Updated at 6:40 p.m. March 15.
WESTFIELD, NJ — A Westfield resident has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Little information is known so far about the man or woman, except that the person is in their 40s and remaining stable while managing symptoms at home.
Mayor Shelley Brindle wrote a letter to residents Sunday morning urging people to self-isolate to slow the spread of the disease. Read it here.
All town playgrounds and fields, as well as those on Westfield Public Schools’ properties, have been closed to discourage organized group gatherings, Brindle said Sunday evening.
“Because these are unprecedented times calling for unprecedented measures, effective March 17, we will be closing foot traffic within all non-essential businesses in the downtown Special Improvement District (SID), with the exception of pharmacies, health care providers and grocery stores,” Brindle wrote in an announcement. Restaurant pick-up and deliveries will still be allowed, she said.
“We are also asking all non-essential businesses outside of the downtown SID with any public interaction to voluntarily comply with this request — including restaurants, shops, gyms and daycare centers that have continued to remain open to the public. Dental offices should be open for emergency services only.”
The Westfield Police Department announced that it would take non-emergency police reports by phone.
New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced a two-week suspension of all municipal court sessions.
AMC movie theaters nationwide, including local AMC Mountainside 10, are capping ticket availability to 50% of the normal seating capacity, the company announced. It’s one of many steps businesses are taking to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Westfield Public Schools announced Friday that schools will be closed indefinitely beginning Monday as staff and students prepare for distance learning.
The Union County Vocational Technical Schools, too, will be closed on Monday, March 16, and will remain closed until further notice. Remote instruction is set to begin on Tuesday, March 17.
Meanwhile, children at Holy Trinity School in Westfield cleared out their lockers Friday in preparation for online learning slated to begin at the private Catholic school Monday, a school spokeswoman said.
The Archdiocese of Newark, which encompasses the Holy Trinity School, had ordered all parishes in its jurisdiction shut schools.
The school closures were among many around the state, including numerous municipal services that either shut down or transferred to digital operations to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
“We have been and are now actively working with our public school districts on extended closure plans to prepare for a potential statewide closure,” Governor Phil Murphy said Friday. “For many districts, that time is now. For others, we’re working to ensure that when their time comes, they will be prepared to provide all critical services for their community. We’re working toward the inevitability that every district will be closed for a prolonged period of time.”
“Each district and community has their own set of challenges and reality. We will be guided not just by public health needs, but also ensuring the individual needs of those districts are being met,” Gov. Murphy added. “We must take into account the significant educational and socioeconomic impacts which occur when schools are closed for extended periods. We need to ensure solutions to mitigate these impacts a statewide closure would have before such a declaration. We must ensure that we have plans for a child’s well-being, food security, and remote-learning as we close down our schools.”
Click here for a list of canceled recreation department and town sponsored activities.
Here’s what else in and around Westfield that has been impacted by COVID-19:
The Westfield Memorial Library is closed beginning Sunday, March 15, the library announced. No fines or DVD fees will accrue while we are closed, it said. Check the library’s Facebook page for updates.
The Westfield Area YMCA is suspending all facility usage beginning Sunday, March 15 at 6 p.m. through at least Saturday, March 28, including full-day early learning programs, at the Elm Street, Bauer and Garwood facilities.
The JCC of Central New Jersey, located in Scotch Plains, is closed for at least 14 days beginning Saturday, March 14. Check the JCC’s website for updates.
The New Jersey Festival Orchestra’s Saturday opera was called off.
The Furniture Assist used linen drive is suspended until further notice, it’s organizers announced.
The Westfield High School play, “Chicago: High School Edition,” which was originally set for Thursday through Saturday, nights has been postponed.
The Roosevelt Intermediate School play, “Matilda,” set for March 9 – 21 is postponed, organizers said.