing remote learning programs for an indefinite period of time cannot be easy, and I know there have been challenges. So, here’s a big shout out to all the teachers out there – thank you! Your dedication to providing a quality education to our children and your students without seeing them in person is admirable, and I know my children are grateful as well.
26 new positive COVID-19 cases and reminder on Riverside Medical
As mentioned in previous communication, thanks to our acquisition of additional tests and partnership with Riverside Medical, residents with symptoms can now receive COVID-19 tests, free of charge if the cost of the test is not covered with insurance. When calling to book an appointment, you should always use the 201-420-5621 number answered by our Community Emergency Response team, and not the Riverside Medical general numbers. If you are provided an appointment time, you do not need to call to confirm. As a reminder, you also do not need to switch your primary care to Riverside to be eligible for this service.
Today, there were 26 positive COVID-19 cases, with 225 total cases in Hoboken. I’m saddened to report that another Hoboken senior in his early 70s unfortunately passed away due to COVID-19. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family during this difficult time.
Face cover requirement for employees and customers in all essential businesses
I’m glad to see more Hoboken residents and employees are starting to wear face covers outdoors and within our businesses. Normally, for new regulations like this (think our plastic bag ban) we leave time a lengthy amount of time for implementation so our businesses and customers can adapt. However, given the rapidly changing information and direct impact of regulations and decisions we are making every day, we felt it best on Saturday night to make our face cover regulation effective the very next day. The more people that begin wearing face covers immediately, the better.
Understandably, not every employee of every business got the memo, and we are spending time this week working with our supermarkets, restaurants and more to ensure compliance with this new regulation. For example, I spoke yesterday to the store manager from ShopRite, which requested 60 face covers to help their employees, which we are assisting with. I’m confident that in the next several days, the majority of our essential businesses will comply, and I’m asking all residents to adhere to this new regulation as well. I know that with as many people as possible using face covers, we will be saving lives within Hoboken. In addition, if you are an essential employee and utilizing NJ Transit buses, NJ Transit now is asking all riders to utilize face covers.
To help donate face covers or masks, we would appreciate any assistance. Please drop them off at City Hall (enter on the Newark Street side) or call 201-420-5620 – thank you to everyone who has already done so.
Way of Avoiding Unnecessary Pedestrian Contact – Stay to the Right
When out walking, consider doing so on the right side of the road in the direction you are heading. That means if you are heading north, walk on the east side of the street, and if south, the west (and if eastbound, walk on the south side, and if westbound, walk on the north side). If the majority of pedestrians choose to do this, each side will be predominantly heading in the same direction, and consequently there will be reduced pedestrian traffic coming toward you while you walk that would otherwise cause difficulty with social distancing.
Honest conversation about being outside and on our waterfront
The next week, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, could be like a “Pearl Harbor” and “9/11” moment. Governor Murphy stated today that we have approximately a week and a half before we hit the peak of the pandemic in New Jersey. For the next two weeks, I’m directly asking each and every resident to curtail outdoor activities to the greatest extent possible. That means if you’re normally jogging, biking, doing yoga, lifting weights, going for long walks, or more outside, I ask you to exercise inside for the next two weeks. And if you’re going out for fresh air for 5-10 minutes, I’m also making the direct ask to please do so away from the waterfront. Personally, I love going out with my two kids and riding our bikes on the waterfront, but my family has decided to forgo this activity for the foreseeable future. I ask all residents to respectfully come to this same decision as well. In addition, to reduce traffic on our waterfront, Jersey Bike has moved all of the bike share stations at Pier A, Pier C, and Maxwell Park.
I know that taking a more cautious approach is not easy, but think about it: here in Hoboken, we have New York City directly to our east, Jersey City directly to our south, and Bergen County directly to our northwest. From a geographic standpoint, we are literally sandwiched in between three of the country’s highest rates of positive cases per capita. We cannot ignore this fact and must act accordingly. I can assure everyone that putting springtime outdoor workouts on hold for two weeks is well worth it so we can save lives and get back to normal more quickly. As a City, rest assured we’ll help make up for it by adding even more fitness in the park classes later this summer. Or, there are so many terrific gym options right now that will give you an even better workout virtually, all while supporting our local gym owners.
We will beat this deadly virus together, but only if all of us stay indoors as much as possible.
Additional April blood drive
To help with the national blood shortage, we are hosting an additional blood drive in Hoboken on April 17 from 12 -6 pm (we had one advertised on April 24 but was quickly filled). The blood drive has strict social distancing requirements and is by appointment only. To donate blood, click the following link: https://donor.cbsblood.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/52434
Thank you – stay safe and be well.
Ravi S. Bhalla