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Hoboken creates local economic recovery task force

In approximately two weeks, a newly-formed economic recovery task force will present the City of Hoboken and Mayor Ravi Bhalla with an initial set of recommendations and suggested best practices for local businesses.

This is intended to help prepare the city to reopen businesses safely after they were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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As of May 12, Hoboken had 540 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the city reported its 26th fatality, a man in his early 80s who died in mid April, which was recently reported by the hospital where he was treated.

Bhalla signed an executive order on May 13 establishing the Hoboken economic recovery task force to provide assistance to the city and the business community during the ongoing pandemic.

The task force, consisting of leaders in various local industries, will provide recommendations on advancing a gradual reopening that is safe for employees, customers, and the city, according to a press release.

While the state of New Jersey will determine the regulations and timelines of an eventual reopening, the city and newly established task force will create advisory guidelines on a local level.

“As Hoboken prepares for a gradual reopening as determined by the state, we must ensure that it is done so in the safest manner possible for both our residents and small businesses,” Bhalla said.

“The task force we established today will be asked to share recommendations to the city and our businesses that prioritize the health and safety of our community. I’m greatly appreciative to the task force members for this collaborative approach, and thank them for providing this service to our city.”

Business owners are onboard 

The task force will be co-chaired by Grace Sciancalepore, owner of Leo’s Grandevous, and Anthony Pino, owner of Anthony David’s and Bin 14.

“We are glad to help with an economic recovery in our Mile Square,” said the task force co-chairs. “As owners of small businesses, we know firsthand how challenging it has been during COVID. We want to provide our support to the city as we plan for ways to keep everyone safe when supporting the many terrific local businesses, and look forward to working with the task force members.”

Director of Health and Human Services Leo Pellegrini and the city’s Director of Environmental Services Jennifer Gonzalez will serve as city representatives on the task force.

The task force includes local representatives from different industries.

Restaurant representatives on the task force include Dave Jacey of Blackbear, Mario Stretti of 10th and Willow, Nick DePalma of Leo’s Grandevous, and Dino Panopoulos of Dino and Harry’s.

Dona Garban of Little City Books and Meghan Lavelle of Washington General will represent the local retail industry, while Laurie Michelson of Hair Cult will represent the personal grooming businesses.

Café businesses are represented by Tat Mori-Ryan of BweKafe. The fitness industry is represented by Jon Bevacqua of Crossfit Hoboken, and the art businesses are represented by Ricardo Roig of Roig Collection.

Preston Junger of the Hoboken Hospitality Association represents the technology industry, and the city’s new Special Improvement District is represented by Stuart Koperweis and Greg Dell’Aquila.

For updates on this and other stories check and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at


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