Weeks ago, Gov. Phil Murphy ordered a stay-at-home directive to all New Jersey residents to combat the spread of COVID-19. The order prohibits gatherings of individuals in public or private with 10 people or more. This includes parties, celebrations, or other social events including, parents take note, play dates for the kids.
“You should not be having any social gatherings of any kind,” Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner advised. “This disease is serious, and everyone should be self-isolating as much as possible. Any social gathering will spread the disease.”
Turner has declared a State of Emergency and instituted a curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. As of April 9, Lincoln Harbor Park will to be closed to the public.
Reservoir Park is partially restricted, allowing only walking now. Jogging is no longer permitted in the park to ensure that park-goers are social distancing properly.
Despite these restrictions put into place by state and local officials, residents have been disobeying the stay-at-home order.
Some Weehawken residents, in disobeying that directive, are putting their children at risk.
“Parents, we are getting reports that many of you understandably are setting up play dates with other children either in people’s homes or in public spaces,” Turner said. “This should stop immediately. You may be putting your children and families in danger.”
Turner acknowledged reports saying children may be the least affected by this disease, but noted that some children and their parents may be infected even though they may not have symptoms.
“As the weather gets nicer, the temptation will be greater, and we must all be vigilant in preventing this from happening,” Turner said. “We must all practice social distancing.”
Sidewalks still open
While play dates may be prohibited, and the stay-at-home order in place, residents can still go outside and are still allowed on public walkways and sidewalks.
Passive areas such as sidewalks and walkways are not closed under the State of Emergency. Even after the curfew begins in Weehawken at 10 p.m., it is not illegal to be on the street.
Turner said that the police will be notifying people on the public walkways after the curfew that they should go home.
There are some exceptions. If residents are walking dogs, they can be out for a limited time. Outside of curfew hours, the township refers to federal guidelines prohibiting the gathering of 10 or more people.
According to Turner, these limitations are subject to change at any hour during the crisis, and residents will be alerted by the township if any changes occur.
Residents are advised to continue social distancing at all times, remaining approximately six feet apart.
In Weehawken, 108 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 108, 69 are still sick, while 36 have recovered and been cleared per CDC protocols.
Three residents have died as a result of the virus, including Finance Director and Board of Education President Richard Barsa.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.