BRICK – Township residents who wish to participate in Trick or Treat this year should keep their porch lights on, even during daylight hours, said Mayor John G. Ducey during the most recent Township Council meeting.
Homeowners might not want their kids to Trick or Treat, or they might not be comfortable with having strangers coming up to their door during the public health crisis, even though their house might be decorated, he said.
“So it might be decorated still for Halloween, but they might not necessarily be giving out candy or wanting to do that,” Ducey said.
Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, so it’s likely Trick or Treaters will get an early start.
“We’re going to try to get the word out to put on your porch lights,” he said. “That means it’s an open invitation for the kids to come on up and get whatever goodies and treats you’re giving out this year.”
Outdoor Dining In Cold Months
In other township news, the governing body has provided additional guidance to restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic that would enable them to serve outside as the weather gets colder.
Governor Phil Murphy’s current executive order allows restaurants to fill just 25 percent of their indoor seating capacity, and the state has not provided guidance on when indoor dining will be permitted at a fuller capacity.
The council passed an amendment to an outdoor dining ordinance detailing modifications that can be made to existing outdoor dining areas.
Those modifications include tents and existing shade structures that can be used with three sides down, leaving one open for access/egress, explained Township Business Administrator Joanne Bergin in an email after the meeting.
“That will help ensure air circulation while providing some barrier to the weather,” she said.
The material used to enclose the tent on three sides must be of an approved material for this purpose and compliant with NFPA 701, she added.
Tarps are not permitted as the material does not have a fire-resistant rating, Bergin said. Also, restaurant owners must have clearly marked exits, especially now when it’s getting dark earlier, and they must be kept free of any barriers.
Small portable propane heaters can be used only if the fuel tanks are located outside of the enclosure and they meet manufacturer required clearances from combustible materials, which includes 20-pound propane tanks.
Larger heating systems where the combustion area is provided from outside the enclosure are acceptable.
The process established for outdoor dining would remain in effect from when the ordinance was first established, Bergin said; zoning permits are required.
“Restaurant owners need to provide a drawing or some illustration of how they intend to provide heat and/or additional lighting, along with details of modifying existing tents,” Bergin wrote.
“If anyone is proposing any changes to the existing footprint for outside dining, Traffic Safety and the Fire Safety Bureau will conduct another site visit.”
Bergin said the township can only work within the confines established by State Executive Orders. If those guidelines change, the township has no choice but to adapt accordingly.
Township officials expressed their condolences to Council Vice President Art Halloran for the September 15 loss of his wife Mary Jane, 73.
“I’ve only known Mary Jane for two years, but in that time I came to appreciate, and very much enjoy her wit and her candor,” said Councilwoman Andrea Zapcic. “She was like a breath of fresh air – thank you for sharing her with us.”
Councilwoman Heather deJong said that Mary Jane Halloran was an exceptional lady with great class.
“She was one to never shy away from speaking her mind, which was one of her best traits, in my humble opinion, and was Art’s greatest cheerleader in everything he did,” she said.
The next council meeting will be on Tuesday, October 13 at 7 p.m.