COVID-19

COVID-19 Discussion with Dr. Arnold Pallay. On January 26, 2021, Dr. Arnold Pallay, long-time area physician and Vice President of the Montville Board of Health, spoke to the community at the Pine Brook Jewish Center on COVID-19 testing, diagnosis, treatment, vaccines, and post-COVID-19 recovery.

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The Montville Health Department, along with other Township Departments, continues to closely monitor the continuing COVID-19 global pandemic. We are in regular communication with the Morris County Office of Health Management and the NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) to ensure that accurate and timely information is being provided to residents, businesses, organizations, and visitors to our community.

This page includes:

  • An executive summary of COVID-19 in Montville to date
  • Data and reports about cases among Montville residents (updated regularly)
  • General information about COVID-19, case investigation, and contact tracing
  • News items (updated regularly)
  • Additional resources for more information

Please check this page regularly for the most up to date information about COVID-19 in Montville. Alternatively, you can also sign up for notifications of changes to this page by clicking on the top of this page on "I Want To..." and then selecting "Notifications".

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FAQ:

Why is it so difficult right now to get an appointment to be vaccinated? Currently, the limiting factor is the amount of vaccine being received by the state. There are currently 4 million NJ residents who are eligible recipients for the vaccine as per state guidelines (please see below). At this time, demand for the vaccine still vastly exceeds supply being sent to the state each week. 

There are currently over 200 vaccination sites located throughout the state, with several located here in Morris County. With vaccine being in extremely short supply,  additional vaccination locations are not being approved by the state to operate at this time. It is also important to note that increasing the number of locations where the vaccine can be given will not cause a corresponding increase in the amount of vaccine available. Regardless of current limitations due to lack of available vaccine, several municipalities in Morris County, including Montville Township, are currently planning in advance so that we may have an opportunity to play an important role in the distribution of the vaccine at the local level when it does become more widely available.

The Montville Health Department is in daily communication with the NJ Department of Health, and the Morris County Division of Public Health, in order to do everything we can to prevent new cases of COVID-19, manage existing cases of COVID-19, and facilitate vaccinations for our residents. Please check this page frequently for new information, as it is updated each business day. The Township also issued a January 29, 2021 press release that also addresses vaccine availability, as well as some other pandemic topics.

Who can get vaccinated? Vaccine is being distributed in a phased process, with different groups being categorized by risk. A list of eligible recipients can be found by clicking here: https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/who-is-eligible-for-vaccination-in-new-jersey-who-is-included-in-the-vaccination-phases

How fast and how widely vaccine can be distributed to additional groups of people depends greatly on how much vaccine is received by the state. Right now, vaccine remains very limited. As additional vaccine is received here in New Jersey, it will be made more widely available. 

Where can I get vaccinated? Please click here: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-eligible-recipients for a list of all vaccine locations open to eligible recipients. All sites are supposed to be open to all NJ residents who are eligible recipients. 

How do I pre-register with the state scheduling system? Click here: https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/ to pre-register through the state's NJ Vaccine Scheduling System (NJVSS). The state pre-registration system is linked to multiple vaccination sites. When it is time to schedule an appointment, you will be emailed by the state through this system. 

The state also has a toll-free call center at 1-855-568-0545 with live agents to answer general questions and to help people who don't have a computer make an appointment to receive the vaccine. 

How do I pre-register and get an appointment at the Morris County Mega Vaccination Site? Please click here to pre-register: https://atlantichealth.org/covidvaccine, and to sign up for text notifications of appointment availability. The county pre-registration system is only linked to the Morris County site. We recommend that those who live, work, and study in Morris County pre-register with both the state and the county, and to sign up for text notifications with the county for when appointments become available. 

The county also has a COVID Hotline at 973-829-8250 with live agents to answer questions about the county's vaccination effort. 

Have general questions about the Morris County Mega Vaccination Site? Please click here: https://www.morriscountynj.gov/Residents/Health/Coronavirus/Vaccination.

Have general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination clinics? Click here: NJDOH COVID-19 Vaccination page. You can also call the Montville Health Department at 973-331-3316.

Have questions about vaccine availability? Click here: https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/announcements/all-announcements/covid-19-vaccine-availability-update. Currently, NJ is receiving approximately 100,000 doses per week, with over 4 million residents now eligible to be vaccinated.

Want to volunteer at the Morris County vaccination site? Medically-trained and non-medically trained personnel can sign up for the Morris County Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) by clicking here: https://www.morriscountynj.gov/Residents/Health/Volunteer-for-the-Medical-Reserve-Corps

Trying to find where to get a COVID-19 test? Click here: NJDOH Test Site Finder. Please note that reputable test sites accept insurance, and only directly charge patients who do not have insurance. We recommend that you avoid testing sites and mobile testing services who do not accept insurance and who charge the patient directly. 

Free testing is available to all those who live, work, and study in Morris County at the Morris County testing site at County College of Morris. To make an appointment, please click here: https://booknow.appointment-plus.com/b8hq2y7k/. These are saliva PCR test kits. These tests are limited to 2 per month per individual.  

Tested positive? Click here for NJDOH Instructions for those who test positive

Tested negative? Click here for NJDOH Instructions for those who test negative

Trying to verify if someone who is calling you is a Montville Contact Tracer? Our contact tracers work during the work week, evenings, and weekends. They include: 

  • Michele Guarneri, Public Health Nurse Supervisor
  • Barbara Zigarelli, Public Health Nurse
  • Gina Miranda-Diaz, Public Health Nurse
  • Jessica Wenz, Contact Tracer
  • Kritika Singh, Contact Tracer
  • Kimberly McClosky, Contact Tracer
  • Hayah Shahata, Contact Tracer

Looking for support resources for a child in crisis? Please click here: NJ Children's System of Care

Questions about masks and how to wear and clean them?   Click here:  CDC: How to Select, Wear, and Clean Masks

Observed a violation of state Executive Orders?   Please call the Montville Police Department at 973-257-4300, or the Montville Health Department at 973-331-3316, or you can file it online at: NJ Executive Order Violation Report

Looking for data on cases in Montville?    Please see the "Data and Reports" section below.

