Message from Mayor Bhalla:
Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, our City government continues to operate as a resource for residents. It’s not exactly business as usual, but I want to take a minute to give my sincere thanks to all our city staff who continue to work hard and keep services available for Hoboken. Many of our essential employees are working tirelessly to help flatten the curve in a variety of ways, especially our Health Department, Environmental Services, Parking Utility, Construction Code, and Community Development. I want to thank each and every City worker who has put in the extra hours to help our residents. We are grateful for your service to Hoboken.
16 new confirmed COVID-19 cases today
The Hoboken Health Department reported 16 new confirmed COVID-19 cases today, our highest single day total yet, for a total of 56 confirmed cases. A Hoboken police officer also tested positive today, however the officer has not worked on duty in Hoboken since March 7 and has had no contact with Hoboken police officers since March 11. As mentioned yesterday, the total numbers likely continue to grow as more test results come in. We wish everyone who tested positive a safe and speedy recovery.
Staying indoors is the best option
As Hoboken’s COVID-19 cases rise and we approach the apex, it’s more important now, than ever before to stay indoors and self-isolate. The good news is that we were proactive in our approach by preventing gatherings in bars, restaurants, and more, and introducing self-isolation at an early stage. But, we can’t backtrack on this progress by spending more time than we need to outdoors even if the weather is getting warmer. It’s better to be safe than sorry – treat anyone you come into contact with outdoors as potentially having COVID-19, and sanitize after touching any type of surface outside the home including doorknobs, railings, car doors, etc.
More medical resources for Hoboken University Medical Center
Today, I joined Council President Jen Giattino and officials from Carepoint to make an urgent plea to the federal government to secure additional resources for our local hospital. According to hospital officials, the hospital is projected to run out of personal protective equipment (PPE) including N95 masks, surgical masks, gowns, gloves, and more in less than six days.
I’m grateful to the efforts of our federal and state leaders, especially Governor Murphy, Senator Menendez, Senator Booker and Congressman Sires for their work on the stimulus bill that recently passed the Senate, which could soon unlock resources. Our plea today was for Hoboken’s hospital to receive its fair share, where lives are on the lines and decisions are being made based on the equipment in stock.
With Carepoint near capacity and resources running short, I continue to ask residents to only utilize our hospital’s emergency room if it is a true emergency. If you have PPE to donate, please be sure to email Sgt. Montanez, the head of Hoboken’s Office of Emergency Management at Montanezw@hobokenpd.org
You can read more about our advocacy efforts for Hoboken University Medical Center today by clicking here.
Continuation of current rules
All current closures, regulations and rules, including street sweeping, will be suspended through at least through April 3.
Schools likely closed until at least April 17
On social media today, Governor Murphy today informed the public that he will likely keep schools closed through at least April 17.
Relief efforts for Hoboken small businesses
In times of crisis, one thing is for certain – Hoboken knows how to come together and support one another. I’m glad to announce that a larger relief effort is underway to fundraise specifically for our Hoboken small businesses. We’ll be coordinating virtual events, music, and other forms of entertainment to raise funds for our hardest hit businesses, and I’m proud that Councilmember Phil Cohen and Council President Giattino have agreed to be co-chairs of the effort. I thank them for lending their time for this project. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days and weeks.
Hoboken Business Alliance’s new website
Today, Hoboken’s first ever Special Improvement District, the Hoboken Business Alliance launched their website: http://hobokenalliance.com. This website provides up to date information on some important resources for small businesses at both the state and federal level. Thank you to all of the board members for putting this together.
NJEDA economic relief package
Governor Murphy also announced a new economic relief package for small businesses and workers facing hardship due to COVID-19, through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. This includes:
- Small business emergency assistance grant program
- Small business emergency assistance loan program
- Programs to mobilize capital to micro, small and medium sized businesses
- NJ entrepreneur support program
- Credit flexibilityMore information can be found at http://cv.business.nj.gov.
Stimulus package includes small business relief
The $2 trillion stimulus package that passed through the U.S. Senate on Wednesday and for now under consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives and President Trump includes relief for small businesses. This includes emergency grant funding, opportunities to obtain loans (some of which could be forgiven for small businesses that continue paying employees), and payroll tax-credits for businesses that keep workers employed. Along with our federal elected officials, we’ll be providing more information on these opportunities as we receive it.
Ravi S. Bhalla