NEWTON, NJ – The Town of Newton’s Office of Emergency Management declared a local emergency on Friday, March 13 in response to the impacts of coronavirus. The measure ensures local police, the municipality, local health related resources, schools and senior housing can continue to operate as well as ensuing the operation of critical resources in the community.

“This is being done to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Newton residents, business owners, and visitors alike,” Newton Town Manager Thomas S. Russo, Jr. said in the announcement. “By implementing these rules, we are able to maintain basic levels of government services while preserving the ability of the Emergency Services Personnel and Department of Public Works to maintain critical infrastructure.”

There are currently no travel restrictions or police actions but the proclamation allows local police to control the flow of traffic around the Newton Medical Center.

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It allows for access as well as the number of meetings to be limited within the municipal building and other municipal facilities.

The health, safety and welfare of employees and volunteers of the police department, fire department, first aid squad, Office of Emergency Management and Newton Dispatch are addressed in the proclamation. 

The declaration specifically allows for measures to be taken continue access to medical facilities including the Newton Renal Center and VA Outpatient Clinic as well as Bristol Glen, Barn Hill and Valley View facilities.

“In order to ensure the continuity of operations, this proclamation gives us the ability to implement any and all measures to ensure Newton authorities will not be hampered in their efforts to maintain law and order as well as an orderly flow of traffic and further to protect the persons and property of the residents affected by the conditions within the Town of Newton,” OEM Coordinator Kenneth Teets said in the announcement.

Russo said this declaration was made “in lockstep” with recent declaration of Emergency made by Governor Phil Murphy and of National Emergency made this will by President Donald Trump. 

“We want to ensure we are doing everything we can to maintain operations during this difficult time.”

Newton residents and facilities are encouraged to set up a profile on the Smart911 system to allow first responders to handle an emergency more efficiently. 

The next town council meeting is scheduled for March 23.