Essex County Update on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Essex County Update on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Freeholder President Brendan Gill and Vice President Wayne Richardson announced that Essex County is taking precautions to help stop the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The measures listed below are meant to promote social distancing and help prevent the spread of the virus through public contact.

“The coronavirus is a real and imminent threat to the public health of not only our county but of our country. We are taking all steps necessary to help prevent the spread of this virus; one of these actions is limiting places the public can congregate and promoting social distancing. These actions are not taken lightly and are done after consultation with the Essex County Public Health Officer and following guidelines from the NJ Department of Health and CDC,” DiVincenzo said. “We all must be aware that our individual actions can have a tremendous impact on how fast the coronavirus is spread and we must all do our part. Please realize we are taking these steps in an abundance of caution,” he said.


Essex County Hall of Records Access


Beginning Monday, March 23rd, anyone coming to the Essex County Government Complex in Newark will have to access the Hall of Records, Veterans Courthouse and Historic Courthouse through the Veterans Courthouse. Please enter and exit through the Essex County Veterans Courthouse via the Rosa Parks Plaza, the Congressman Donald M. Payne Plaza or the Governor Brendan Byrne Plaza (Juror Parking Lot area). The Essex County LeRoy F. Smith, Jr. Public Safety Building will remain open.


County-wide Cleaning Enhanced


  • Additional procedures have been implemented at all county facilities and buildings to enhance the cleaning and sanitizing of offices and areas where the public gathers, such as waiting rooms.


Commissioner of Registration/Superintendent of Elections


Commissioner of Registration/Superintendent of Elections Edna Baugh has announced:

  • Requests for voter history CDs may be made by email to and an electronic response will be sent to the requestor.
  • Voter registration and party affiliation forms are available from the State website at Completed forms with original signature must be mailed to the office.
  • In-person return of all completed forms will only be accepted in Room 429.
  • Blank forms frequently requested by the public will be made available at a table located outside of Room 417A.


Correctional Facility


  • The visitation schedule at the Essex County Correctional Facility has been modified.
  • Additional measures to medically screen detainees entering and being released from the ECCF have been implemented.
  • Face-to-face attorney visits have been suspended.
  • Effective Monday, March 23, to protect the inmate/detainee population and the staff of the Essex County Correctional Facility, the Family and Friend Visitation Program is suspended until further notice.


County Clerk


Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin has announced:

  • In coordination with the Essex County Surrogate and Essex County Register, vault hours have been suspended.
  • All non-essential services, including the issuance of passports, IDs, notary publics and walk in services has been suspended.


Family Assistance and Benefits


  • County residents who want to apply for SNAP food assistance or cash assistance under the Work First New Jersey program are encouraged to do so online at Interviews will be done by phone, so you do not need to come into the office to apply for benefits.
  • Work First New Jersey cash assistance clients who are due for their case to be reviewed in March or April automatically will get a 60-day extension. You do not need to come into the office.
  • Attention SNAP recipients: If your case is due to be recertified in March or April and you were unable to get your paperwork in or complete your interview, your case will not be closed. You will receive your benefits on the usual day. Your case will be recertified at some point in the future, once this public health crisis has settled. In the meantime, you will continue to receive SNAP benefits.
  • If you are a SNAP food assistance or a Work First New Jersey cash assistance client, you are not required to attend your work activity unless you want to and the program is operating. This includes people who are applying for Work First New Jersey General Assistance and are in a work activity for 28 days while their application is being reviewed. No penalty will be assessed to you if you do not attend your work activity.
  • Please call our call center at 973-395-8000 to schedule a telephone interview.
  • When you need to bring paperwork to the office, you can fax, mail or look for the drop box located at 18 Rector Street, Newark, NJ 07102 or 50 South Clinton Street East Orange, NJ 07018


Hospital Center


  • The visitation schedule and outside passes for patients at the Essex County Hospital Center have been suspended.


Juvenile Detention Center


  • Visitation at the Juvenile Detention Center has been suspended.


