Bayonne City Hall is currently closed to the public, except by appointment. That has some residents frustrated.
“I want to be able to enter City Hall to pay my taxes,” one resident wrote in all caps in an email to the Bayonne Community News. While taxes can be paid at a drop box inside the front doors of City Hall, some long for the old way of doing things.
The building closed to the public in March of 2020 at the onset of COVID-19. City employees returned from working remotely around September of 2020.
City Hall eventually reopened to the public by appointment only, meaning residents still cannot walk into the building unannounced. The continued restricted access aims to limit the spread of the virulent Delta Variant.
But some residents are not amused.
“There were banners on Broadway a few months ago stating ‘Bayonne is back,’ … not City Hall. Businesses, banks and schools are open, why not City Hall?,” the resident wrote.
With the recent rise of COVID-19 cases, other residents wonder if City Hall and other buildings will close entirely.
“I’m not going to speculate on the future,” said Public Information Officer Joe Ryan. “The coronavirus situation has had its ups and downs, so it would be inappropriate to speculate.”
The city is reviewing the data when it comes to a municipal vaccine mandate in the wake of Hoboken’s.
“We are in the midst of analyzing the latest data from state and federal agencies,” Ryan said. “After completing the analysis, the City Administration will make decisions about the appropriate course of action.”
But Bayonne now mandates all occupants of City Hall wear masks again.
“We’ve taken the step of requiring all employees to be masked while indoors,” Ryan said.
Protocols and protections
The City Hall mask mandate applies to members of the public, who may enter on appointment or for any meetings in the council chambers. Other COVID-19 protocols include temperature checks at the entrance and the completion of a COVID-19 certification form.
Municipal services at City Hall remain available to residents and members of the public by appointment only. Some common forms are available in the building’s entryway.
Residents can schedule appointments by phone or email. A directory of phone numbers is at bayonnenj.org.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.