LITTLE FALLS & NUTLEY, NJ -- John Lee, Publisher of TAPinto Nutley, spoke with Brian Brodeur of TAPintoTV to report on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the town of Nutley, New Jersey. On March 21, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued orders to close non-essential businesses and dictated strong social distancing guidelines statewide. This piece was recorded on March 24, 2020 and originally appeared on TAPintoTV’s television broadcast on News 12+, which aired March 29. 

Lee was reporting from Nutley’s Reinheimer Park, located near both the Belleville and Bloomfield town borders. “On a normal spring day, this place would be full of kids,” he said. “Because of coronavirus, the parks are closed in Nutley.” Indeed, Lee showed that the playground equipment was taped off to prevent anyone from using it. 

Brodeur spoke with Lee via video conference from East Main Studios’ newly-outfitted virtual studio in Little Falls, which was recently reconfigured for working remotely in light of social distancing and stay-at-home orders in New Jersey.

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Lee said that life has drastically changed in Nutley as a result of these policies, and parents are resigned to future town events being postponed. “A lot of people realize that things are not going to change really quickly,” he added. However, local parents recently hosted a virtual dance party for kids. “People are learning how to cope with the new reality of this situation in creative ways,” Lee said. 

As coronavirus cases increase throughout Essex County, more people are visiting TAPinto Nutley than ever before. “A large part of the township actually comes to us for their news on a daily basis,” said Lee. “We’re clued in to what’s going on in town.” The site posts frequent updates on the coronavirus outbreak, and they collaborate with other TAPinto colleagues for reports from the governor’s press conferences and other municipalities across the state. 

In addition to coronavirus data, TAPinto Nutley also posts news to help others, such as what items the food pantry is in most need of, and what restaurants are raising money for the local rescue squad and the community at large.  

The restaurant business has slowed; while pizzerias are thriving since they were already set up for takeout and delivery, other establishments have had to adapt, and many have begun offering these options for customers. Non-essential retail, however, has closed in Nutley. “When we come back from this,” Lee said, “we’re going to really help and join with the Chamber of Commerce and other entities to push the ‘shop local’ mantra.” 

To read more coverage from Nutley, visit https://www.tapinto.net/towns/nutley.