Looking for information on case investigation and contact tracing?    Please see the "Case Investigation and Contact Tracing" section below.

Looking for news items, including Executive Orders and other state directives?    Please see the "News Items" section below. 

Looking for additional resources?    Please see the "Additional Resources" section below.

Other questions?   Please call the Montville Health Department at 973-331-3316 or email us at health@montvillenj.org.

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The Montville Health Department, along with other Township Departments, continues to closely monitor the continuing COVID-19 global pandemic. We are in regular communication with the Morris County Office of Health Management and the NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) to ensure that accurate and timely information is being provided to residents, businesses, organizations, and visitors to our community.

This page includes:

  • An executive summary of COVID-19 in Montville to date
  • Data and reports about cases among Montville residents (updated regularly)
  • General information about COVID-19, case investigation, and contact tracing
  • News items (updated regularly)
  • Additional resources for more information

Please check this page regularly for the most up to date information about COVID-19 in Montville. Alternatively, you can also sign up for notifications of changes to this page by clicking on the top of this page on "I Want To..." and then selecting "Notifications".

  1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

COVID-19 is spread from person to person. Vaccine has begun to be distributed across the nation and here in New Jersey, with the first doses administered on December 15, 2020 to frontline healthcare workers at Rutgers University Hospital in Newark. The vaccine will be administered in phases in order of priority: frontline healthcare workers, essential workers, and vulnerable populations. It is anticipated that the vaccine will be available to the general public in April or May of 2021. Until the majority of the population is vaccinated, we must all continue to work to break the chain of transmission and prevent new infections by keeping ill and suspected ill persons isolated and quarantined, practicing social distancing, wearing effective face coverings, and practicing good hand-washing hygiene. 

On March 21st, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 107, which directed residents to stay at home, prohibited gatherings, and closed non-essential retail businesses. As can be seen in the charts below, after a steep increase in March, the highest number of current COVID-19 cases (the person has received a positive result from a laboratory, has not yet cleared their isolation period, and the investigation is not yet closed) were seen during the month of April. This means that new cases were coming in faster than current cases were able to be closed. 

At the beginning of end of April, approximately one month after the closing of businesses, activities, and programs by the state at the end of March, and the resulting decreased number of opportunities for people to come into contact with and infect other people, the number of current cases began to decrease significantly. This trend continued in the first half of May, then remained steady from mid-May and June, to the end of the first week in July, never going above 12 current cases (the person is still under isolation and the investigation not yet closed) on any given day throughout that period.  

The number of current cases in the Township reach its lowest number, zero, in mid-July, and again in late July. The state began to allow a variety of businesses, activities, and programs to gradually resume in mid-June. Approximately one month after this resumption began, with a resulting increased number of opportunities for people to come into contact with and infect other people, a slight increase in the number of current cases was observed. There were some fluctuations, but the number of current cases did not exceed 10 from the end of June until the beginning of October.

Since the beginning of October, Montville Township, as has been seen on the county, state, national, and global level, has experienced a significant increase in cases, as was expected to occur in the fall. With other viruses such as influenza and the common cold, increases are seen as the temperatures drop, and people start spending more time indoors. It is likely that this is also a factor for the increase in COVID-19 cases. 

Regarding demographics, as can be seen in the "Cases Grouped by Age" chart in the "Data and Reports" section below, throughout the pandemic, the highest percentage of positive results (cases) has occured among the age group 30-59. Since the middle of July, the percentage of positive results among the age group 60+ has declined. Started at the end of August, there has been a slight increase in the percentage of cases among the age group 20-29. Since the beginning of October, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of positive results (cases) among the age group 0-18 years. This is similar to what has been experienced throughout the rest of Morris County and the state.

Although an increase in COVID-19 cases was expected in the fall, it was hoped that, armed with the knowledge that we now have and the safety measures that have been put into place throughout the state, we avoid the uncontrolled surge in cases here in Montville that was experienced at the beginning of the pandemic during March and April. However, at this time, we have already seen more than twice the number of new cases during this fall surge (October through January) than during the entirety of the spring surge (March through May).

We urge our community to continue to practice social distancing, wear effective face coverings, practice good respiratory and hand-washing etiquette, avoid large in-person gatherings, and to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they are made available to you. With all of us doing our part, together we can keep the number of infections, illnesses, and severe health outcomes as low as possible. 

  1. DATA AND REPORTS

For data published by the State (state and county level), please go to:  https://covid19.nj.gov/index.html#live-updates

For data published by the County (county and municipal level), please go to: https://www.morriscountynj.gov/Residents/Health/Coronavirus?BestBetMatch=covid%20test|145c3ba3-86d8-4660-90ca-a3de6bbf7bc2|6fbbdf12-40c9-447a-ba29-3d096c49fccf|en-US#cases 

For additional data summaries reported to the Board of Health (municipal level), please go to: https://montvillenj.org/347/Board-of-Health

Montville Township data:

Please note that data and reports are updated daily Monday through Friday (with the exception of Township holidays/closures), with data received up until 8:30am the date of reporting (unless otherwise noted).


Current Lab-Confirmed Positive Cases (Daily Totals): This graph represents the total number of current positive PCR test results (cases) on each individual day that have not yet cleared isolation and have not yet been closed. This number can vary daily (either increasing or decreasing) depending on the number of cases that we have received, and the number of cases that we have closed on each individual day. The exact number of current cases for each individual day can be found in the "Current Cases" column of the Daily Case Numbers table shown below these charts. 


Total Lab-Confirmed Positive Cases: This graph represents the cumulative total of all positive PCR test results (cases) that were received up until that individual day since our first confirmed case in March 2020. This number increases each day that new positive cases are received. The exact number of total cumulative cases on each individual day can be found in the "Total Cases" column of the Daily Case Numbers table shown below these charts. 


