SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Village President Sheena Collum has issued a statement that updates the community on the current status of COVID-19 in town. She also gives news concerning where and how to get tested, the rules concerning the opening of the tennis courts in our two towns and a reminder of the South Mountain YMCA's Annual Duck Race which will be virtual this year.
President Collum's statement follows:

May 22, 2020

Neighbors,

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As of noon today, 434 South Orange residents have received access to COVID-19 testing, and of that number, 95 tests have returned positive and 339 have returned negative. To date, four members of our community have passed away due to complications from COVID-19. Please continue to keep their families in your prayers.

 

Expanded Testing Sites in Essex County

Essex County is expanding its COVID-19 testing initiative to include satellite testing sites throughout the county in addition to continuing to operate its drive through testing center in Weequahic Park. The satellite sites will offer saliva tests, are by appointment only, and are being offered to Essex County residents free of charge. To make an appointment, please visit www.EssexCovid.org or call 973-324-9950.

Satellite testing will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, May 26: Essex County Public Works-Fleet Maintenance, 99 West Bradford Avenue, Cedar Grove. 200 appointments will be available.
  • Thursday, May 28: Essex County Richard J. Codey Arena, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange. 250 appointments will be available.

The Weequahic Park testing site will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Wednesday, May 27 and Friday, May 29.

Additional dates will be added in June.

Testing is available to all Essex County residents, whether they are showing symptoms of the virus or are asymptomatic. Residents are encouraged to get retested if they took the swab or saliva tests at least 14 days ago and received negative test results.

Two CVS locations in Essex County are now offering COVID-19 testing through their minute clinic. Test supplies are extremely limited at these locations. Patients must be 18 years or older to take a COVID-19 test. They need to answer a short questionnaire to see if they qualify to take the test and provide medical insurance information and vehicle license plate before scheduling the appointment.

  • CVS Cedar Grove (1041 Pompton Avenue , Cedar Grove , NJ 07009)
  • CVS Maplewood (53 Valley Road, Maplewood , NJ 07040).

Face Coverings Required in Parks and in Public Spaces

With the beautiful weather upon us and the easing of more restrictions coming down the pipeline, it is absolutely critical that we maintain social distancing at all times and wear face coverings in public. Yesterday, I signed an Executive Order requiring face coverings in our parks.

I call this a common sense face coverings approach. With any rule, regulation or guidance we issue, there will always be “what-if” scenarios. Our guiding principle is to wear a face covering. When in doubt, wear a face covering.

We’re looking for compliance and safe environments, not a reason to issue summonses. Let’s look at some examples:

  • It’s a busy day at the park with lots of people around, wear a face covering.
  • You’re doing jumping jacks by yourself at 8 a.m. and no one is around — it’s fine to take your face covering down.
  • You’re riding your bike or jogging and others are approaching you in the opposite direction — pull up your face covering or move to the other side of the street.
  • You’re waiting in line to play tennis — wear your face covering.
  • You’re playing singles tennis —take your face covering down and pull it back up when you leave.
  • You’re walking downtown on a weekend afternoon – wear your face covering.

Face coverings send a community message to one another of “I protect you and you protect me,” and by making this behavior the norm, we’re encouraging others to do the same. So please, wear your face covering and use common sense.

Recreation Facilities

Tennis courts in South Orange opened today and will remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Guidelines have been established and will be regularly monitored for compliance by both towns.

Summer Camps and Municipal Pool

To date, no guidance has been provided to municipalities on the status of summer camps or restrictions on opening our municipal pool. Our Recreation Department is monitoring the situation, and if camps and the pool are permitted to open, our staff is ready and willing to move forward with best practices on how to operate safely.

South Mountain YMCA Duck Race 2020

The South Mountain YMCA’s Annual Duck Race is a tradition not to be missed, and this year the Y is keeping it going, albeit with some changes.

This year, join the Y for a virtual Duck Race at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25. Join the interactive “DuckCenter” via the South Mountain Y Facebook, Metro You Tube, or South Mountain’s Instagram to cheer, waddle at home, and celebrate this race.

Anyone can buy a duck at the level that’s right for them, with funds supporting the local economy in addition to the Y. To buy ducks go to: https://www.metroymcas.org/south-mountain-ymca/duck-race/

It’s all for fun as always, and the first three ducks across the finish line will get a socially distant duck visit after the race and a virtual duck trophy for local bragging rights!

“Local businesses in Maplewood and South Orange have supported the Duck Race with sponsorships and race prizes for more than 20 years, and now it’s our turn to give back to them. This year the Y will commit 25 percent of Duck Race proceeds from our event to support SOMA small businesses,” said James Goodger, District Executive Director of the South Mountain YMCA. “Our small businesses are a critical piece of our community’s fabric, and we are committed to doing something to help them bounce back from this.”

The Y is collaborating with Special Improvement Districts of Maplewood Village Alliance, Springfield Avenue Alliance, and the South Orange Village Center Alliance to garner the most impact.

Please continue to remain safe, and thank you for your patience, compassion, and generosity over the past two months.

Sheena Collum
Village President