Jackson council members address ongoing health crisis

JACKSON – Mayor Michael Reina and members of the Jackson Township Council addressed  the COVID-19 pandemic at a council meeting on March 24 which was live-streamed to the public.

As of 2 p.m. March 24, there were 23 cases of individuals with coronavirus in Jackson, according to the Ocean County Health Department website.

Nearby communities showed Lakewood with 84 cases, Manchester with six cases and Plumsted with two cases, according to the website.

Council President Barry Calogero said the past few weeks have been an experience for everyone.

“Despite the concerns over COVID-19, we have seen people come together to help one another. We have seen new measures to sustain normalcy, we have seen virtual education, telework, staff rotations, flex hours, and some grocery stores have even opened up early in the morning to allow senior citizens the opportunity to shop without a crowded store,” Calogero said.

He said Jackson officials and employees are working to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“Rest assured, Jackson is taking measures to control the spread of this virus, to keep its residents safe and out of danger while protecting the municipal workers who are ensuring the town’s business continues during this epidemic crisis,” Calogero said.

He thanked first responders for their sacrifice and continued commitment to Jackson.

“Furthermore, I would like to recognize the business owners, municipal workers, farmers and truck drivers who continue to bring much needed resources to the residents of Jackson,” Calogero said.

Calogero said he and Reina have been in contact on a daily basis.

“We have instituted all of President Trump’s and Gov. Murphy’s recommendations and added a few of our own as well. As you all have come to expect, demand and deserve, the mayor and council will continue Jackson’s tradition of ensuring openness and transparency during the conduct of public meetings, embracing modern technology,” he said.

Calogero thanked Reina, Business Administrator Terence Wall, Municipal Clerk Janice Kisty and Township Attorney Greg McMuckin.

Reina said Jackson’s welfare, health and public safety will remain the administration’s top priority.

“We have looked at everything we can possibility look at, we have taken the measures directly from the governor’s office. I am in constant contact with them, a minimum of twice a week, but usually a briefing a day.

“Anything we can do to ensure (residents’) safety, we are going to do and then go above it. In the meantime, (residents) have to help us out with social distancing and staying as close to the nest as you can until this horrible virus passes us by,” Reina said.

Councilman Alex Sauickie thanked residents for supporting local businesses and specifically two residents for starting a Facebook group called Jackson NJ Takeout/Delivery & Local Merchants Amid Covid-19.

“It is a (Facebook group) that was opened in the last week by two business people in Jackson and within a couple of days it had over 2,000 followers and it supports what Councilman (Martin) Flemming was talking about, buying local and supporting our local businesses. I think it is great, it just shows our community support that is going on,” Sauickie said.

He praised Jackson’s teachers who are instructing students remotely and said, “Our teachers are working very hard. It is certainly not a vacation for them.”

Flemming praised Jackson’s emergency services personnel for stepping up during the pandemic.

“(There have been) constant meetings between the Office of Emergency Management, emergency medical services, fire and police and they made all the adaptions they needed to make to continue their high level of service,” Flemming said.

Councilman Andrew Kern commended medical personnel and all those who are still working.

“All the people at hospitals, the medical staffs, and all the people who are still working to keep government running, the state running, bringing all the goods and services we still need to the stores, all the people at the grocery stores who are still working.

“All those people are still working so the economy can go on and the township can still function, and I want to send out my sincere thanks to each and every one of them,” Kern said.

He asked residents who visit Jackson’s parks to practice social distancing.

“There were a number of pick-up football games and basketball games, and things like that. Please, even for the kids and younger people who think they are OK, it is about spreading it back to the older people who surround you, your grandparents, your parents, and other people with existing conditions who have a very big worry about this outbreak. Please, everybody, stay safe,” Kern said.