Woodbridge new COVID-19 cases remain under five, Want-A-Smoothie joins weekly farmers market

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WOODBRIDGE – The township reported nine new COVID-19 cases over a four-day period, which brings the total number of cases to 1,832, according to Mayor John McCormac in his coronavirus report on Aug 7.

Zero new cases of COVID-19 were reported for Aug. 3, three new cases were reported for Aug. 4, five new cases reported for Aug. 5, and one new case was reported for Aug. 6.

“That’s an average of less than three per day this week which matches our average in August so far,” McCormac said. “It has been 24 days since July 14 when we last had a daily total of more than five cases. July was our best month so far and right now August is on pace to be even better.”

The number of COVID-19 cases include East Jersey State Prison and a number of related state facilities in the Avenel section of the township. The state reported 23 new cases from their facilities over a four-day period, which brings the total number of cases at the facilities to 804.

There are 68 COVID-19 cases reported from St. Joseph’s Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility. The residents at St. Joseph’s Nursing Home devastated by COVID-19 were initially counted in the township’s statistics before residents were moved to another facility out of town on March 25. On April 16, residents started moving back home after a massive cleaning effort. On May 4, the last resident moved back to the facility.

The township is reporting statistics from the state facilities and nursing home separately. McCormac said tracking the numbers separately – general population, state facilities and health facilities – gives the township a better indication of the real impact on its everyday residents.

The township has lost 99 residents to COVID-19 in the general population, 21 residents lost from state facilities, and 28 residents lost from the St. Joseph’s Nursing Home.

Outside dining is permitted in 52 restaurants and bars in the township. A list generated of local businesses and restaurants are on the township’s website and Facebook pages.
Indoor dining at 25% capacity – no more than 100 patrons – was expected to begin on July 2. Gov. Phil Murphy announced the decision to delay the reopening of indoor dining indefinitely on June 29.

Hair salons, hair braiding, barber shops, cosmetology shops, spas, massage parlors, nail salons, tanning salons, electrolysis facilities, tattoo parlors, daycare centers and non-essential businesses that sell bicycles, cars, used cars, boats and motorcycles reopened on June 22 as well as outdoor pools.

The outdoor gathering limit increased to 500 on July 6 with no limit for political or religious activities. On Aug. 3, the governor limited indoor gatherings to 25% for a room’s capacity, with a maximum of 25 people.

Highland Grove Pool and Spray Park on Highland Terrace opened June 22.

Senior centers Colonia, Hickory in Fords, Sycamore in Port Reading and Five Branches in Iselin, reopened on June 22, on a limited basis. There will be no luncheons or large gatherings, but seniors can call in advance to schedule times to visit for crafts, games or other recreational activities, McCormac said.

The township’s Farmer’s Market reopened on June 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Town Hall parking lot, 1 Main St. The market will include Jersey Fresh Produce from Alstede Farms, D’Orsi’s Bakery, Ice Cream Emergency, and Popcorn for the People. Want-A-Smoothie joined the number of vendors on Aug. 8 to offer table drinks. On Aug. 15 the Farmers Market will hold a Earth Day 2020 theme. The market will run through Sept. 26.

Woodbridge Center and all indoor malls reopened on June 29. Woodbridge Center will open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information visit www.woodbridgecenter.com.

Weeklong summer camps began on July 6 at Merrill Park, The Club at Woodbridge’s KidSports and the Woodbridge Community Center. The Avenel Performing Arts Center is offering camps for singing, dancing and acting and Curtains Restaurant is offering camps for cooking. The township is holding a number of recreation programs, summer enrichment classes for robotics, computers, sign language and many virtual camps will be available.
All four locations of the Woodbridge Township Public Library reopened at 25% capacity on July 6, but will remain closed on the weekends. Visits are limited to one hour.

The main library is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday. The Fords, Colonia and Iselin branch libraries are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. For more information visit woodbridgelibrary.org or call 732-634-4450.

The Woodbridge Library system invites township residents to enter the Summer Reading Challenge where children who read just 30 minutes per day can log in and win prizes with a chance to win an ipad. Adults can also win an ipad plus local restaurant gift certificates. Registration is quick and easy at www.woodbridgelibrary.org.

We Feed Woodbridge, a coalition of 11 food pantries and a soup kitchen, surpassed its donation goal with more than $102,000 in monetary donations plus thousands of pounds of food in six weeks.

