SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Village President Sheena Collum has released the following community letter to dissuade community members from panic buying, inform them about services for seniors, and warn businesses about not engaging in price gouging:


Neighbors and Business Owners:

While I continue to be proud of the generosity of so many in our community and the collective steps we’re all taking to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, I’d also like to address the more sensitive topics of panic-buying and price gouging.

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Panic Buying: We’re all feeling anxious right now, but we need to do a little better to make sure everyone has access to essential food and supplies, particularly our most vulnerable populations. The Center for Disease Control recommends that an individual or family shop for a two-week supply of food and other essentials. When someone chooses to stockpile items beyond this recommended amount, it ultimately means another consumer may not have what they need in the immediate term. Globally, supermarkets are taking steps to prevent shortages and prioritize the elderly and other vulnerable customers by adjusting hours and even rationing items. 

Special Accommodations for Seniors: On the local level, the South Orange Stop & Shop has announced that beginning March 19, it will open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. for customers ages 60 years and older only. Also, Ashley Marketplace is offering free home delivery to all seniors. Call (973) 762-5200 to place your phone order, and they will arrange a delivery window.

As a reminder, any senior who needs assistance is encouraged to contact Cathy Rowe, SOMA Two Towns for All Ages Coordinator, at (973) 558-0863 or 

Price Gouging:The overwhelming majority of our business community in South Orange has been incredible, selfless and proactive in addressing social distancing procedures. However, I have received complaints of price gouging, and we are taking these complaints very seriously. 

New Jersey's price gouging law prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency and for 30 days after its termination. Excessive price increases are defined as “any price that exceeds 10 percent of the price for which the product or service was sold during the normal course of business.”

Anyone who believes they've seen a case of price gouging can contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at 973-504-6240 or file complaints online by visiting the Division’s website.

Donate: South Orange and Maplewood continue to raise funds to support seniors and families. Please consider making a donation to help our efforts to support those who need our assistance most.


In solidarity and safety (remember, a minimum of 6 feet),

Sheena Collum

Village President