As the COVID-19 pandemic rages, local communities have been inventing new ways to honor first responders who are fighting on the frontlines of the virus.
One way of celebrating front line workers has become somewhat prominent in New Jersey, having occurred at the least twice in Hudson County. In North Bergen, this was exactly the case.
Gov. Phil Murphy and Mayor Nicholas Sacco had previously honored some healthcare workers at Palisades Medical Center for their outstanding work during the pandemic on Twitter. Now, Mayor Nicholas Sacco has taken the celebration to the hospital.
A parade took place on April 14 around the hospital on River Road in North Bergen, paying tribute to the men and women working tirelessly and risking their lives daily to tend to the sick and battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vehicles from the North Bergen Police Department and North Bergen Emergency Medical Services paraded along with North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue and other local police departments to honor the “hospital heroes.”
The celebration was mutual, in fact, as hospital workers and staff stood outside waving and holding signs expressing their thanks to the first responders.
In addition, Mayor Sacco joined with state Assembly members Angelica Jimenez and Pedro Mejia to send hundreds of lunches to the hospital for the healthcare workers.
“We are thankful for everyone working on the front line, and this is a small gesture of appreciation,” said Mayor Sacco.
Video of the event shows crowded streets which appear to be counter-productive to Gov. Murphy’s social distancing directives. In the past, Murphy has even specifically cautioned against such drive-by parades, which usual don’t amass crowds on the sidewalk.
However, this was a unusual instance where the recipients of the drive-by parade came outside to show their support for those supporting them.
In the wake of the video, Gov. Murphy’s comments on drive-by parades become more relevant. Gov. Murphy said residents have got to be very careful in regards to drive-by parades.
“I think they’re incredibly emotional. And it allows folks to express their appreciation or acknowledgement in the case of someone who’s passed,” Murphy continued. “I don’t think there’s one quick answer on that. But I think we’ve have to be very careful because we want people to stay at home.”
According to Gov. Murphy, even if you’re in a car by yourself, you are going out. Murphy thinks residents need to hold drive-by parades in moderation.
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.