Cases Grouped by Age: This graph represents the ages of all positive PCR test results (cases) for each 7-day period and is updated every Tuesday (except Township holidays). The red data at the bottom of the graph represents the percentage of cases that fall into the age group 0-18, the blue data in the middle of the graph represents the percentage of cases that fall into the age group 19-29, the yellow data in the middle of the graph represents the percentage of cases that fall into the age group 30-59, and the purple data at the top of the graph represents the percentage of cases that fall into the age group 60-plus. Please note: This demographic information represents only those persons who sought testing, and received positive results from that test. It is not possible to know how many additional people who were also positive for COVID-19 (both symptomatic and asymptomatic) who did not get tested, or to know how the demographics of that group would affect the information represented on this chart. 


7-Day Percent Positivity: This graph represents the percent of positive PCR test results for each 7-day period and is updated every Tuesday (except Township holidays). Percent positivity is calculated by dividing the number of positive results (cases) by the sum of both positive and negative results, then multiplying by 100 to get a percentage. To ensure the highest possible accuracy in this reporting, there is a 2-week delay in order to allow time for laboratories to enter all negative results. For New Jersey, a recommended level of percent positivity is yet to be established, and is still under consideration by the New Jersey Department of Health. However, the recent travel quarantine advisory that Governor Murphy announced applies to any state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average. Further, a Johns Hopkins University website that tracks percent positivity for states in the U.S. states that the World Health Organization on May 12, 2020 recommended that before reopening, percent positivity should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days.

Daily Case Numbers: updated daily Monday through Friday (with the exception of Township holidays), with data received up until 8:30am the date of reporting (unless otherwise noted). 

Date
New cases
Total cases
Recovered/cleared cases
Total recovered/cleared cases
Current cases
03/02
10
1274
1
1231
43
03/01
3
1264
2
1230
34
02/28
4
1261
4
1228
33
02/27
6
1257
2
1224
33
02/26
6
1251
20
1222
29
02/25
6
1245
1
1202
43
02/24
7
1239
3
1201
38
02/23
7
1232
15
1198
34
02/22
6
1225
0
1183
42
02/21
0
1219
3
1183
36
02/20
3
1219
12
1180
39
02/19
8
1216
16
1168
48
02/18
5
1208
67
1152
56
02/17
11
1203
59
1085
118
02/16
1
1192
17
1026
166
02/15
4
1191
21
1009
182
02/14
8
1187
29
988
199
02/13
8
1179
12
959
220
02/12
2
1171
68
947
224
02/11
10
1169
20
879
290
02/10
10
1159
54
859
300
02/09
10
1149
11
805
344
02/08
7
1139
0
794
345
02/07
1
1132
0
794
338
02/06
7
1131
6
794
337
02/05
16
1124
11
788
336
02/04
3
1108
14
777
331
02/03
5
1105
1
763
342
02/02
15
1100
5
762
338
02/01
15
1085
5
757
328
01/31
2
1070
2
752
318
01/30
21
1068
6
750
318
01/29
13
1047
27
744
303
01/28
11
1034
6
717
317
01/27
22
1023
5
711
312
01/26
24
1001
5
706
295
01/25
0
977
0
701
276
01/24
0
977
0
701
276
01/23
9
977
1
701
276
01/22
24
968
9
700
268
01/21
5
944
0
691
253
01/20
12
939
0
691
248
01/19
10
927
0
691
236
01/18
0
917
0
691
226
01/17
6
917
0
691
226
01/16
12
911
1
691
220
01/15
7
899
0
690
209
01/14
9
892
0
690
202
01/13
13
883
9
690
193
01/12
25
870
4
681
189
01/11
4
845
0
677
168
01/10
0
841
0
677
164
01/09
17
841
10
677
164
01/08
21
824
13
667
157
01/07
5
803
4
654
149
01/06
20
798
8
650
148
01/05
22
778
7
642
136
01/04
0
756
0
635
121
01/03
13
756
0
635
121
01/02
7
743
0
635
108
01/01
12
736
10
635
101
12/31
11
724
19
625
99
12/30
16
713
9
606
107
12/29
15
697
4
597
100
12/28
0
682
0
593
89
12/27
11
682
1
593
89
12/26
0
671
0
592
79
12/25
2
671
0
592
79
12/24
8
669
7
592
77
12/23
17
661
11
585
76
12/22
7
644
8
574
70
12/21
4
637
2
566
71
12/20
0
633
0
564
69
12/19
6
633
0
564
69
12/18
4
627
2
564
63
12/17
8
623
10
562
61
12/16
5
615
17
552
63
12/15
18
610
12
535
75
12/14
12
592
6
52369
12/13
1
580
0
517
63
12/12
15
579
6
517
62
12/11
18
564
13
511
53
12/10155461049848
12/09
8
531
7
488
43
12/08
11
523
13
481
42
12/07
0
512
0
468
44
12/06
0
512
0
468
44
12/05
7
512
6
468
44
12/04
4
505
3
462
43
12/03
9
501
12
459
42
12/02
12
492
24
447
45
12/0164807
423
57
11/30
3
474
0
416
58
11/29
2
471
1
416
55
11/28
0
469
0
415
54
11/27
2
469
0
415
54
11/26
9
467
6
415
52
11/25
9
458
8
409
49
11/24
8
449
6
401
48
11/23
5
441
0
395
46
11/22
4
436
1
395
41
11/21
5
432
5
394
38
11/20
5
427
4
389
38
11/19
5
422
7
385
37
11/18
19
417
10
378
39
11/17
8
398
21
368
30
11/16
4
390
2
347
43
11/15
4
386
0
345
41
11/14
5
382
3
345
41
11/13
4
377
4
342
35
11/12
7
373
2
338
35
11/11
3
366
0
336
30
11/10
3
363
5
336
27
11/09
0
360
0
331
29
11/08
0
360
0
331
29
11/07
3
360
2
331
29
11/06
1
357
0
329
28
11/05
2
356
0
329
27
11/04
3
354
2
329
25
11/03
0
351
1
327
24
11/02
0
351
0
326
25
11/01
0
351
0
326
25
10/31
8
351
15
326
25
10/30
1
343
0
311
32
10/29
2
341
0
311
31
10/28
1
340
2
311
29
10/27
3
339
0
309
30
10/26
5
336
3
309
27
10/25
5
331
0
306
25
10/24
11
326
7
306
20
10/23
3
315
1
299
16
10/22
5
312
5
298
14
10/21
6
307
0
293
14
10/20
1
301
1
293
8
10/19
0
300
0
292
8
10/18
0
300
0
292
8
10/17
0
300
0
292
8
10/16
0
300
0
292
8
10/15
7
300
4
292
8
10/14
0
293
5
288
5
10/13
1
293
5
283
10
10/12
1
292
0
278
14
10/11
0
291
0
278
13
10/10
2
291
0
278
13
10/09
2
289
1
278
11
10/08
3
287
3
277
10
10/07
2
284
0
274
10
10/06
2
282
0
274
8
10/05
3
280
1
274
6
10/04
0
277
0
273
4
10/03
2
277
0
273
4
10/02
0
275
0
273
2
10/01
1
275
2
273
2
09/30
1
274
0
271
3
09/29
1
273
0
271
2
09/28
1
272
0
271
1
09/27
0
271
0
271
0
09/26
0
271
0
271
0
09/25
0
271
0
271
0
09/24
2
271
2
271
0
09/23
1
269
2
269
0
09/22
0
268
0
267
1
09/21
0
268
1
267
1
09/20
0
268
0
266
2
09/19
0
268
0
266
2
09/18
2
268
1
266
2
09/17
0
266
0
265
1
09/16
0
266
0
265
1
09/15
1
266
0
265
1
09/14
0
265
0
265
0
09/13
0
265
0
265
0
09/12
0
265
0
265
0
09/11
0
265
1
265
0
09/10
0
265
0
264
1
09/09
0
265
4
264
1
09/08
0
265
0
260
5
09/07
0
265
0
260
5
09/06
0
265
0
260
5
09/05
0
265
0
260
5
09/04
1
265
1
260
5
09/03
4
264
4
259
5
09/02
2
260
2
255
5
09/01
0
258
0
253
5


