From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey
June 3, 2020
Statewide, there have now been 162,068 positive tests for the COVID-19 virus, which is an increase 1,623 since Monday. That lowers the statewide positive test rate to 19.4%. An additional 182 people passed, bringing the total to 11,880.
In Gloucester County, we had 26 more positive tests registered in the last two days, bringing that total to 2,272. There has now been a total of 12,218 negative test results, lowering our countywide positive test rate to 15.7%. One additional county resident passed away since Monday, bringing that total to 149.
There was no change in Harrison since Monday. We remain at a total of 57 positive tests since the outbreak began, with 1 death.
GLOUCESTER COUNTY TESTING
Another Reminder: Going forward, all Gloucester County residents can call to schedule a COVID-19 or Antibody Test with no pre-requisites. To schedule a test, please call the COVID-19 Hotline 856-218-4142 between 9:00AM and 4:00PM, Monday thru Friday and specify which test you are seeking. You must have an appointment to be administered either test. Keep in mind that when registering for the Antibody Test, you are asked for your Health Insurance information. Therefore, based on your coverage, you may incur a cost.
TOP HUNTERS IN THE HILL
As I stated previously, a tremendous turnout last weekend for “The Hunt is on in the Hill.” There were over 400 participants, but one team truly stood out and took the adventure to the highest level. Team Mullica Hill Cousins Crew completed all of the activities and found all items required while documented the whole thing in this amazing VIDEO. All that effort was rewarded with a special gift basket put together by The Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club. Thank you to everyone involved in putting the program together and all of the participants. Maybe we should do is again next year?
MORE RESTRICTION EASEMENTS
As you probably know, the Governor recently announced additional easements in the restrictions imposed through various Executive Orders issued in connection with the Coronavirus. We will officially move to Stage 2 of The Road Back plan on June 15th. This will include Limited in-person Retail and Limited Personal Care (ie Barbers and Hair Salons, etc) on June 22nd. As these restrictions from Trenton are eased, we then have the authority to take action locally, as it would apply. Executive Order No. 149 suspends the prohibition on individuals engaging in organized sporting activities, provided that activities remain outdoors and are non-contact effective on June 22nd.
This will apply to our youth sports groups considered non-contact, like baseball/softball, tennis, girls lacrosse and field hockey. The Commissioner of the Department of Health (DOH) will impose health and safety standards regarding sporting activities before the June 22 date, and the activities must comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and Executive Orders, including restrictions on gatherings in place at the time the sporting activities occur. So, we await that definition from the DOH.
Accordingly, we intend to re-open our fields in Ella Harris and William Wilt Parks on June 22nd for these limited uses. We will provide further clarification before that date concerning the Restrooms at the park locations. The Governor’s Order does not lift the restrictions on the playground areas and basketball courts. They will remain in effect until further notice.
Restrictions are also being eased pertaining to restaurants. Beginning June 15th, eateries will be permitted to serve customers onsite at outdoor seating only. Indoor dining will remain off limits for the time being. Though the Governor’s Order will now permit outside service, not all restaurants have that capability nor the local zoning approval to do so.
With knowledge of this action being considered in Trenton and with a commitment to doing whatever we can to assist our local businesses, we took action a couple weeks ago. We tasked our Solicitor with determining how we could permit our local eateries to take advantage of the restriction easement, even if they did not already have outside seating as part of their existing business plan approval?
After, overcoming several hurdles, a path to our objective was found. Therefore, at our Township Committee Meeting this past Monday night, we unanimously voted to approve a process for any local eatery to utilize portions of their parking lots or other common areas for outside seating on a temporary basis. That capability is in effect now, making it convenient for a local business to take the required steps in preparation for the June 15th launch date specified by the Governor.
We have streamlined the process and eliminated any fees. The business owner simply needs to complete a newly created application and provide certain details on their intention, while adhering to a few safety guidelines on positioning and insurance coverages, etc. The Temporary Use Permit Application can be found on the Zoning Department page on the township website.
We are proud to stand with our local business owners as the restrictions are rolled back and our economy is re-opened. We know all of you have supported them, if able to, during this shutdown. Let’s do what we can to ensure they rebound and remain part of our community going forward. These businesses have always been a big part of what makes us Harrison Strong!