PEAPACK AND GLADSTONE, NJ -- The borough has made the decision to keep its municipal parks open for now, even after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy mandated the closure of all state and county parks with an executive order this week to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
"As of Wednesday April 8, the borough has kept its municipal parks open to the public as the state closed all county and state parks," Peapack-Gladstone Mayor Greg Skinner said in a public letter released on Friday. "Parking has been limited at the borough parks to help keep down the number of people visiting at one time. It is hoped the public will rigorously self-enforce the social distancing measures required to avoid the spread of the virus."
According to the latest figures released Friday by the Somerset County Department of Health, there are 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the borough.
"Roughly half of those cases are at the Matheny facility," Skinner said. "The staff at Matheny has been doing an excellent job of isolating those patients with the virus and many of their patients are showing improvement in their condition. Matheny, like all health care facilities in the state, are not allowing outside visitors, including the patients’ family members."
Matheny is a special hospital for children and adults with medically complex developmental disabilities with a population of 100 residents.
"Our emergency management officials have been working with their county and state partners to assist with the acquisition of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), disinfectant and cleaning supplies to keep our employees and first responders safe and healthy," Skinner said. "They have also been working with Matheny ... to obtain PPE for the staff. Being a state-licensed hospital that provides medical care for their residents, they have an increased need for PPE. Like every other organization in the state who requires PPE, they are having difficulty in obtaining supplies."
Borough employees have been working on staggered shifts to help minimize being close together while maintaining the provision of services to the public. Although the borough's municipal parks are open, playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts and the municipal gym are closed.