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* 05/14/2020: At the beginning of the pandemic, in an abundance of caution, all cases received in CDRSS were being added to the case count, and included in the raw data on this table. During the week of 5/11/20, time allowed for a careful, quadruple-checked, line-by-line review by the Health Department of all data received since the beginning of the pandemic. Upon that review, 9 past cases were identified that originally were included in the case count as Montville cases, but had been determined by contact tracers during the investigation to be residents of other jurisdictions, 2 past cases were identified that we received verbal notification from the cases that they were positive but lab results received after that were negative, and 1 past case was identified where the person contracted the virus in a different state and then returned home to Montville to recuperate. Accordingly, on 5/14/20, these 12 past cases were subtracted from the total case count of initially-reported 226 on that date and from the closed case count of initially-reported 212 on that date. The removal of these 12 past cases does not affect the number of current cases still active within the Township on 5/14/20.

contact-tracing-panel1-phone-1200x675

How are cases reported to the Health Department? How do they investigate these cases? How is contact tracing conducted? The answers to these questions, and much more information, is contained in this section.

While the majority of COVID-19 patients do not experience serious outcomes, the two groups that are most at risk for serious outcomes are the elderly, and those with other underlying health conditions.

While children do not appear to generally experience serious outcomes from COVID-19, they can and do become infected with the virus, and they can and do transmit the virus. There is also a rare but potentially fatal condition known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS) that is suspected to be associated with COVID-19 infections in children.

Persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 are under isolation from the public in their homes or in a healthcare facility. Persons who may be positive for COVID-19 and who don’t have any symptoms, or who do not yet have any symptoms, are not under isolation and are still able to move in public. Therefore, for your protection and the protection of those around you, please continue to stay home, comply with social distancing measures, frequently wash hands, cough/sneeze into elbows instead of hands, and monitor yourself for symptoms. If you experience symptoms of illness, especially fever, cough, difficulty breathing, please telephone your healthcare provider for guidance.

Reporting of cases to the health department:

If a New Jersey resident has a nasal swab or saliva sample tested for COVID-19, the laboratory enters the results of that sample into a computer system called the Communicable Disease Registry and Surveillance System (CDRSS). CDRSS has been used by public health officials in New Jersey for many years to track all communicable diseases that are legally required to be reported, and is maintained by the NJ Department of Health (NJDOH). For everyone except long-term care facility residents and employees, positive COVID-19 test results in CDRSS are also automatically copied into NJDOH's new CommCare system, which COVID-19 contact tracers have access to. 

Case investigation and contact tracing:

NJDOH Inforgraphic (11/05/2020): What is contact tracing, and why is it important?

PLEASE NOTEFederal and NJ State laws strictly prohibit the release to the public of any private health information of any individual, including the name, address, or any other identifying information specific to those who test positive for COVID-19 or any other health condition. The Montville Health Department acts at all times in accordance with all applicable municipal, county, state, and federal laws. 

The Montville Township Health Department's public health nurses and health officer monitor both CDRSS and CommCare 7 days a week for new positive results of COVID-19 among Montville residents. Once a positive result is received, our public health nurses or contact tracers will contact the individual who tested positive (or in the case of a minor, their parent/guardian) to conduct a case investigation. During this investigation, they collect a brief health and illness history, information on locations and businesses that were visited, and information on household and close contacts. They also provide guidance on COVID-19, and answer any questions the person may have. Our department then continues to monitor the health of the individual who tested positive through their isolation period, and monitor the health of their household contacts and close contacts through their quarantine periods, and continue to provide guidance and answer any questions that may arise.

