April 20, 2020 Mayor's Message: COVID-19 Month in Review

It has been quite a month here in New Providence. COVID19 crashed into our lives like a tsunami, bringing fear, heartbreak, and isolation, but also an incredible self awakening, re-shifting of our priorities, and a renewed reconnection to people, and the world around us," said Mayor Al Morgan in a Month in Review statement to the Borough. 

It has definitely changed life as we know it, but it has also brought forth such strength and perseverance in each of us that we never knew we had, as a people, and as a community. Incredible selfless acts of kindness and generosity have been permeating all throughout the borough, from mask, glove, and gown donations, to meal preparations and contributions, to help with grocery shopping, essential errands, and uplifting calls and messages to our afflicted, healthcare heroes, and essential workers. Organizations, businesses, and volunteers have been giving generously, sewing, giving away masks, food, supplies, and really stepping up in our community’s time of need. It has been an incredible sight to see and experience here in New Providence. Families spending quality time at home with each other, windows lit up at night in support, and chalk pictures dotting our walk and driveways, lifting our spirits and keeping us motivated during this battle, this war, with this virus. We have been in full blown crisis mode now for over a month. Let us take a moment to reflect, regroup, and continue to move ahead. We will get through his together! Pioneer Strong!

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NEW PROVIDENCE COVID CASE INFORMATION

Since the onset of this crisis we have 71 tested positive cases of COVID19 in New Providence. Of those 71 cases, thankfully 22 have already fully recovered. Please note, that we cannot report a “recovered” case until cleared personally by our borough nurse. Tragically, we have lost 6 residents to this virus. Our hearts and prayers go out to our afflicted, and to the families who have lost a loved one. The heartbreak is devastating, and our community mourns these sad losses. We currently have 43 active cases in New Providence. We pray for a speedy recovery and a return to normalcy.

Long Term Healthcare Facilities cases will now be reported as we receive confirmed information. Please note: Cases are reported to the primary address and therefore may not be reflected in New Providence case totals.

Lantern Hill Continued Care has 16 cases with 8 deaths; Lantern Hill Independent Living has 9 cases with two deaths; Spring Grove has 18 confirmed cases and 4 deaths. 

PREVENTATIVE PROTOCOLS

Our current community preventative protocols include the following:

Sheltering in, social distancing 6’ or more apart for essential outings only, no gatherings, no playdates, no non-essential travel, vigorously washing hands often, face coverings (except for children under two, and those who are otherwise unable to safely do so) in all retail establishments and when riding NJTransit (for essential travel only). Only essential retail establishments may be open to the public. Employees at retails establishments must be gloved and masked. These protocols will continue to be enforced in accordance with all federal and state mandates. Please do your part to abide by these protocols to help keep everyone safe. Please see www.nj.gov for more information and for all current executive orders.

YOUR MAYOR AND COUNCIL HARD AT WORK

Mayor and Council are working around the clock 24/7 with a lot going on behind the scenes to help get us through this crisis. Every day there is a daily Mayor conference call with Union County, and every Sunday with the Governor’s Office. Mayor and Council are working closely with all of our elected representatives including Congressman Tom Malinowski and his office, Senator Corey Booker’s office, State Senator Tom Kean, Assembly Leader Jon Bramnick, and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz. We are working very closely with the Health Department, sometimes several times a day, and with representatives from Lantern Hill and Spring Grove.

Mayor and Council are also working very closely with our Emergency Management Team to determine present needs as well as prepare for anticipated needs. We are continually checking in with all of our borough departments to ensure our commitment to service, safety, and your protection, which is our number one priority. We are also helping deliver supplies, donations, and providing general support whenever and wherever we can. While assisting with immediate needs, Mayor and Council are also reviewing, analyzing, and preparing this year’s budget including possible impacts due to the COVID19 crisis. Communication improvements are on-going including improvements to our borough website to help better disseminate information, help better locate updates, and retrieve forms more quickly and easily. We thank our Council Communication Committee for their hard work on this.

