Tonight, finally, I am able to write you with some positive news!!

Governor Murphy signed several Executive Orders in the last few days, but one in particular provides us with some hope and sense of normalcy. Executive Order 133 was signed yesterday and becomes effective at 6:00am Saturday morning, May 2nd. State parks have been reopened for passive recreation and golf courses have now been deemed essential businesses. The order grants municipalities the option of opening local parks, keeping them closed, or opening them with increased restrictions beyond those implemented in State parks.

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I spoke with the Mayor and Council, the Borough Administrator, Recreation Director, and DPW Superintendent and recommended we open Emmett Field and Volunteer Park (Elm Street Fields) for passive recreation. All were in agreement, however, there are several restrictions contained within Executive Order 133 that we must adhere to:

- All recreation facilities must remain closed to include playgrounds, fields, exercise equipment stations, tennis courts, basketball courts, pavilions, rest rooms, picnic areas, visitor centers and interior historical sites.

- No organized sporting events or contact sports are allowed.

- Congregation is not allowed.

- Parking lots must be reduced to 50% capacity.

- Social Distancing must be adhered to unless you are family members, household members, dating partners or caretakers.

The walking trails surrounding Emmett will be open for passive recreation, to include walking, jogging, and biking. The fields and all facilities remain closed and are off limits. Residents must adhere to the social distancing guidelines. The parking lot for Emmett will be reduced to 50% capacity and congregation within the parking lot is strictly prohibited. Access to Emmett will be through the Elm Street gate only.

The walking trails surrounding Volunteer Park (Elm Street Fields) will be open for passive recreation to include walking, jogging and biking. The dog park will also be open but residents utilizing the dog park must wear masks and gloves while maintaining social distance from other residents. The fields and all facilities remain closed and are off limits. The parking lot for Volunteer Park will be reduced to 50% capacity and congregation within the parking lot is strictly prohibited. The Community Garden at Volunteer Park will remain closed.

Additional Officers have been assigned to these areas for the weekend to monitor activity and ensure all are adhering to the requirements established in Executive Order 133 allowing us to open the municipal parks stated above. I ask all residents to please continue to cooperate with the Governor’s Executive Orders and follow the Social Distancing Guidelines so we can continue to keep these parks open for all residents to enjoy!

All other municipal parks and open spaces previously closed to the public will remain closed.

Other Executive Orders signed this week include Executive Order 130 providing municipalities the option of extending the deadlines for property tax payments, Executive Order 131 established the Commission tasked with Reopening the State, and Executive Order 132 was issued regarding the submission and acceptance of online petitions.

Lastly, as stated in previous messages, Morris County residents have been targeted in what’s referred to as "bail scams" where a resident is contacted either telephonically or in person, at their home, and told their family member has either been involved in an accident or has been arrested. The resident is then asked for large sums of money to secure the release of their loved one. These are horrible acts of fraudulent/criminal behavior preying on the victim’s emotional connection to their loved ones. The Police Department has received several reports from residents in the last two days who were targeted by these grotesque criminal acts. Luckily none of our residents fell prey to these attempts, hopefully due to the continued messaging we’ve been providing. Please continue to be alert to these attempted acts, educate yourselves and elderly family members, and please continue to look out for your elderly neighbors.

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!!

Joseph Orlando
Chief of Police / Deputy OEM Coordinator
April 30, 2020