Cranbury’s officials address plan for municipal operations during outbreak

Cranbury's Town Hall on 23 N Main St. during the afternoon on March 17.ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF
Cranbury's Town Hall on 23 N Main St. during the afternoon on March 17.ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF

Members of the Cranbury Township Committee have modified municipal operations to enhance social distancing in regard to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The decision was announced after a three-hour emergency meeting with the Office of Emergency Management on the morning of March 16.

According to municipal officials, Town Hall, the Cranbury School and the Cranbury Public Library are closed to the public until further notice.

All scheduled meetings of municipal boards will be cancelled until mid-April.

“As of now the Township Committee meeting is still set for March 23. We will have a very short agenda,” Mayor Matt Scott said. “Originally, we decided to have (members of the public) wait in the vestibule, but we have decided to take out about half the chairs in the meeting room and space them properly, so there can be public comment.”

He said municipal officials knew they had to modify township operations to follow recommendations from the state.

“There is some concern from residents about people who may be in need of assistance due to self-quarantining and social distancing. People are looking for ways to help the elderly and individuals who have a handicap,” Scott said. “We are starting a process where will try to gather up those needs and get a database together to assist volunteer groups in aiding those individuals in the future.”

Scott said that as a private citizen, he would reach out to nonprofit organizations in town to discuss volunteer efforts if that should become necessary.

“The first part of that in my mind is having people in various neighborhoods identify people who may be at risk and getting those people in one database, so we know where they are in case things get worse with the outbreak,” the mayor said. “We will reach out to them and find out if they are in need of anything. I will reach out to the nonprofits to see if we could muster up the forces.”

Officials said there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cranbury as of March 16. There were more than 10 confirmed cases in Middlesex County as of that date.

The Cranbury Presbyterian Church’s Skeet’s Pantry will be open to accept donations of food.

“If we work to reduce the systemic risk and act for the greater good of the community by following best practices, we give ourselves the best chance of reducing the overall death count and hopefully not having any Cranbury residents too severely impacted,” Committeeman James Taylor said.

Most restaurants in town are closed. A few restaurants are open for take-out, according to municipal officials.

“I am confident in the operational plans developed by Police Chief Rickey Varga, Township Administrator Denise Marabello and the Township Committee. Mayor Scott is doing everything possible to focus us on the situation and in ensuring residents are kept aware of the actions taken to keep our community safe,” Taylor said.

According to officials, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, Plainsboro, is not set up for on-site or walk-in testing for COVID-19.

“If people follow the practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General with cleaning surfaces, washing their hands and social distancing, I am confident the outbreak will be less severe, not absent,” Taylor said.