We are also working diligently with volunteer organizations including Senior Buddies (through our Senior Center), FLAG (through NPEF), CSA (and our newly acquired Grotta Fund to help seniors), NPOCFA, and the LIONS, among others, to help our residents in need, our first responders and area care and hospital centers, our seniors, and our most vulnerable. Board of Education virtual meetings are attended, as well as all other borough meetings, when possible, by each council liaison and reported back to Council. We are in constant contact with our dispatch center where it is reported that morale is good and a new executive director, Jeremy DeMar, is set to start shortly. We welcome him and wish him the best! 

Please be assured, the borough is here to help get us through this crisis. Our Municipal Center may be closed to the public for everyone's safety, but our borough staff is available to assist you. Please call (908) 665-1400 or complete a CONTACT US FORM available here at https://www.newprov.org/citizen-action-line/ form for the department that provides your required service. For more information please visit the borough website at www.newprov.org.

NEW PROVIDENCE BUSINESSES

SHOP NEW PROVIDENCE! This crisis has been crushing for our local businesses. Many have been forced closed with little or no resources available to them to stay afloat. Our local businesses have given generously to us over the years for our community. Now they need us to help them. PLEASE, If you can, PLEASE SUPPORT OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES. If you are able, please purchase gift cards and gift certificates, make product purchases and/or orders, subscribe for on-line classes and programs, and please order meals and gifts when and wherever you can. This is VITAL for our community’s small business survival and to maintain our small hometown community look and feel. You can also help our small businesses by “liking” their pages and posts on social media, reposting their posts, posting items you purchased or ordered, and tagging to help promote them. Please help us help them in this crisis!

 

SO MANY GOOD THINGS HAPPENING

There are so many good things happening right now in New Providence. These challenging times have been bringing out the best in us! Our first responders, front line, and essential workers have been stellar in this crisis. They are our true heroes, and we thank each one of them for their courage, strength, and commitment to our community especially during these unprecedented times.

The New Providence Lions have been making masks and headbands around the clock through their new Mask Making Program, a community effort led by Joe Savino Owner of Adams Fine Clothing in New Providence. In addition, the Lions are collecting smartphones, tablets, and baby monitors for patients to communicate with their family and loved ones, as visitors are not permitted, and also for the caregivers themselves, who are quarantined. Many caregivers have not seen their family in weeks. Due to overcrowding in hospitals, makeshift ICU units have been setup to expand capacity and baby monitors are used extensively by the doctors and nurses to continuously monitor patients in the extended ICU units. For more information and to help, volunteer, or donate to these initiatives, please visit www.nplions.org/community/services.php.

New Providence-Our Community For All (NPOCFA), a new nonprofit group, has been helping our seniors with shopping and support during this unprecedented time in cooperation with our Senior Center (and their Senior Buddies program). NPOCFA was recently awarded a $74,000 grant from The Grotta Fund for Senior Care, and is working under the nonprofit umbrella of our Community Service Association of New Providence (CSA). The grant work is led by the group’s Executive Director, Patricia Swan Jacobs, and board members Councilman Pete DeSarno, Lions Member Bill Hoefling, and CSA President, Tom Montrone. The idea for this initiative was developed through the Community Enhancement and Economic Development Committee of New Providence, with the full support of Borough Council and Mayor Al Morgan. We are so grateful for this initiative for our seniors! Thank you! For more information and to help or volunteer please call (732) 535-8441 or email NewProvidenceOCFA@gmail.com.

FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group) is an organization dedicated to helping feed our committed front line health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also supporting our local restaurants to help keep them in business. New Providence has partnered with FLAG to support our town, launching FLAG of New Providence. The NPEF has proudly teamed up with FLAG of New Providence to facilitate all donations that will be used to place orders at NP restaurants and delivered to our front line workers and volunteers fighting COVID-19. Donations can be made via credit card or PayPal on their site at http://npedfoundation.org/flag/ or Venmo: @NP-EdFoundation. We thank our NPEF (New Providence Education Foundation), Councilwoman Michele Matsikoudis and Councilwoman Nadine Geoffroy for their good work on this initiative for our community. Thank you!