If a person who tests positive provides us with information on household and close contacts, we will contact those household and close contacts and advise them that they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and provide guidance and answer questions. In order to comply with HIPAA requirements, we do not disclose the name of the person who tested positive, or any information that could directly or indirectly lead to the identification of the person who tested positive.

  • A household contact is defined as: a person who lives in the same household. Household contacts will be contacted by our department during a COVID-19 case investigation.
  • A close contact is defined as: being within approximately 6 feet of a case for a prolonged period of time (for instance, caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room) or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a case (such as being coughed or sneezed on), in the time period from 3 days (72 hours) prior to onset of a case’s symptoms until the beginning of isolation of the case. Walking past a person who has tested positive, or just being in the same room with a person who tests positive, or just being in the same building as a person who tests positive does NOT qualify as being a close contact. Please note that the use of effective face coverings and/or the presence of barriers between persons does not affect the definition of a close contact. Close contacts will be contacted by our department during a COVID-19 case investigation. In order to comply with HIPAA requirements, we do not disclose the name of the person who tested positive, or any information that could directly or indirectly lead to the identification of the person who tested positive.
  • A casual contact is defined as: other persons who may have come into casual contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, for instance, being in the same indoor environment such as a lobby or office for a prolonged period of time, or walking past the person or being in the same room briefly with them, will not be contacted by the Health Department, and do not need to be under quarantine. These persons should, along with the rest of the public, continue to follow recommendations to stay home, comply with social distancing measures, maintain hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, and monitor themselves for symptoms. They will not be contacted by our department during a COVID-19 case investigation. 

If the person who tests positive is a Montville K-12 student, our department will work closely with the Montville school district for information on any other students or staff at the school who would be considered a close contact according to the above definition. In order to comply with HIPAA requirements, we do not disclose the name of the person who tested positive, or any information that could directly or indirectly lead to the identification of the person who tested positive.

What Should I Do If I’m Called by a Contact Tracer from Montville Township or from the State?

Please #TakeTheCall and speak with the contact tracer. The reason you have been called is because you may have tested positive for COVID-19, or you may have come into close contact (closer than 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes cumulative in a 24-hour period12) with an individual confirmed to have COVID-19. Contact tracers are here to help, and want to let you know about the risk to you and your family and what you can do to protect them and your community.

When we call, a contact tracer will work with you to identify your "close contacts" - anyone who was within six feet of you for more than 10 minutes starting two days before you first had symptoms. If you don’t have symptoms, we’ll ask about your activity during the two days before your diagnosis.

We will also ask for the phone numbers of anyone that is a close contact, so they can be called and provided with basic information and guidance. Your identity and information is confidential private health information, and is kept anonymous. We will never share with contacts who gave us their information. If you tested positive, your contacts will NOT be told that it was you that provided their information to us.

We will encourage you to let your contacts know about your illness, and we will call your contacts to let them know they have been exposed and what steps they should take to protect themselves and their loved ones. But again, we will not tell them your name.

If you are staying at home during the isolation period, the contact tracer will discuss any needs you may have and connect you with additional support should you need it.

We want to underscore that your name will not be released to your contacts. Your information is strictly confidential and will be treated as the private medical record it is.

We strongly urge you to speak with our public health nurses and contact tracers, as that is the only way to track and reduce community transmission, and to ensure accurate information on COVID-19 cases in municipalities, counties, and the state. Please do not hesitate to call the Montville Health Department at 973-331-3316 for verification of any of our staff, or if you have any questions about the case investigation or contact tracing process. 

Testing:

Many health experts believe that more people — including those with no symptoms of the virus — need to be tested to help prevent the virus’s spread. Testing is now widely available throughout the state, and does not require a prescription. If you're not able to get tested by your healthcare provider, or you don't have a healthcare provider, the NJ COVID-19 Information Hub has a Test Site Finder that can be searched by zip code. Testing is especially important if:

  • You have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
  • You are an essential worker (health care worker, first responder, food service worker, or transit worker)
  • You were recently in a large crowd where social distancing was hard to maintain
  • You recently traveled out of state

Documents and resources regarding case investigation and isolation/quarantine:

Infographic (11/05/2020): NJDOH: What is contact tracing, and why is it important?

Document (updated 12/11/20): NJDOH: Instructions for New Jersey residents who test positive

Document (updated 12/4/20): NJDOH: Instructions for New Jersey residents who test negative

Document (updated 10/22/20): Timeframe for Isolation and Quarantine by Test Result

Document (12/11/20): COVID-19 Quarantine Recommendations and Options (including 7 and 10 day options)

Document (9/24/20): NJDOH: COVID-19 Resources for Individuals Who Are Undocumented or Uninsured

Document (9/24/20): SAMHSA: COVID-19: Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health

Document (9/15/20): NJDOH: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS) Fact Sheet

Document (updated 6/30/20): NJDOH: Contact Tracing - What It Is, and Why It's Important

Document (updated 6/30/20): NJDOH COVID-19 Fact Sheet

Document (updated 6/30/20): NJDOH COVID-19 Hoja de datos

Documents (6/30/20): NJDOH: Isolation vs Quarantine     NJDOH: Aislamiento vs cuarentena      NJDOH: 隔离与隔离

Additional documents and other resources can be found at: NJ Department of Health COVID-19 website.

  1. NEWS ITEMS

Please note that news items are updated daily Monday through Friday (with the exception of Township holidays/closures). 

03/01/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing the planned expansion of eligibility for more frontline essential workers and high-risk groups in New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Eligible groups include educators and staff in pre-k through 12th grade settings, childcare workers, and transportation workers, among others. 

Beginning Monday, March 15, the following categories will be eligible for vaccination:

  • Educators, including support staff, in pre-K through 12th grade settings;
  • Childcare workers in licensed and registered settings;
  • Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, rideshare, and airport employees; NJ TRANSIT workers; and Motor Vehicle Commission staff;
  • Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors;
  • Migrant farm workers;
  • Members of tribal communities; and,
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters.

