As the COVID-19 pandemic worsened this spring, Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the closure of nonessential businesses to limit the spread of the virus.
Only essential businesses are allowed to operate, and only under certain rules. Restaurants are open for takeout and delivery only. Occupancy is limited in establishments still open to the public.
But some businesses are not adhering to the guidelines, so North Bergen officials are now taking steps to enforce social-distancing regulations.
The North Bergen Police Department and Health Department will conduct inspections to ensure compliance and will issue summonses to non-compliant businesses.
Township officials have released a list of COVID-19 social-distancing regulations for local businesses. Officials are calling on business owners and managers to observe these rules. The directives mirror the executive order signed by Gov. Murphy.
Mayor Nicholas Sacco said it’s important that all residents do their part by making sure local businesses follow the rules.
“The essential businesses that have remained open during this crisis must take steps to ensure that their employees and customers are safe, and we will take action if necessary to make sure that they do,” Sacco said. “This is a situation where lives are at stake, and we will take these directives very seriously in order to keep our residents safe.”
Occupancy must be limited to 50 percent of the stated maximum store capacity. Hours of operation must be established exclusively for senior citizens and high-risk individuals wherever possible.
Physical barriers are required between customers and cashiers, or six feet of distance between those individuals. Six feet of spacing must be marked in checkout lines.
Workers and customers are required to wear cloth face coverings while on the premises, except where doing so would inhibit an individual’s health or where the customer is accompanied by a child under two years of age. Workers are required to wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods. Businesses must provide, at their expense, face coverings and gloves for their employees.
Residents are encouraged to speak up if they witness a business violating the regulations. To report violations, residents can call the North Bergen Police Department at 201-392-2100.
The NBPD released a message of gratitude and hope on social media to residents who are abiding by the social-distancing measures.
“COVID-19 has altered our way of life, and we want to thank the residents of North Bergen for adjusting to it,” the NBPD wrote. “In order to flatten the curve, please continue practicing social distancing and travel only when necessary.”
Residents are encouraged to follow the township’s social media pages, which are available in both English and Spanish and are updated multiple times per day, as well as the township’s website at northbergen.org.
For more information, residents can call the NJ COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or visit covid19.nj.gov.
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.