Testing the workforce

Hoboken expands testing eligibility to small business employees

Employees of local Hoboken businesses will now be eligible for rapid COVID-19 testing through the Riverside testing location, according to Mayor Ravi Bhalla and Council President Jen Giattino.

“Hoboken is committed to providing businesses with the tools they need to safely reopen,” Bhalla said. “Access to COVID-19 testing for employees is a critical component of restoring confidence to customers and lending a helping hand to our small businesses during this pandemic. I’m thrilled our partnership with Riverside continues to provide a major benefit for our City and thank Dr. Brahmbhatt and his staff for the continued support, and to members of the Hoboken Economic Recovery Task Force for providing this excellent suggestion.”

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Schedule a test

To register for a COVID-19 test, the Hoboken business owner or employee must call the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) hotline in Hoboken City Hall at 201-420-5621, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Business owners can also call the hotline and provide a list of employees.

Once an appointment is scheduled, employees can walk or drive to the testing site at the designated time. Walk-ins are not permitted.

Proof of employment at a Hoboken business, such as a copy of a paycheck, tax form, or signed letter from the owner of a business is required at the time of testing.

If an employee does not have health insurance, the city will pay for the test. Employees of Hoboken businesses do not need to have COVID-19 symptoms to receive a test.

“Our small businesses are what make Hoboken a special place, and I am happy to support this initiative to expand testing to all of our hardworking employees,” said Giattino. “When Hoboken reopens, we are making sure our businesses can do so with as many safety precautions as possible. We appreciate the services provided by Riverside Medical and are glad for the help for our mom and pop stores.”

“We plan to do everything we can to keep our staff and our customers safe once we reopen,” said Meghan Lukin, owner of Washington General, and member of the Hoboken Economic Recovery Task Force. “The option for testing adds another layer of comfort as we get back to business in this new norm. We’re thankful for the support of the City, as we know the retail community is about to embark on a whole new set of challenges in the reopening phase.”

As of May 26, CERT had received more than 40 calls from local small business employees to sign up and be tested.

Riverside Medical has provided COVID-19 testing to more than 2,000 Hoboken residents since early April. COVID-19 testing is available to all Hoboken residents with or without symptoms, with results provided within 15 minutes onsite.

The Hoboken Health Department reported three new cases of COVID-19 in Hoboken on Friday, one on Saturday, and none on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, although the Riverside testing site was closed on Sunday and Monday. The total number of known, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hoboken since March is 567. There have been 29 COVID-19-related fatalities.

“We at Riverside Medical Group understand that COVID-19 testing plays an integral part in reopening our cities and towns as safely as we can along with following other safety precautions and continued social distancing,” said Dr. Gaurang Brahmbhatt from Riverside Medical Group. “With the ongoing support of the Mayor and the City of Hoboken, Riverside will continue offering testing to residents and business owners as we work together to reopen as well as fight this pandemic.”

Preparing to reopen 

Last week, Bhalla and the Hoboken City Council introduced a business recovery plan that would allow businesses to use streets and sidewalks to increase their outdoor capacity. The city predicts indoor capacity restrictions will be implemented by the state in the coming weeks as businesses begin to reopen.

The plan permits businesses to expand outdoor space on the sidewalk, create shared spaces, and creates a framework for businesses to operate further into the street during scheduled road closures.

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 Hoboken prepares for an eventual reopening, the exact timeline and guidelines will be provided by Gov. Murphy and the State of New Jersey.

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



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