With national reports indicating that as many as one in five children suffer from food deprivation and township officials reporting a 33% increase in utilization of the township’s food pantries, community efforts to collect food and money really never ends, McCormac said.

The soup kitchen at Trinity Episcopal Church, 650 Rahway Ave., in Woodbridge is open again from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday for a hot lunch to go.

The township is taking steps toward reopening Town Hall. Most interaction with local government can be done by phone, mail or on-line. Township officials are also accepting appointments if a person needs to meet with someone to conduct business. Phone numbers are on the township’s website or call 732-634-4500.

Hematology and Oncology Associates at 540 Green St. in Iselin and Excel Urgent Care at 740 Route 1 north in Iselin are offering antibody testing. For more information call Hematology and Oncology Associates at 732-913-8500 and for Excel Urgent Care call 732-874-5507.

For hours of operation for the Skyline Mini golf course and batting cages behind the Woodbridge Community Center call 732-596-4000.

Township officials have decided to cancel Summerfest 2020, which had been moved from June 6 to Sept. 5 in Merrill Park, Iselin, due to the concerns of the number of people gathering at one place.

Instead officials are extending the township’s Summer Concert Series by a week with the bands that would have played Summerfest 2020 – Real Diamond, a Neal Diamond cover band, will perform on Sept. 14, and Saints in the City, a Bruce Springsteen cover band, will perform on Sept. 15.

The township has canceled its annual fireworks display, due to the uncertainty of limits on outside gatherings. It had been initially moved from July 2 to Sept. 6 in Alvin P. Williams Park in Sewaren. The township has also canceled the annual New Jersey Senior Olympics and the Paranormal Expo.

The township’s summer concert series began on July 6 – Doo Wop Monday nights of the 50s and 60s, Rock and Roll Tuesday night tribute bands from the 70s and 80s, Eclectic Wednesday nights, Local Band Thursday nights and Country Band Sundays – at concert field behind Woodbridge High School to allow proper social distancing.

All shows will begin at 7:30 p.m., shows on Sundays will begin at 7 p.m. Concerts are free with food and refreshments for sale. The township will collect boxes and cans of non-perishable foods at the shows for the local food pantries.

Woodbridge Addiction Services will present Cosmic from 6-10 p.m. on Aug. 14 at the concert field. Tickets at $15. All proceeds will benefit Road to Hope Charity, which provides support to recoverees. For more information contact christopher.powers@twp.woodbridge.nj.us.

The township will hold its annual 9-11 ceremony at the concert field behind Woodbridge High School on Sept. 11. Along with remembering the township residents who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, township officials will remember residents who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and other complications. Township officials will also remember the first responder heroes who risked their lives in 2001 as well as honor police, fire, first aid employees and volunteers and health care workers who risked their lives during the pandemic.

Bulk pickups have restarted. To schedule a bulk pickup call 732-738-1311 ext. 3600.
With the increased limits on outside gatherings, the township is permitting individual garage and sales again as well as block parties, contact the Township Clerk’s office at 732-634-4500 for a permit.

A fall garage sale schedule is set for each ward – Woodbridge proper, Port Reading, Sewaren or Avenel on Sept. 12-13, Fords, Keasbey, Hopelawn or Menlo Park terrace on Sept. 26-27, Iselin on Oct. 3-4 and Colonia on Oct. 10-11.

Basketball hoops and playground equipment at municipal parks are now open for use.
Township officials remind the public organized games are not permitted and encourage people to be careful and diligent about cleaning equipment before and after usage. The township will continue to also diligently clean the equipment. Non-contact organized sports began on June 22.

Playgrounds at county parks – Merrill Park in Iselin, Alvin P. Williams Park in Sewaren, Warren Park in Woodbridge, and Fords Park in Fords – reopened July 2.

The mayor continues to urge neighbors to check on people who live alone and cannot leave their homes and to continue to follow the rules and guidelines for social distancing, good personal hygiene, proper disposal of trash and avoiding non-essential travel. He also continues to warn residents of potential fundraising scams as well as contact tracing scams for COVID-19.

For more COVID-19 information, visit covid19.nj.gov. Visit www.twp.woodbridge.nj.us for local information.

For Middlesex County information visit discovermiddlesex.com/covid19/ or www.middlesexcountynj.gov/covid19.