Additionally, beginning on Monday, March 29, frontline essential workers in the following categories will also be eligible for vaccination:

  • Food production, agriculture, and food distribution;
  • Eldercare and support;
  • Warehousing and logistics;
  • Social services support staff;
  • Elections personnel;
  • Hospitality;
  • Medical supply chain;
  • Postal and shipping services;
  • Clergy; and,
  • Judicial system.

Additionally, the eligibility list will indicate that all individuals ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that increase the risk or might increase the risk of severe illness from the virus, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information about eligibility, statewide vaccination site locations, and to preregister for a vaccination, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/vaccine. For more information on CDC criteria for eligibility, please click here

02/26/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing the second phase of a community-based vaccination partnership between the Murphy Administration and Biden Administration to provide equitable access of the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved communities throughout New Jersey. The second phase of the program will bring an additional five community-based vaccination sites to the state in Camden, Jersey City, Orange, Newark, and Pleasantville. Governor Murphy announced the initial phase of the program earlier this month, which includes sites in Somerset, Trenton, Elizabeth, Paterson, and Vineland.

The community-based vaccination sites are supported through a partnership by the New Jersey Department of Health, New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and U.S. Department of Defense, in addition to local faith leaders, nonprofit organizations, local officials, and health departments. These cities have been strategically selected as they have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and are some of the most diverse and socio-economically challenged communities in the state. The ten community-based vaccination sites will vaccinate over 34,000 residents. 

In order to ensure equitable access in these high-need cities, these sites will operate as closed points of distribution for members of the immediate community only. Vaccination appointments will be required and will be handled directly through partnering houses of worship, community organizations, and local community leaders. Each site will coordinate with a health partner and vaccine will be dispensed from the State’s allocation. A vaccination support team from the Department of Defense will provide the clinical staffing at the sites and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide non-medical support. Each site will be able to vaccinate approximately 1,800 people per week and vaccinations at each location will take place over a two-week period, followed by a return to administer second doses. 

02/24/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that $29.5 million in federal funding will be available to New Jersey’s institutions of higher education amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to support the goals of the State Plan for Higher Education through a competitive challenge grant and address student food insecurities across college campuses.

About $28.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education through the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER II) Fund will be awarded to New Jersey’s public and public-mission private institutions that receive state operating aid to implement vetted best practices that increase college completion, address barriers to student success, and develop sustainable systemic reforms. Another $1 million will be awarded to public institutions to combat food insecurity among students.

Applications for both grant programs are forthcoming and will be available on OSHE’s website. 

02/22/21: Montville Township issued the following press release:

Montville Township, along with the rest of the county, state, nation, and around the world, experienced record-high number of new COVID-19 cases during this recent fall/winter surge. As has also been seen in other areas, the number of new cases in the Township has recently decreased significantly, which is encouraging news. This decrease in new cases allowed Health Department staff to follow up on and close out a number of open cases that had been investigated and were ready to be closed. 

Also encouraging is the number of people who are actively seeking to get vaccinated against COVID-19. While vaccine is still very limited compared to the number of people who are qualified to receive it, increasing amounts of vaccine are being sent to the state each week. And, in addition to the increasing amount of vaccines that are already being administered, new vaccines are also in the approval process and being manufactured, and still others are being tested in clinical trials and may become available. 

This is encouraging news on both fronts. However, to keep the number of new cases as low as possible for as long as possible, the Township encourages our community to continue to follow established COVID-19 safety guidelines, including:

  • Wearing an effective and correctly worn face covering around those outside your household
  • Keeping at least 6 feet of distance from those outside your household
  • Following good respiratory etiquette: coughing/sneezing into elbows, not hands or tissues
  • Washing hands often with soap and hot water, rubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after washing hands, or if soap/water are not available
  • Reducing hand contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoiding those who have any symptoms of illness
  • Staying home if you feel unwell, and contacting your healthcare provider for guidance
  • Following recommended testing, quarantine, and isolation guidance
  • Answering calls from case investigators/contact tracers and assisting their efforts
  • Obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as one is available

02/22/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he signed Executive Order 225, which increases capacity limits for religious services and large sports and entertainment venues. Additionally, limited spectators will be allowed at collegiate sporting events, mirroring last week’s announcement on youth sporting events.

The changes are as follows:

Religious Services
Effective immediately 

  • Religious services and celebrations, including wedding ceremonies, funerals, and memorial services that involve a religious service, will be able to operate at 50% capacity of the room in which they are held, with no cap on the number of individuals permitted to attend.  Services were previously limited to 35% of the room, up to 150 individuals.  
  • Individuals attending services will still be required to wear masks and sit six feet apart from those outside of their household group.

Collegiate Sporting Events
Effective immediately 

  • Operators of indoor and outdoor collegiate sports practices and competitions may allow up to two parents or guardians per each participating athlete.
  • Even including this limited number of parents and guardians, the total number of individuals at an indoor practice or competition cannot exceed 35% of the capacity of the room, and any outdoor space needs to accommodate all attendees with appropriate room for social distancing.
  • Collegiate athletic conferences retain the discretion to impose stricter protocols regarding spectators, including for events that take place in large venues.

Large Sports and Entertainment Venues
Effective Monday, March 1 at 6:00 a.m. 

  • Large sports and entertainment venues with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or more will be permitted to host a number of patrons and members of the public equal to 10% of capacity indoors and 15% of capacity outdoors.  
  • Facilities that host such events must ensure that all attendees at the event remain six feet apart from other attendees, except that individuals who purchase or reserve tickets together may be seated together.  Attendees will also be required to wear masks within the facility, except when eating or drinking.  

02/19/21:  Governor Murphy and New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) Acting Commissioner Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan issued a press release announcing “The Road Forward,” a series of coordinated policy initiatives that dramatically expand the Administration’s efforts to identify and address the academic and mental health impacts of COVID-19 on New Jersey students and educators. 

