Local Officials Cautious About Virus, But Eager To Reopen

Photo by Jason Allentoff

  MANCHESTER – Township officials are urging to residents to remain cautious noting that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet despite the move to the governor’s gradual reopening of the state.

  However, some council members are also calling for the governing body to do what it could to encourage higher office holding officials to put some pressure on Gov. Phil Murphy to move a bit quicker in allowing some recreational facilities to open up and to allow businesses to reopen.

  During a recent council meeting Council President Sam Fusaro encouraged residents not to “get a feeling of comfort yet though we are starting to open up. There is no vaccine yet. We still have to watch what we do and take care of ourselves so please be cautious and enjoy all the restaurants that are opening in Manchester.”

  Mayor Ken Palmer discussed the status of township facilities that are being reactivated by the lifting of some restrictions in the state.

  “Regarding our recreation, our lakes are open and we had a very good week. The paddle boats at the lake are open but the splash pad is not. There are restrictions from the governor’s office about splash pads so we have not opened those,” Mayor Palmer added.

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  The mayor noted while parks were open, equipment and basketball courts were still closed “but we are moving in the right direction although relatively slow.”

  The township approved a resolution which authorized temporary outside dining involving outdoor seating of township restaurants which began following the governor’s order on June 15. This is being done in cooperation with the fire marshal and zoning board offices.

   In some cases, establishments who have an alcohol beverage permit needed to get an extension of premises with the state Alcohol Beverage Commission.

  Councilman Robert Hudak said he was glad to see more businesses in the township opening up and having outdoor dining, non-essential retail motor vehicle and child care centers.

  “I really encourage everyone to patronize our local businesses and restaurants I know a number of them are really hurting right now and hopefully more places will open up soon,” Hudak said.

  Township Clerk Sabina Martin noted that employment fingerprinting costs are being refunded through a resolution to those involved in the now cancelled summer programs due to coronavirus.

  Councilman Craig Wallis expressed his view that the reopening needed to accelerate a bit more. He thanked the mayor for adding his voice to other mayors in Ocean County in a recent letter that went to Gov. Murphy asking him to “speed things up a little bit” regarding the restarting of New Jersey.

  “It has been way to long and one man has the power to put a lot of businesses out of business and keep people locked up. It is time to start moving things along. I’d like to see the council draft a letter to our higher legislative branches.”