We also would like to thank all of our organizations, local businesses, generous contributors, friends, families, and dedicated volunteers for all of your donations, efforts, and contributions to help others! We thank you!

MOVING FORWARD

Planning discussions are being held with Mayor and Council on re-opening preparations when it is safe and legally permitted to do so. Discussions are also being held about downtown traffic safety improvements, upgrading of recreation fields (Lincoln Field), and completion of Harmony Park adjacent to Veteran’s Park on South Street. The water main on Passaic Street is thankfully nearly completed and paving will occur soon after. The last we heard, the Passaic Bridge closure will now be May 1st. Please be rest assured, that we are still doing the borough’s business the best we can under these trying circumstances. Our employees have been exemplary and have shown all of us their dedication to our community. We would especially like to thank our Police Department, Rescue Squad, and all of our First Responders, all of our dedicated and selfless volunteers, and essential workers on the frontline who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help keep us safe and protected under these challenging times. Please continue to help where you can. Please support and shop locally when and wherever you can. Please check in on each other, and stay positive! We hope we are through the worst of this crisis. The curve appears to be flattening, which is good news. Stay strong! Stay safe! And STAY HOME! We will continue to keep you updated as we receive confirmed information. We have included a condensed list of resources all available on our borough website. Thank you for your continued commitment to our community. We will get through this together! Pioneer Strong! Be Well!

- Mayor and Council

Community Calendar Updates:

1.   Fishing Derby Cancelled

2.  Annual Sapling Giveaway Cancelled

3.  Memorial Day Parade Cancelled - We Want Your Photos:

In cooperation with American Legion Post #433, the Borough of New Providence will be putting together a video of past parades as a way of properly saying thank you to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We are interested in collecting any past New Providence Memorial Day pictures you may have between 1954 and 2019 to be included in the video.Photos can be of any aspect of the parade; community groups, marching band, military, wreath laying ceremonies, etc. To submit a photo, please email recdept@newprov.org with “Parade Photos” in the subject line by May 1st.  Contact Bernadette Cuccaro, Community Activities Director at 908-665-8258 with any questions. 

4.   New Providence Tricentennial Turkey Dinner Event Rescheduled tentatively to Saturday Oct 17th

5.    OLP Fair rescheduled to October 14-17

IF YOU NEED HELP

Emergencies Dial 911

Municipal Services

(908) 665-1400 or complete a Contact Us form at www.newprov.org/citizen-action-line for the department that provides your required service. For more information please visit the borough website at www.newprov.org

Domestic Safety

If an emergency dial 911

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 or Chat @ TheHotline.org

NJ Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-572-SAFE (7233)

NJ Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) Hotline 1-800-601-7200

Women’s Referral Central 1-800-322-8092

Mental Health Services

(877) 294-HELP (4357)

The NJ Department of Human Services toll free “warm line” is  a resource for people seeking mental health service. The warm line is available 24 hours and has operators in multiple languages.

Temporary Financial Assistance: CSA

(908) 665-8254

Our CSA (Community Service Association of New Providence) is a local non-profit organization that provides temporary financial assistance to New Providence residents during a time of need. If you need help, please contact our Community Service Association (CSA) at (908) 665-8254. All calls are strictly confidential.

Donations to the CSA are used solely to help your fellow New Providence residents during their time of financial need. Donations can be sent via PayPal to csanewprovidence@gmail.com or by check to: Community Service Association of New Providence, c/o NP Borough Hall, 360 Elkwood Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974. CSA is an independent 501(c)(3) organization. We thank you for your support during these challenging times, and we wish only the best of health for you and your families. If you are in need of assistance from the CSA, please leave a message at (908) 665-8254.

Wellness Calls: Senior Buddy Program

(908) 665-0046 or email at seniorbuddies@newprov.org

The Borough started a “Senior Buddy” program as an outreach to our most vulnerable population, connecting our seniors with borough employees who check in with anyone who feels they may need a little help making it through this time. “Buddies” will have information available about grocery store and pharmacy hours and food delivery, and will also just check in to brighten someone’s day.  If you are a resident of New Providence and would like a “Buddy," please email us at seniorbuddies@newprov.org or call the DeCorso Community Center at (908) 665-0046 (messages are being checked regularly).  In the event of an emergency, please dial 911.

