SPRINGFIELD, NJ — In the first major step taken to insure the township would be ready for coronavirus as it spreads across the state, Springfield has instituted a town-wide closure of multiple municipal buildings in town.
As part of the state of emergency declared earlier this week, Governor Phil Murphy recommended that public access to all government buildings be limited in order to help prevent further spread. The decision by the township follows those guidelines.
As a result, the following buildings will either be closed, or have limited public access:
- The Municipal Building and the Annex Building will be open to the public on Mondays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. On the days which they are closed, there will be a lock box outside of each building to drop off information to be processed.
- The Chisholm Community Center will be closed starting tomorrow, Saturday, March 14. A lock box will be at the front entrance to drop off materials to be processed.
- The Department of Public Works will be operating at full capacity, but the office will be closed to the public.
- The Springfield Free Public Library will be closed as of tomorrow Saturday, March 14.
- All Municipal Court sessions are canceled for the month of March.
- All Township meetings that were scheduled for the week of March 16 are canceled.
In an interview with TAPinto Springfield, Mayor Chris Capodice emphasized that all pre-emptive closures are concerned with keeping township residents safe and secure during this period of time.
“That’s what these measures are hopefully going to minimize, is the spread of the virus," Capodice said. "Minimizing as much contact as possible, while still maintaining a level of customer service.”
However, Capodice stressed that all township functions will still be working, even if residents can not access them.
“We will have our employees working five days a week, but public access will be one day a week, as far as the township municipal building and annex goes," he said. "Anything that our residents drop off in those drop-off boxes will be processed, but we’re limiting public access to those specific buildings to one day.”
One aspect Capodice could not definitively comment on during the interview was the timetable for government meetings, including township committee meetings, planning board meetings, zoning board meetings, board of health meetings and others. He noted that this was a decision the township would come to at a later time when necessary.
“The priority right now was to get the message out to the public in terms of what municipal services will be provided and what will be closed out of an abundance of caution to minimize the spread of the virus," he said. "More specific details of how and when meetings would run, that process and procedure will be discussed in the upcoming days.”
Finally, Capodice stressed the all measures currently being taken were preventative, and being deployed by the township to ensure the safety of its residents.
“As of this conversation, there are no reported cases in the township of Springfield, but as I said in the email, we will consistently monitor the situation and provide updates as applicable.”
In addition to the measures put forth by the township, the Springfield Police Department released a message on their Facebook page
"Effective immediately, the Springfield Police Department will be implementing protective measures for police services within the Township of Springfield to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus. To ensure the Springfield Police Department is able to provide and maintain a consistent level of quality service throughout this pandemic, we will be taking steps to ensure the safety and protection of our staff, as we can continue to protect the citizens of Springfield. We will not be responding to all calls of service by sending an Officer to the scene. If an officer isn’t needed at the scene, but a report is needed, then we will take the report over the phone. The report will be taken and a follow-up with the citizen will occur after 14 days if additional information is needed.
We consider non emergencies those things in which an active emergency isn't occurring. Non emergencies are Incidents where no one is in danger. Please continue to follow standard procedures by calling 9-1-1 for emergencies and 973-376-0400 for non-emergencies. The Officer who answers your call will inform you of the procedure that will be taken for your specific call.
Stay safe and continue to wash your hands and keep a social distance when you are out."
As of press time, no information on school closings has been released by the Springfield School District.