EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ -  As the eve of Passover begins, I wanted to reach out to the East Brunswick community and give by best wishes to everyone, as this is the first of several very important religious holidays this month. April will not only see the observance of Passover, but also Good Friday, Easter, Vaisakhi/Baisakhi/Vishu and Ramadan. We will all be asked to worship in ways that are quite unusual, as we must practice social distancing at times when communities are usually called to come together. The COVID-19 Pandemic will test our faith, and I am sure that we will all come to realize the importance of this sacrifice as we all put the safety of ourselves, our families and our community above all else.

 

As for COVID-19, we have 138 confirmed cases from residents who have been tested and reside in East Brunswick. This information reflects cases through April 7, 2020. Of the 138, one died. There was also one death at the Chelsea Assisted Living Residence, which is presumed to be a COVID-19 case.  Our numbers do not follow any particular pattern, as the sample size is too small to track trends. Any trend would be better seen from the County or State, which complies much larger pools of data. Expect a podcast next week when I will discuss our East Brunswick COVID-19 data in greater detail.

 

Please refer to our township website as the COVID-19 section is continuously updated with information and links to state, federal, and county websites. The information and links also cover topics such as unemployment, small business loans, and other business related matters. The site houses all my previous podcast updates, restaurants offering take-out and delivery, links to our “Virtual” Parks and Recreation department, our East Brunswick Public Library, all the East Brunswick Houses of Worship, and all the township Nixel reports. We are also asking that ALL residents please follow the most recent CDC recommendations and wear masks while in public places. This is one of the many ways that we can all try to reduce the spread of infection.

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I have received several letters asking about any plan to delay the May 1, 2020 Property Tax payment. As I said previously, any such decision would have to be made by the State of New Jersey, as this would have to be done statewide. This is not a local decision. My best guess would be to assume that the payment is due because the state has yet to decide how it is distributing the $3.4 billion which is our share of the CARES Act. Unless townships are reimbursed for the revenues, services would come to a halt as the township and schools could not meet its obligations.

 

Yesterday, the Governor announced the closure of all State and County Parks. This order does not cover individual townships. I feel that in this time of social isolation and sheltering in place, our physical and mental health are important factors to consider. I want folks to get out and walk, bike, run, jog and enjoy the nice weather and the beautiful parks that we maintain here in the township. This can all be done while maintaining the social distancing guidelines. While there have been reports of small groups of young adults playing basketball, soccer, and other sports, these have decreased in recent days. Our parks will be monitored by our Police Department and our Department of Parks and Recreation. Please report all violations to our EBPD non-emergency line (732-390-6900). At this point I will not close our parks, but that could change if guidelines are not being followed. Most of the reports recently have been from young adults in condominium facilities and NOT in our parks. I am calling upon condominium associations to monitor their facilities, as the township will hold any violators and the condominium association responsible for breaching rules put in place to support the safety of our community.

 

Middlesex County announced the opening of a COVID-19 testing center in Dayton at the Motor Vehicle Center in South Brunswick on Route 130. The center will open every other week alternating with the COVID-19 testing center at the Kilmer Motor Vehicle Center in Edison. Please call for appointments. Instructions are listed on the County website along with all contact information. Many physician practices and UrgentCare Centers are now offering COVID-19 testing. Please check with our website as we are trying to keep the public aware of these private facilities as they would not be listed on County or State Websites.

 

I want to thank all the individuals, groups, organizations, clergy and companies that have been so generous at this difficult time. These are the times that test the depth of our compassion and call for true sacrifice. I also want to shout out to my colleagues in the healthcare fields, the first responders and those working in all essential service fields. You are the heroes and may God keep you safe.

 

Finally, as our faith calls on us to reflect during these highest of holidays, please look out for those of us who are less fortunate. Consider helping neighbors who may be older or disabled. Consider cleaning around your home and the community. Consider donating to the many organizations, which are looking out for our heroes and those with special needs. And most of all – Stay Safe!!