WEST ESSEX AREA, NJ — As New Jersey enters into unchartered territory and the effects of COVID-19 impact the daily lives residents across the tri-state area, the future of the West Essex community’s small businesses may be at risk. In order for local merchants to remain viable, special considerations and support must be directed their way.

Restrictions have become the new norm in New Jersey, as Gov. Phil Murphy ordered movie theaters, gyms, casinos and racetracks to be closed until further notice as of 8 p.m. on Monday.

Essential businesses that are necessary for the public’s health, safety and welfare—such as supermarkets and grocery stores, pharmacies, medical offices and gas stations—will remain open, while restaurants and bars throughout the tri-state area have been restricted to offering only takeout and delivery services until further notice.

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In response to this announcement, Christine Schmidt, president of the Caldwell Borough Council, issued the following statement about supporting local merchants and the “curbside pickup signs” that have been placed along Bloomfield Avenue.

“During this challenging time, we rely on help from our friends, neighbors and community. The idea of the curbside pick-up was not my own, but the result of a friend's suggestion in a Facebook comment (credit to Graham Petto). I mentioned it to our borough administrator, Tom Banker, and he and Caldwell Police Sergeant Mike Pellegrino ran with it.

“The idea started at 10 a.m., and the signs were up in the afternoon. This is an example of how Caldwell comes together to support our business community. This morning (Monday), I had a conversation with Bari at Bari's Baubles, and in response, we just extended the curbside pick-up to shoppers who are picking up orders from merchants. Another way to help our local shopkeepers and restaurants is to buy gift cards which can be used once this has blown over. 

“This is uncharted territory for all of us, and we all have to work together to get through this crisis. Our business owners are an essential part of Caldwell, and they need our support now more than ever.”

West Caldwell Mayor Joseph Tempesta also encourages residents to “remember to patronize and utilize our local businesses during this crisis.”

“By using technology and ordering locally online, we can support our businesses as they have supported us throughout the years,” he said.

Roseland Mayor James R. Spango urged community members to utilize local vendors when in need as well.

“Our local businesses are there for us when we are in need,” said Spango. “They give donations of food or money for events, and we should frequent them while they are in need."

Local restaurant owners and merchants are using social media to get the word out as to how they can and will provide services for the immediate future. Below is a list of area businesses that have made a commitment to still provide service as safely as possible:

  • Asin Filipino Cuisine – open noon to 5 p.m. for takeout only
  • Stop and Shop — shopping for residents 60 years and older only available 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. 
  • Bari’s Baubles – virtual shopping on FaceTime, orders may be picked up
  • Cloverleaf – available for delivery and takeout
  • Takeout orders of $30 or more in food and offering 30 percent off bottles, cans and growlers of beer.  (For curbside pickup or delivery, call 973-226-9812 and provide payment, as cash will not be accepted.)
  • Cinar Turkish Restaurant – one free meal per day for disabled, seniors or those in financial need. (Email owner at tunc@cinarnj.com for 15% discount on all dine-in and takeout orders (not available for $12.95 lunch special menu));
  • Dave’s Deli – curbside pickup available
  • La Famiglia Ristorante & Pizzeria – curbside pickup or delivery with seven miles
  • Jack’s Café in Verona – curbside and delivery - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Rock ‘n’ Joe Coffee Bar Caldwell – curbside/door pick up with a 15 percent discount on all orders over $10 plus free delivery service
  • Smith & Co. – complimentary local delivery
  • Xunta Tapas Espana – curbside pickup
  • Eurogrill — 15 percent discount on pickup/delivery orders over $20
  • Franco's — pickup/delivery offered only with option for no-contact delivery upon request
  • Gelatti’s Caldwell – open for curbside pickup, takeout and delivery through Uber Eats (pickup fees waived) and Door Dash. Essential supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels, milk, butter, orange juice and cases of water will also be offered for purchase. Hours of operation will be 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

TAPinto West Essex joins in encouraging the community to support local merchants during this time and will continue to provide more information as it becomes available.