Grocery Shopping Assistance: NPOCFA

(732) 535-8441 or email NewProvidenceOCFA@gmail.com

If you need help with grocery shopping, please directly contact “New Providence, Our Community For All “  (NPOCFA) at (732) 535-8441 or email NewProvidenceOCFA@gmail.com. NPOCFA is a volunteer run and supported organization. This service is for our seniors and most vulnerable.

To volunteer to shop for others please email the volunteer coordinator at chanda_belle@hotmail.com or call (908)451-3331.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP

During these uncertain times, so much help is needed! First and foremost, please exercise personal responsibility by abiding by all of our preventative protocols and CDC guidelines (see CDC.GOV for more information). If everyone does their part, we will get through this crisis more quickly. If you are able, please help out friends and neighbors in need by offering to pick up/drop off essentials, bringing trash receptacles to/from the street, assisting with on-line ordering, and just being a good neighbor. Please check in on each other, especially on our seniors and most vulnerable. If you are able and would like to contribute, here are a few places and some ways that directly benefit our community. There are many others! Please help wherever and however you can! We thank you for your continued generosity and Pioneer Spirit! 

CSA – Community Service Association of New Providence

www.csanewprovidence.org

Donations to the CSA are used solely to help your fellow New Providence residents during their time of financial need. Donations can be sent via PayPal to csanewprovidence@gmail.com or by check to: Community Service Association of New Providence, c/o NP Borough Hall, 360 Elkwood Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974. CSA is an independent 501(c)(3) organization. We thank you for your support during these challenging times, and we wish only the best of health for you and your families. If you are in need of assistance from the CSA, please leave a message at (908) 665-8254.

New Providence, Our Community For All – NPOCFA

(732) 535-8441 or email NewProvidenceOCFA@gmail.com

NPOCFA is a volunteer run and supported organization. This service is for our seniors and most vulnerable. To volunteer to shop for others please email the volunteer coordinator at chanda_belle@hotmail.com or call (908)451-3331.

FLAG – Front Line Appreciation Group

npedfoundation.org/flag/

FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group) is an organization dedicated to helping feed our committed front line health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also supporting our local restaurants to help keep them in business. New Providence has partnered with FLAG to support our town, launching FLAG of New Providence. The NPEF has proudly teamed up with FLAG of New Providence to facilitate all donations that will be used to place orders at NP restaurants and delivered to our front line workers and volunteers fighting COVID-19.

Donations can be made via credit card or PayPal using the button below or Venmo: @NP-EdFoundation. Please donate what you can to support both the local businesses you love and our healthcare workers and first responders who are tirelessly fighting to keep us all safe. Thank you to our incredible community! We are all in this together.

New Providence Lions Mask Making Program & Device Collection

www.nplions.org/community/services.php

Volunteer

People to sew from the comfort of your home (urgent need)

 People to cut fabric from the comfort of your home

To volunteer, call Ed Morgan (908)472-7210 or Email at esmorg@verizon.net

Donate Materials for Masks

1/4″ or 3/8″ Grosgrain ribbon (urgent need)

New flannel sheets or fabric

New 100% cotton sheets or fabric

1/4″ flat or rope elastic

Donated materials can be left in a Drop-Off Box located outside of Adams Fine Clothing 1275 Springfield Ave., New Providence

Donate an Electronic Device Smartphones: Apple & Samsung (new or functioning) Tablets: WiFi required Donated devices can be left during business hours in a Drop-Off Box located outside of Adams Fine Clothing 1275 Springfield Ave., New Providence

Monetary Donation

To source materials and other expenses

Make a Donation at www.nplions.org/members/donation.php

LIGHT UP NP

Help Us Light Up New Providence! We would like to light up our nights in our community until this crisis is over. If you would like to participate, please put lights in your windows or outdoors to show support and solidarity with our community for our afflicted, our lost, and their families, for all of our first responders, our emergency management team, and all of essential workers in the fight against COVID-19 until this crisis is over. You can use holiday lights or just a candle in the window. Thank you for your support! If you post photos, please hashtag with #lightupnp

