Bergen County Executive James Tedesco called a press conference Friday evening to announce a supplemental executive order (PDF below) to enact further restrictions on public gatherings in accordance with CDC social distancing guidelines.
He also announced the following municipalities with presumed positive cases of COVID-19.
- 3 in Englewood
- 1 in Fort Lee
- 1 in Garfield
- 1 in Bergenfield
- 3 in Fair Lawn
- 8 in Teaneck
- 1 in Dumont
- 1 in Little Ferry, where the first fatality was from.
“That’s an increase of 6 from the 13 we had yesterday,” Tedesco said. “We have the most in the state of New Jersey. As these numbers continue to increase, that’s why I’m taking the steps I’m about to announce.”
He mentioned that yesterday he ordered the closing of 75 public school districts to transition to distance learning, saying it was “not a decision I took lightly but during a public health emergency it is important we take every action necessary to protect our families and our children. We have also suspended training at our law and public safety institute and been in communication with all the CEOs of the hospitals in Bergen county including St. Joseph’s in Paterson and Good Samaritan in Suffern, NY.”
Among the points of the executive order were the closures of movie cinemas, performance halls, and theaters with fixed seating. Additionally, gatherings of 250 or more were prohibited.
On Monday, county employees over 60 and those with “an underlying condition that makes them vulnerable to COVID 19 per the CDC guidelines” will be permitted to stay home.
“Employees will be permitted authorized absence with remote work opportunities due to closures of a preschool program, elementary or secondary school, or childcare center resulting from COVID 19,” Tedesco said. “I would like to thank those in the business community who have responded responsibly in the face of this ever evolving situation.”
Tedesco also thanked the Grimasian family. “They let me know that they made a difficult but responsible decision but a responsible decision in the name of public safety and to protect their patrons, staff, and community. While in the midst of their staged grand opening, American Dream has delayed the opening of their water park and will suspend operations Sunday. Their action and decision… are being done to stop the spread of this virus and help people around the state. Their commitment to public safety should be universally commended and I want to personally thank the Grimasian family for their decision to close their facility.”
“All local mayors, governing bodies, and authorities in Bergen County shall immediately enforce the previously stated closures,” Tedesco said.The county executive urged workplaces to “implement and observe CDC workplace social distancing measures, such as replacing in-person meetings with teleworking, and modifying, postponing, or canceling mass gatherings.” He went further, saying, “I recommend that all places of public accommodation record name, address, phone, or other appropriate contact information of all employees, patrons, visitors, vendors, or any other persons within their facilities should health officials in the event of contact tracing activities become necessary in connection with their operations.”
Activities in county parks and permits and applications in process were postponed until further notice. Likewise, the zoo will be closed except for care of the animals and site maintenance.
“I am directing the County CFO to work with the Bergen County Improvement Authority to offer emergency assistance including other public agencies to address the address the financial volatility or liquidity issues resulting from the financial implications of COVID 19 health emergency to ensure debt service obligations and adequate cashflow are maintained,” Tedesco said.
“Finally, in accordance with the Division of Local Government Services Guidelines and the Public Meeting Act, public meetings may be held in person or by means of communication equipment to include streaming services and other online meeting platforms. Local units should also provide guidance to the public for remotely accessing and providing comment at public meetings.”
The order will take effect “immediately” and remain in effect until it is determined by the county executive “that an emergency no longer exists.”
“This situation is constantly evolving, and as a county we must adapt to best combat the spread of COVID 19,” Tedesco said. “As county executive, I will continue to act in the best interests of the public health. I will continue to save lives by enacting legislation to prohibit and limit the spread of COVID 19.”
Tedesco on Thursday announced the closure of schools in the county.