GLEN ROCK, NJ - There were 26 business owners in a virtual meeting with the borough's mayor yesterday morning who had questions about how they could conduct business in light of the coronavirus epidemic which has begun to shutter businesses statewide.
Felicia Halpert, President of the Glen Rock Chamber of Commerce, and Supriya Kapur, President of the Glen Rock Guild, and each groups' members asked questions of Mayor Kristine Morieko and Councilwoman Mary Barchetto. Halpert was encouraged by the attendance, especially since it had been announced less than 24 hours prior.
Halpert, who owns a local tech company, Bergen IT, and said, "It was a very positive event," summarized the event.
"We had a great turnout – especially considering that we organized and promoted the virtual Business Town Hall in less than 24 hours," she said.
"Both Mayor Morieko and Councilman Barchetto did a great job answering people’s questions," Halpert said. "They did homework ahead of time and provided the latest info on requirements and best practices."
Morieko told business owners to do what's best for their businesses and what's best for their employees. "And be patient with each other," she said.
Morieko, who was on a conference call some time during the same day with Bergen County Executive James Tedesco, said the county's restrictions had been tossed. All guidance for how businesses were to operate was being administered by the state government.
"This is an ever-fluid situation," Morieko said. "But social distancing is the over-arching theme."
Halpert said her take-away from the meeting was learning the county executive's order had been rescinded.
"While the state’s executive order still prohibits a variety of types of businesses, overall it allows for more flexibility to operate than some of us previously thought was possible," Halpert said.
As Chamber president, Halpert asked Morieko if local government could help businesses get the word out about short term promotions and whether their businesses were open, closed, or operating on reduced hours.
Councilwoman Barchetto said the borough has a business directory through its website and encouraged business owners to take advantage of it.
"If business owners sign-up and the Chamber and Guild could consolidate lists, we'd have a database to work with," Barchetto said.
Local business owners discussed a couple of ideas to assist residents, which Morieko praised.
She continued to stress common sense and creative strategies to encourage residents to patronize the businesses.
"Our main focus should be--how can we help each other," Morieko said.
"The Mayor was very clear," Halpert said after the meeting. "We all need to maintain social distancing. This is essential to reducing the spread of the virus."
And this means business owners need to figure out how to implement shopping or working creatively and carefully.
"I hope this virtual meeting helped the participants see some options for moving forward," Halpert said.
More virtual meetins are planned for the business community in the near future.
"These will focus on addressing issues of importance to the business community of Glen Rock during this crisis," she said. "If anyone is interested, they can join our mailing list by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org ."