On Friday May 15, Mayor Bob Conley gave the following update:

The most recent reporting from the State shows 144,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey; almost 6,000 are in Morris County, and as of today, 129 cases in Madison and only one new case has been reported since Monday.

It was pointed out to me that I should change the background so that you can easily tell that this is a new message. Regretfully, I misunderstood and changed the foreground by shaving. Actually this look is yet another sign that spring is really here despite the snow of last weekend.

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I have been receiving emails about high school graduation and the need to give our graduating seniors the recognition they deserve. In these difficult times it is so tough to balance celebration and separation, but we must. On the same day that I had shared the emails with the Governor’s office, Executive Order 142 was issued, permitting in-car gatherings. In particular, this order addresses religious services, drive in movies and graduations within the guidelines listed.

From my many conversations, I know the Governor is constantly reviewing policies and orders as part of a guided and gradual reopening. Much can change between now and graduation in June. The Governor’s office has promised to look at the current restrictions over the coming weeks. So while today it could be conducted in cars, come June 19 we could be operating under new guidelines. I have also told the Board of Education that the Borough Government is ready to support an approved graduation ceremony in every way possible.

This new Executive Order also permits curbside pickup for non-essential retail businesses. This means that either by phone or online, you will be able to order from your favorite Madison retail store and either have it delivered or picked up at curbside. Stores must keep staffing at a minimum. Please don’t put any of these stores in a bad position by asking to enter the premises. That time will come, but we are not there yet.

As we are now in the gradual reopening phase it is time to look towards the world of dining in town once again. We anticipate dining being permitted in the coming weeks with reduced occupancy and socially distanced chairs and tables. Coming out of the ideas presented in my Creativity Conference with local business owners we are looking at ways to expand outdoor dining.

We are looking to maximize the current sidewalk dining options, making it easier for businesses to serve on their own sidewalks and property along with the possibility of creating dining plazas by shutting down some streets. This is not happening in the near future but we want to be ready when we enter that phase. The same sort of creative thinking is in place to assist the retail and fitness operations for when the time comes.

Please don’t let up on following all the guidelines. We are moving in the right direction and should continue down the path of the gradual reopening but should we let up, the curve could go back up and we'll go back to more restrictions. Don’t let that happen!

Don’t forget to check for updates on Rosenet.org on a regular basis, and visit TriTownCares.org for mental health support. Thank you for your time, take care of yourself, your loved ones and others through social distancing and personal protection measures.

Be Home, Be well.


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