Hello! I hope everyone is continuing to enjoy the summertime sunshine and warm weather!

As everyone is aware, we have experienced hotter than normal weather lately. Heat wave or not, I always advise those who plan on spending time outdoors in the heat to be prepared. Heat-related illnesses are preventable.

For those who are out in the heat, stay hydrated! It is important to drink water before thirst kicks in! While you’re keeping hydrated, don’t forget to take care of your pets, too! Lastly, don’t forget the sunscreen!

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With the increased temperatures, we have seen an influx of visitors to Monmouth County, especially our shore town over the past few weekends. To comply with social distancing guidelines, many beaches have had to limit the amount of daily beach badges that are sold. This has caused them to sell out of badges early on in the day, especially over the weekend.

I continue to encourage visitors and beach goers to “Know Before You Go” and research badge sales and parking information before traveling to their destination. New policies like this that will be in place this summer make it critical for visitors to research their destination to ensure a smooth trip to our part of the Jersey Shore.

For more information about Shore municipalities rules and regulations for summer 2020, go to www.visitmonmouth.com.

On a separate note, I want to update you of the Monmouth County CARES Act Small Business Grants. As I stated in my article last week, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders voted unanimously on a resolution to award a contract to Solix, Inc. to provide professional grant administration and program management services for the small business grant program.

Solix had guaranteed a 20-day turnaround time to get the application up and running. I am happy to say that we remain on schedule and it looks like we will have the applications ready to go at the end of the month.

Once the applications are live, I will be reaching back out to those who have provided their email address to my office to provide them with the link and any details they will need to begin the process. If you would like to have your email added to the list please email me at Thomas.Arnone@co.monmouth.nj.us.

Lastly, this week my fellow Freeholders and I held a press conference in Asbury Park to announce the kick-off of Monmouth County’s COVID-19 testing program.

The County has partnered with the Grunin Foundation to provide free testing in six of our most densely populated towns. The testing sites will be located in Asbury Park, Freehold Borough, Keansburg, Neptune, Long Branch and Red Bank.

It is so important for everyone to have access to free COVID-19 testing, regardless of whether or not they have insurance and while there have been testing locations throughout the County; they are not easily accessible to all of our communities, especially those communities where people travel mainly by foot.

I would like to thank Asbury Park for allowing us to use their testing location to hold this press conference. I would also like to thank all of the mayors who will be hosting testing sites, as well as our Monmouth County OEM Coordinator Mike Oppegaard and each of the municipal OEM coordinators that helped organize the testing site locations.

The Board of Chosen Freeholders is committed to using its resources to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and to assist our municipalities in their efforts to identify local hot spots so that appropriate mitigation may be implemented.

To accomplish this, we have committed up to $250,000 of CARES Act funding to the testing of Monmouth County residents. We are grateful to the Grunin Foundation for expressing an interest in participating in a joint public benefit offering for the residents of Monmouth County related to the testing for the COVID-19 virus and committing to match the County’s funding of up to $250,000.

We know that it is critical to have access to testing in order to identify hot spots and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, but it is also important to remember that the best defense we have against COVID-19 is social distancing.

Everyone should stay six feet away from anyone who does not live in their household. We all need to do our part to help slow the spread and take ownership of our own actions because what we do has a direct effect on public health and on our local businesses that are still fighting to reopen.

As always, it is a pleasure to serve as Freeholder Director. I’ll continue to advocate on behalf of residents and businesses!

Sincerely,

Thomas A. Arnone

Freeholder Director