MAPLEWOOD, NJ — With New Jersey’s curve flattened, some people might have social distancing and mask fatigue and slack off on those public health responsibilities. To help maintain awareness of the importance of staying a safe six feet apart and wearing a facial covering, the Maplewood Public Health Division in the Department of Community Services started a Social Distancing Ambassador Pilot Program this past weekend. 

“Our Ambassadors are fellow residents, including our youth, who strive to make a difference in our community fight against COVID-19,” said Mayor Frank McGehee in a press release. “The Ambassadors will be walking around our public parks and spaces daily handing out masks and reminding everyone that wearing a mask and following social distancing measures are one of the most important ways to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. If you see one of our Social Distancing Ambassadors please be sure to gather any resources and ask any questions you may have.”

The Social Distancing Ambassadors will be handing out masks and available in the public parks and other public areas on the weekdays from 5-8 p.m. and on the weekends from 12-4 p.m.  The pilot will continue until Labor Day. 

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Health Officer Candice Davenport said they are identifiable in green neon vests and they wear name tags that say “Social Distancing Ambassadors.”

The township has “six youth ambassadors and three ambassador supervisors,” who are Maplewood employees, said Davenport. “We are also recruiting through the Medical Reserve Corps.”

McGehee also noted that citizens “have raised the concern about some township employees and facial coverings. The township has enhanced its efforts across all departments to align with the directive from the governor.

“The township recognizes that we are all in this together - employees, residents, and visitors alike. Having a facial covering on your possession at all times and wearing it when proper social distancing is not possible prevents us from returning to normal.”


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