ROXBURY, NJ – Three Roxbury residents have died so far from COVID-19 and 148 confirmed cases of the disease have been found in the township, said Roxbury Mayor Bob DeFillippo on Tuesday.

He presented the numbers during the second-ever remote meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council. DeFillippo also announced there will be no Memorial Day parade this year and he said concern about the coronavirus forced the township to temporarily close the Roxbury Community Garden.

“Those were difficult decisions,” said the mayor. “However, we have left open the possibility of a Memorial Day ceremony honoring our fallen soldiers, and we hope to reopen the garden in time for planting.”

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He said the township’s decisions related to having a memorial ceremony and open the garden will depend on circumstances at the time.

“Even the death of one person in Roxbury is unacceptable,” said DeFillippo. “I know you all join me in keeping those families that have been touched by this disease in our thoughts and prayers.”

On a brighter note, the mayor said he was “pleased to report that the two township employees – one full-time and one part-time – who tested positive for the virus, are recovering.”

Roxbury Trails, Bike Paths, Walkways Stay Open

Although all state and county parks are closed to the public, due to an order from Gov. Phil Murphy, trails and bicycle paths under the township’s jurisdiction remain open, noted DeFillippo. “We believe people need to be able to get out of the house,” he said.

However, because the township found that people were ignoring social distancing recommendations and were clustering to play group sports – such as basketball – it closed basketball courts and playgrounds.

“Police Chief Marc Palanchi assures us that his officers are more than able to enforce social distancing,” DeFillippo said. He praised the police for doing “an outstanding job” during the COVID-19 crisis.

“You have our word that we will do everything we can to keep those paths and trails open as long as people adhere to the social distancing rules,” said the mayor. “We need everyone’s cooperation.  If the rules aren’t being followed, we must revisit our decision to leave the paths, walkways and trails open.”

The council also approved the introduction of a 2020 municipal budget that entails no tax rate increase. The average residential tax bill will be about $8,333 under the budget, which will come up for final approval on May 12.

To read all of DeFillippo's statement, click here.pdf

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