HOLMDEL – It has been eight months since Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency in New Jersey after the COVID-19 virus entered the state.
According to The New York Times, New Jersey is approaching 300,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and about 16,665 deaths as of mid-November. On Nov. 17, state officials reported there were 4,026 new cases, which was an increase of about 1,800 cases from the previous day.
Holmdel Mayor Gregory Buontempo, like other mayors in New Jersey, has seen his community deal with the effects of the pandemic. In an interview with the Independent this week, he discussed the ongoing health crisis.
“Holmdel has been one of the leaders among New Jersey municipalities in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the state prepares for an expected second wave of the pandemic, our main concern is that residents may be ‘COVID-weary’ and may become too comfortable, resulting in them not adhering to the guidance and preventative measures recommended by the state, the county and the township.
“Right now our priority is providing our residents with the most up-to-date information about the pandemic, as well as encouraging them to follow all recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state.
“We are using our township website, our social media and robo-calls to get the latest information, policy and updated case numbers out to the public,” Buontempo said.
The mayor said municipal officials want to support local business operators in any way they can. He said officials have created and published a business resource guide; provided the opportunity for restaurants and bars to transition to outdoor dining; and recently enacted an ordinance to make outdoor dining a permanent fixture for the duration of the pandemic.
“We hope to be a conduit to help facilitate our local businesses in applying for funding through the federal CARES Act. Local business owners should always feel free to contact the township administrator’s office if they have any questions or concerns related to operations during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Finally, Buontempo said, “Public safety remains a top priority of the Township Committee. I encourage all residents to keep up the effort and remain vigilant. It is imperative that we all stay up to date on the latest information and guidance from the CDC.
“Together we can work to ensure that our community remains a safe place to live, work and recreate. If residents have questions about our COVID-19 response or if I can be of assistance, they can always contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org,” he said.