BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Township of Berkeley Heights is working closely with our public safety and health officials, as well as our local businesses, to safely reopen Berkeley Heights as the state slowly reopens after onset of the COVID-19 global health pandemic.
After weeks of intense conversations with the Economic Development Committee, local business owners, our health officer, Office of Emergency Management, Police Department, Department of Public Works, and after receiving guidance from the Governor’s Office as well as federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following actions will be rolled out in the next few days to help:
- Introduction of an outdoor seating ordinance, to allow more food establishments in town to open up safely per CDC-recommended social distancing rules by adding outdoor seating. The ordinance will be introduced at the Township Council meeting next Tuesday. Draft will be on the Township website at BerkeleyHeights.gov.
- Protocols for both food and other local businesses that includes recommended and/or mandated steps for them to take to ensure proper COVID-19 related safety for their customers and employees. These protocols will be guided by the CDC and state-issued guidelines.
- Details on the temporary closure of Sherman Avenue between Lone Pine Drive and the old King’s property, as well as possibly some other local roadways to ensure adequate outdoor seating opportunity for our businesses. The administration is currently working with the Police Department and Fire Official to determine which roads can be temporarily closed to allow for outdoor seating and not impede emergency access or negatively impact traffic safety. The Township is also looking into which of these areas may also be utilized as more pedestrian areas, in addition to seating.
In addition, Governor Murphy’s office today released a short 10-15 minute survey for businesses and nonprofits to take to provide the state with valuable insights to inform the State’s reopening strategy, and guide the creation of products, services and assistance programs to be made available to businesses. Please take the survey here.
“There is no doubt that our local businesses are anxious about their future and want to reopen as soon as possible. We understand that and want to help them get back on their feet,” said Mayor Angie Devanney. “We have been listening to their needs and concerns, and are working as fast as we can to come up with safe, effective plans to help them open up as soon as they get the green light from the state.
“It’s the least we can do for these businesses that have given our community so much.”
Berkeley Heights Police Chief John DiPasquale added, “We know businesses want to open, but we have to make sure they do it safely - not only for their employees but for our residents and their customers, as well. We are working on a plan that demonstrates that our Town is open for business but is taking safety very seriously.”