The Township of South Orange Village continues daily monitoring of communicable diseases within our community, County and State. We are currently monitoring the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will continue to provide updates as they become available.
As many of you are aware, communities around the world are responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
While the Governor has declared a State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency, South Orange has not at this time. However, we are in close contact with State and Essex County officials as we continue to monitor the situation. We have emergency protocols in place that will keep essential services running regardless of if we need to close Village offices.
We are also finding new ways to make our meetings interactive to ensure civic involvement, while also limiting physical interaction. We are pleased to announce a new online portal that will allow residents to stay involved from the comfort of their home. Committee chairs will be given access to set up virtual meetings so that the important work of our engaged citizens continues.
All Board of Trustee, Board of Adjustment, and Planning Board meetings can be viewed online. Residents who do not attend and are watching online can submit comments and questions for public comments by e-mailing:
PBQuestion@SouthOrange.org (Planning Board)
BOTQuestion@SouthOrange.org (Board of Trustees)
ZBAQuestion@SouthOrange.org (Zoning Board)
We want to remind residents that the public risk of infection is currently low. There has not been a recorded case in Essex County at this time.
However, in order to keep the risk low, residents can do some easy, but important, things to help combat the spread of the disease:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Cough and squeeze into a tissue or into your sleeve, not your hands.
- Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, using a disinfecting spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer.
The disease can be caught by people of all ages, however it is most prevalent in the older population and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
Citizens infected with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Residents who feel like they have these symptoms should make appointments with their healthcare providers.
Residents who feel ill are advised to stay home, avoid public areas and avoid public transportation. While this may be inconvenient, self-quarantining yourself can help save not just your life, but others that you interact with.
We are asking community organizations to limit holding large gatherings and functions for the time being. Please use your best judgment to determine if a particular event is necessary or not. All organizations and businesses in town are encouraged to be taking extra precautions. The EPA has released a list of Registered Antimicrobial Products for use against COVID-19.
Currently schools are determining whether to close or not. Seton Hall University has recently suspended classes on a temporary basis. The South Orange-Maplewood School District has not made that determination at this time.
Residents should limit physical contact with others. Here in Village Hall, we are encouraging more electronic contact. Did you know that most of our forms are available online? You can also pay your tax and sewer bills online.
Our offices can be contacted at 973-378-7715 and we have every department’s contact information listed on our site. We are encouraging residents to conduct Village business to online and through United State Postal Services. As we introduce more technological advancements with our website and services, we will continue to announce them.
We ask all residents for patience as we try to accommodate everyone during this unique situation. We will continue to follow the situation as it unfolds and to have conversations with State officials in order to keep up with the most current information. The Village will be transparent and responsive as new information comes in and will share that information through our website.
Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our community safe and healthy.