Monmouth County officials close access to county buildings

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The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders and county officials have closed access to county buildings to protect and keep residents safe from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The closing of county buildings took effect on March 16.

“Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our residents and so … we have decided to take immediate actions to prevent the COVID-19 in Monmouth County libraries, parks and public buildings,” Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said.

“We want to remind residents to remain calm and make sure they have the most accurate and up-to-date information, which they can get from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the New Jersey Department of Health. Please help us spread facts, not fear,” Arnone said.

All Monmouth County Library branches and Monmouth County Park System buildings were closed to the public beginning March 14. The freeholders said the closings would remain in effect through at least March 22.

County golf courses and park spaces will remain open.

Beginning March 16, public access will be restricted from all buildings with the exception of the Monmouth County Division of Social Services (MCDSS).

For MCDSS, protections will be put into place to ensure there is no physical contact between Monmouth County employees and residents seeking services, according to a press release.

All Monmouth County employees will report to work and will be available to residents by phone and by email, according to the press release.

“We understand the COVID-19 situation is unsettling for some people and want to arm our residents with the information they need,” Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley said.

“A Monmouth County Health Department phone bank will open at 9 a.m. March 16 for residents who have any questions and concerns about COVID-19, or who need to talk to someone about how this situation is affecting them,” Kiley said.

Crisis counselors from the Monmouth County Division of Behavioral Health are available through the phone banks to help residents who may be experiencing stress or anxiety due to the evolving situation, according to the press release.

The Monmouth County Health Department phone bank may be reached at 732-845-2070.