The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders held a press conference on March 20 to announce the signing of a Monmouth County Emergency Declaration.
“Our top priority remains the safety of our residents and our employees during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic,” Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “We feel that a Monmouth County Emergency Declaration is the best way for us to ensure we are able to take swift action to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the residents of Monmouth County.”
The emergency declaration gives the county the ability to restrict access to county facilities, activate and staff the county emergency operations center and use county employees where needed, including assignments outside of their normal work locations, according to a press release.
“It is challenging to work under these circumstances, but this emergency declaration reinforces the fact that every effort is being made to protect essential personnel and residents of Monmouth County in the safest possible manner,” Sheriff Shaun Golden said.
All public access restrictions to county buildings and programs will be extended through April 3. This includes all Monmouth County library branches and the Monmouth County Park System buildings, according to the press release.
The Monmouth County Division of Social Services will continue to accept clients in the reception area where precautions have been put into place to ensure there is no physical contact between Monmouth County employees and the residents seeking services, according to the press release.
Alternative work plans are being put into place for county employees and they will still be available to residents by phone and by email.
“We know this pandemic is not only affecting our workforce. I have spoken to many business owners throughout the county and I want every small business owner to know we stand in support and want to help you in any way we can,” Arnone said. “One way I am trying to help the business community is by joining Middletown Mayor Tony Perry in the ‘Takeout Thursday’ initiative.
“This initiative encourages everyone to order takeout or to buy a gift card from a local restaurant or business every Thursday and then use the hashtag #TakeoutThursday to promote these businesses online.
“I hope you will all join me in helping our friends and neighbors who are trying to operate in alternative ways during this challenging time,” Arnone said.
The Health Department has established a COVID-19 hotline to answer general questions. The number is 732-845-2070 and it is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“If you or anyone you know is having feelings of anxiety or stress because of COVID-19, call the Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline, which also has crisis counselors available,” Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley said.
“The coronavirus epidemic can make many of our residents feel overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. Make sure to take breaks from social media and the news. Take care of your body … get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, exercise and avoid alcohol and other drugs. Find activities you enjoy or talk to people who you trust about your concerns,” Kiley said.
For more information and updates from Monmouth County, visit www.visitmonmouth.com