As part of this coordinated initiative, $1.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds will be made available to districts, including grants dedicated specifically to research-based instructional and mental health interventions. Additionally, the Governor and Acting Commissioner announced that the Administration is seeking public comment and will submit a request to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to waive federal requirements to administer statewide assessments this spring.  

On March 15, the DOE will release applications for $1.2 billion in federal ESSER II funds (Federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund). The funds will be distributed as follows:

  • As required by legislation, a minimum of 90 percent of New Jersey’s ESSER II funds will be allocated to local education agencies (LEAs) in the same proportion as those funds received under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, in school year 2020-2021. 
  • Two grant opportunities will provide a total of $105 million to support districts in providing additional academic and mental health supports.
    • $75 million Learning Acceleration Grant: 75 percent of a district’s allocation will be used to support research-based academic enrichment activities, such as one-on-one intensive tutoring and summer learning academies, and 25 percent will be used for strategies to support the broader learning ecosystem.
    • $30 million Mental Health Grant: Funds will be used to assist districts in implementing school-based mental health supports for all students and educators. These grants will assist school districts in building a tiered, sustainable intervention model of comprehensive mental health supports and services.
  • The DOE will use ESSER II State set-aside funds to provide assistance to non-Title I LEAs, County Special Services School Districts, Education Services Commissions, Jointure Commissions, Division of Children and Families, Department of Corrections, Juvenile Justice Commission, and the Juvenile Detention Centers. 

For additional information, including district allocations, please see the DOE’s February 19, 2021 broadcast memo.

To assist districts in leveraging these federal funds effectively, the DOE has posted to its website a clearinghouse of successful practices that New Jersey school districts have identified as notable achievements in mitigating the challenges posed by COVID-19. These district-reported successes are categorized by county, district size, and topic area to facilitate meaningful collaboration and learning opportunities between similarly-situated districts. 

The Administration recognizes that amid the severe disruptions caused by COVID-19, statewide assessments will detract from schools’ efforts to focus on students’ social-emotional health, wellness, and individualized academic and behavioral supports. Therefore, the DOE is making available for public comment a request to the USED to waive federal requirements to administer statewide assessments this spring, including the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment, ACCESS for ELLs, and the Dynamic Learning Maps alternate assessment for students with the most significant intellectual disabilities. The waiver request also addresses federal requirements regarding the use of statewide assessments in federal accountability systems. If USED approves this waiver request, the spring 2021 administration of the statewide assessments will be canceled. 

For additional information on this waiver request, please see the DOE’s February 19, 2021 broadcast memo.

To fill data gaps caused by interrupted statewide assessment administration and to ensure that students are making meaningful growth toward grade-level standards, the DOE will collect data from locally administered assessments that provide a snapshot of student learning during this school year. The DOE will provide additional guidance regarding this data collection later this month. 

In Fall 2021, the DOE will provide all districts with the formative assessment known as Start Strong. Using the lessons learned from the initial administration this past fall, the upcoming and improved Start Strong assessments will better enable districts to collect timely, actionable, standards-based student performance data at the beginning of the school year.  

The DOE will also pilot the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) this fall. The KRA is designed to be administered to incoming kindergarteners, measuring school readiness in the domains of social foundations, language and literacy, mathematics, and physical well-being. Administration of the KRA will provide participating districts with data depicting how prepared their students are for kindergarten. The tool will give educators and families the information needed to adjust, improve, and target teaching and related resources to the needs of their students.

02/17/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 222. The Order extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order No. 103, which was previously extended in 2020 on April 7, May 6, June 4, July 2, August 1, August 27, September 25, October 24, November 22, and December 21, and again in 2021 on January 19. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed.

Executive Order No. 222 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

02/16/21: Morris County issued a press release announcing that vaccinations in Morris County have surpassed 100,000, which includes a mix of first and second doses, and that Morris County has the 2nd highest vaccination rate in NJ. Nearly 30,000 of those vaccinations have been administered at the Morris County vaccination site in Rockaway Mall, one of 6 county "mega" sites. The expect increasing amounts of vaccines to be allocated to that site, which at full capacity, can vaccinate 2,000 to 2,500 people each day. To register for alerts when appointments at the Morris County site become available, please click here.

02/12/21:  Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing the launch of a community-based vaccination partnership to provide equitable access of the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved communities throughout New Jersey.

The community-based vaccination sites are supported through a partnership by the New Jersey Department of Health, New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and U.S. Department of Defense, in addition to local faith leaders, nonprofit organizations, local officials, and health departments. The initial phase of the community-based vaccination partnership will include sites in Somerset, Trenton, Elizabeth, Vineland, and Paterson. These cities have been strategically selected as they have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and are some of the most diverse and socio-economically challenged communities in the state. The community-based vaccination partnership will vaccinate 15,000 residents through the end of March and launches on Monday, February 15 at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset.  

In order to ensure equitable access in these high-need cities, these sites will operate as closed points of distribution for members of the immediate community only. Vaccination appointments will be required and will be handled directly through partnering houses of worship, community organizations, and local community leaders. Each site will coordinate with a health partner and vaccine will be dispensed from the State’s allocation. A vaccination support team from the Department of Defense will provide the clinical staffing at the sites and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide non-medical support. Each site will be able to vaccinate approximately 1,500 people per week and vaccinations at each location will take place over a two-week period, followed by a return to administer second doses.  

02/12/21:  Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order No. 220, which enables indoor and outdoor youth sporting events to allow parents or guardians to attend practices or competitions. The executive order will take effect immediately. 

Under the executive order, up to two parents or guardians per athlete under the age of 21 will be able to attend indoor or outdoor youth sports practices and competitions. No other spectators are permitted, and even with the parents or guardians, indoor youth sporting events may never exceed 35% capacity or 150 people. All spectators must follow the Department of Health’s sports activities guidance including mask requirements, social distancing guidelines, and staying home when sick. Spectators will be expected to cooperate with contact-tracing efforts. School districts will retain the ability to impose stricter guidelines and not allow spectators, and also have the discretion on whether and when to implement today's policy regarding parents or guardians.