CHALK YOUR WALK

Help lift morale and brighten our days by creating chalk pictures and messages on your walk and driveway areas. If posting, please hashtag #npchalkyourwalk

NEW PROVIDENCE RESOURCES AND INFORMATION:

New Providence Municipal Center 

(908) 665-1400 or via Action Line at www.newprov.org/citizen-action-line

We are here to serve you! Although our Municipal Center is closed to the public for everyone's safety, our borough staff is available to assist you. Please call (908) 665-1400 or complete a CONTACT US FORM at https://www.newprov.org/citizen-action-line/ form for the department that provides your required service. For more information please visit the borough website at www.newprov.org

Recreation

All recreation programs are currently cancelled for everyone's safety. All playgrounds in the borough are closed for everyone's safety. Parks and fields will remain open but no organized sports activities or gatherings of any kind are permitted. The basketball courts at the community pool and the tennis courts are closed. We ask for your cooperation in maintaining social distancing when using our parks and fields.  Social distancing will be enforced.

The DeCorso Community and Senior Center

(908) 665-0046

The DeCorso Community and Senior Center premises is closed, however our staff is assisting our seniors via phone and virtually. For more information, please leave a message at (908) 665-0046 and you will get a call back.

Senior Buddies: If you would like a wellness call, information available about grocery store and pharmacy hours and food delivery please email us at seniorbuddies@newprov.org or call (908) 665-0046 (messages are being checked regularly). 

NP Senior Shuttle: Shoprite trips on Tuesdays and Thursdays (if necessary) – please call on Mondays to reserve your spot.

New Providence Public Health Nurse Phone: 908-743-1049

Union County Division on Aging Phone: 888-280-8226

Westfield Regional Health Department Phone: 908-789-4070

website: http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health

NJCOVID-19 Hotline Phone: 1-800-222-1222

New Providence Memorial Library

New Providence Memorial Library premises are closed and all programs are suspended until at least 5/15, however the library is offering online platforms and making additional resources available. Please keep your books at home and do not put them in the book drops. Fines and holds will be suspended until reopening. Library card expiration dates have been extended until June however if you have trouble accessing electronic resources because of an expired card, please send an email to npmlref@newprovidencelibrary.org. To apply for a library card online, please send a picture of your driver’s license or some other proof of residence along with your request at www.newprovidencelibrary.org in About > Apply for a Library Card. https://www.newprovidencelibrary.org/services/apply-for-a-card

For more information please visit www.newprovidencelibrary.org

Municipal Courts are currently closed.

State of NJ COVID-19 Information Hub Live Updates at https://covid19.nj.gov/#live-updates

Call (General COVID-19 Questions): 2-1-1 (7a-11p)  The hotline is open 24/7 and has multi-language capacity. Callers who need medical advice should contact their health care provider.

Call (Clinical Questions): 1-800-962-1253 (24/7)

Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to stay informed via text messaging

NJ Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development – Employment Scenarios and Benefits

The NJ Department of Human Services toll free “warm line”- a resource for people seeking mental health service. The warm line is available 24 hours and has operators in multiple languages.  The number is (877) 294-HELP (4357).

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

NJ Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-572-SAFE (7233)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT THESE WEBSITES:

NJ COVID-19 Information Hub: https://covid19.nj.gov/index.html 

New Jersey Department of Health: https://www.nj.gov/health/ 

NJ COVID-19 Business Information Hub: https://cv.business.nj.gov

NJ Chamber of Commerce: https://njchamber.com/covid19  for latest coronavirus news for New Jersey businesses

NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development: https://www.nj.gov/labor/

CDC: https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00427.asp

Union County:  https://ucnj.org/coronavirus-update/ for updates and information on Union County services

For More New Providence Borough Coronavirus information please visit the website at www.newprov.org/coronavirus-covid-19-infor