Parks Department


  • All County parks and parks facilities, athletic fields, playgrounds, golf courses, Turtle Back Zoo, Codey Arena, Environmental Center and Riker Hill Art Park are CLOSED at least until Friday, March 27th.
  • No new permits will be issued.
  • Census Day at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo on Saturday, March 28th and Sunday, March 29th
  • The Cherry Blossom Bike Races in Branch Brook Park on Sunday, April 4 and the Cherry Blossom 10K Race in Essex County Branch Brook Park on Sunday, April 5th have been postponed.
  • The National Association for Olmsted Parks’ annual convention, organized in partnership with the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, scheduled for April 23 to 25 has been cancelled.
  • The Essex County Special Olympics Spring Track and Field Competition in Brookdale Park on May 6th has been cancelled.


Register of Deeds and Mortgages


Register Juan Rivera has announced:

  • Any non-essential walk-in and counter services at our window and vault access to the public is suspended until further notice. Members of the public who would otherwise walk-in hard copy documents for recording will now have to mail them in.  Likewise, members of the public who want to look up deeds and mortgages dating from May 2001 will need to do so online.
  • In coordination with the Essex County Surrogate and Essex County Clerk, vault hours have been suspended.


Schools of Technology


  • Donald M. Payne School of Technology, Newark Tech and West Caldwell Tech have shifted to on-line instruction at least until Friday, March 27th.
  • All students who receive free and reduced price breakfast and lunch will receive a food package every day that can be picked up at Payne Tech in Newark. Students must display their school IDs to receive their meals. Students who come to the school by car should come to the 11th Street entrance. Students who walk to the school should come to the West Market Street entrance. The daily meal pickup schedule is as follows:

Freshmen:  9:00 am

Sophomores: 10:00 am

Juniors:  11:00 am

Seniors: 12:00 noon

  • For more information, visit the Essex County Schools of Technology website at or call 973-412-2050.


Senior Services


  • Additional procedures have been implemented to clean and sanitize the vehicles that are part of the Essex County Special Transportation program and partnerships have been created with companies like Uber and Lyft to provide additional transportation options if it becomes necessary.
  • The Special Transportation System is giving priority rides to take residents to medical appointments, such as chemotherapy, radiation and dialysis. Transportation trips to supermarkets are available on a limited basis.
  • The congregate meal program offered by the Division of Senior Services as part of the Senior Café in the Park program and at other locations throughout the County have been suspended. Instead, seniors served at these sites are not receiving home delivered meals.


Sheriff’s Office


Sheriff Armando Fontoura has announced:

  • Foreclosures, evictions and sheriff’s sales will be suspended for the next two weeks.


Surrogate’s Office


Essex County Surrogate Alturrick Kenny has announced:

  • In collaboration with the Essex County Clerk and Essex County Register, vault hours have been suspended.
  • The Surrogate’s Vault will be closed to the general public until further notice. We will continue to provide the public with full access to staff for search services by mail.
  • All outreach services are suspended until further notice.
  • Walk-in hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Any probate related issues after 1 p.m. must be scheduled by appointment.




Essex County Board of Taxation Administrator Joan Durkin announced:

  • The deadline for Tax Appeals has been extended for all municipalities to May 1, 2020, as per the NJ Supreme Court or 30 days following a determination by the Governor that the State of Emergency declared has ended.
  • All appeals should be MAILED to The Essex County Tax Board at 50 South Clinton St., Suite 5200, East Orange, NJ 07018.
  • There is a locked drop box in the lobby by the Security desk for the public who visit the building. However, it is strongly recommended to mail tax appeals.
  • The office is closed to the public, however, staff is working on a modified schedule of 8:30 am to 3:00 pm to answer any questions by phone at 973-395-8525.
  • The website is


Training and Employment


  • The WAVE, Night Owl and Job Access Reverse Community transportation programs are being suspended.
  • One Stop Centers have been closed to the public.
  • The NJ Unemployment Office at 50 South Clinton Street in East Orange has suspended in-person unemployment insurance services. Residents who need to file a claim can visit or call 201-601-4100 in North Jersey.
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