The Lawrence Township Municipal Building, which has been closed to the public since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is on target to re-open July 7.
The decision to open the doors to the municipal building was made after Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order June 4, formally terminating New Jersey’s public health emergency as a result of the pandemic.
The governor’s decision was due to the decreasing cases and hospitalizations, and of more New Jersey residents getting vaccinated, Municipal Manager Kevin Nerwinski said.
When the Lawrence Township Municipal Building is reopened to the public, persons who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be required to wear face masks, Nerwinski said. Proof of vaccination will not be requested.
Visitors will enter and leave the municipal building through the north entrance, off the parking lot between the municipal building and the police/court building, Nerwinski said. A staffed reception desk will remain at the entrance to greet visitors and direct them to their destination.
While vaccinated persons will not be required to wear face masks, municipal employees who will have interactions with the public will be encouraged to wear them, Nerwinski said.
Since the Lawrence Township Municipal Building closed to the public on March 16, 2020, a system was put in place that allows residents to drop off property tax payments and to conduct other business with the township. They may drop off tax payments and other documents in a secure, locked box at the north entrance to the building.
The system has worked well and with minimal inconvenience to visitors and employees, Nerwinski said. It is essential that the municipal government is able to continue its operations and deliver the expected necessary services, he said.
Creating a safer environment within the municipal building and among the staff by limiting their interactions with the public during the pandemic allowed them to remain healthy and to carry out their job responsibilities, he said.
In a related move that took effect June 7, in-person and group meetings are allowed to take place after 4:30 p.m., which is the end of the work day for municipal employees. Vaccinated persons are not required to wear a face mask and they will not be asked for proof of vaccination.