“It’s too quiet outside, it’s too calm,” Kass said, about the current atmosphere in the community. “A lot of people are quietly on edge, there’s not a lot of panic.” Both Millburn and Short Hills are located about 20 miles west of Manhattan, and are considered part of the New York Metro area, the region of the country currently most affected by the pandemic.
Brodeur spoke with Kass 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.
The two spoke just a few days after Governor Murphy of New Jersey issued those strict executive orders to residents mandating that they primarily stay at home. Kass said that most locals are adhering to those guidelines.
“For the most part, people are abiding by the stay at home measures,” Kass said, “there are, however, unfortunately, a number of people who do still interact in close distance.” Kass remarked that some of the community's fields and parks are still being used for people to congregate, despite residents being told to stay out of the parks.
As other TAPinto editors have noted, local residents are turning to them as sources of news for the pandemic. “People are looking for any little bit of information they can get that will help them and that will allow them to feel a sense of normalcy, allow them to feel as if they’re on top of the information coming out, and allow them to feel as if they have some control,” Kass said. “People see myself and other members of the TAPinto network as trusted voices in the community.”
Kass noted that there are many examples of volunteerism and organizations giving back to the community. He noted that the Millburn Short Hills Chinese Association donated 3,000 face masks to the local First Aid Squad, an all-volunteer organization, and also made financial donations to the squad, as well as to the police and fire departments.
“That’s really what I’m focusing on--the positives in the community: people stepping up, people coming to the aid of their friends and neighbors,” Kass said, “and that sense of community that not even the coronavirus can knock out.”
To read more coverage from TAPinto Millburn and Short Hills, visit https://www.tapinto.net/towns/millburn-slash-short-hills.