For a copy of Executive Order No. 220, please click here.

02/09/21:  Morris County issued a press release announcing that, starting today, area residents can access free tax preparation services through a safe and secure online portal designed by United Way of Northern New Jersey to keep clients and preparers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This enables United Way and its partners — the IRS, Norwescap, and Greater Providence Missionary Baptist Church — to continue a long-standing tradition of providing free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income households.

By visiting https://uwnnj.org/freetaxprep, tax filers can access the easy-to-use online system to have their state and federal tax returns prepared and filed electronically. The system uses secure document uploads, encrypted email communication, and video conferencing. Assistance and forms are available in both English and Spanish.

Not only do United Way’s tax preparers ensure filers receive all eligible deductions and credits, they can also help residents file to receive overdue federal COVID-19 stimulus funds.

The free service is geared for the individuals and families United Way calls ALICE and those in poverty. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and represents households living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford life’s necessities. United Way’s most recent ALICE report for New Jersey, released in December 2020, revealed that ALICE households rose by 41 percent between 2007 and 2018.

For more information about United Way’s free, quality tax preparation program, documents needed, and information about common tax credits, visit: https://uwnnj.org/freetaxprep.

02/09/21:  Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that, in an effort to aid small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey will follow the federal government’s lead in allowing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to be tax exempt at the state level and enable recipients to deduct business expenses that were paid with the tax-exempt loan proceeds, thereby enhancing the tax benefits of the loans.

The PPP was established by the federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) last year in response to the economic impact of COVID-19 in order to help small businesses keep employees on their payroll during the pandemic.  

Of the 155,851 loans totaling $17.3 billion that New Jersey businesses received, the vast majority were for smaller businesses:

  •        133,961 loans totaling $4.6 billion were for amounts under $150,000; and
  •        19,066 loans totaling $6.6 billion were approved for amounts between $150,000 and $1 million.

Under the federal PPP, some or all of the loan may be forgiven if certain conditions are met. While federal law generally considers forgiven loans to be taxable income, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021,” which reauthorized the program, clarified that the amount of a PPP loan which is forgiven may be excluded from income for federal tax purposes and that expenses covered by PPP loans may be deducted from income for federal tax purposes.  

New Jersey can follow the federal government’s treatment without enabling legislation under existing authority. As a result, for the 2020 tax season, related expenses paid for with PPP loans will be deductible for both Gross Income Tax (GIT) and Corporation Business Tax (CBT) purposes and forgiven loans will be excluded from being subject to either tax.

02/05/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he had signed the following bill into law: S-3340, which expands opportunities for outdoor dining in New Jersey. The bill (S3340) sets forth a framework for municipalities to allow restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries to utilize outdoor spaces or public sidewalks as extensions of their business premises. Many municipalities across the state have been taking these steps since the Governor authorized outdoor dining in June 2020.

The bill extends the effective period of permits issued under an ABC special ruling made last summer that allowed licensees to expand the premises where they can serve alcoholic beverages to include outdoor spaces. Restaurants will now be able to maintain the permit through November 30, 2022, or the date at which indoor dining returns to full capacity at restaurants – whichever is later. In a signing statement, Governor Murphy noted that this extension will be automatic for all permitholders. The bill also establishes protocols for municipalities to review and approve outdoor space expansion requests by restaurants without liquor licenses and those with liquor licenses that have not previously obtained expansion permits. 

The legislation also authorizes the ABC to create a seasonal farm market permit to allow a holder of a limited brewery license, restricted brewery license, craft distillery license, plenary winery license, farm winery license, or cidery and meadery license to sell any of the licensee’s products in original containers at a seasonal farm market for off-premises consumption. The permit could be a daily or annual permit.   

For the signing statement, please click here.

02/05/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he had signed the following bill into law: S-2384/A-4129, which requires health care facilities to report certain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) data related to health care workers and certain first responders

02/04/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release that he signed Executive Order 219, which increases indoor capacity limits from 25 percent to 35 percent for several businesses, including food and beverage establishments and entertainment and recreational businesses, effective Friday, February 5 at 8:00 a.m. The Executive Order also lifts the 10:00 p.m. curfew for in-person indoor restaurant service, however local officials may continue to regulate the hours of operation of indoor restaurant service and indoor operations of other non-essential businesses after 8:00 p.m., as they have been able to since November 12. The prohibition on seating at indoor bar areas remains in effect.

 The Executive Order increases the following indoor capacity limits from 25 percent to 35 percent:

  1. Food or beverage establishments, including restaurants, cafeterias, private non-profit clubs, and food courts, with or without a liquor license, and bars;
  2. Entertainment and recreational businesses, including casinos and gyms; and
  3. Personal care services, including barber shops and nail salons.

The Order will also rescind the previous statewide requirement that food and beverage establishments close their indoor areas to in-person service between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. each day.  Casinos and any other retail, recreational, or entertainment business open to the public may also resume indoor food and beverage service during those hours.

Municipalities and counties will still be permitted to impose hours of operation restrictions on non-essential businesses between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. each day. This includes restrictions on dining in restaurants, although they cannot restrict takeout or delivery services. Municipalities and counties have been able to impose these hours restrictions since November 12 of last year, when Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 195.

Religious ceremonies or services, political activities, wedding ceremonies, funerals, and memorial services that are currently limited to 25 percent of the room’s capacity up to 150 people will now be limited to 35 percent of the room’s capacity up to 150 people. Performances at entertainment centers, including movie theaters and performing arts centers, and concert venues, will similarly be capped at 35 percent up to a maximum of 150 people. Indoor meetings of addiction groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, will also be limited to 35 percent up to 150 individuals.

 The Order will take effect on Friday, February 5 at 8:00 a.m.

02/03/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing an additional $5 million has been allocated to the Small Business Lease - Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBL-EAGP), which allows businesses in 64 legislatively designated municipalities to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for lease costs. The program, which has already allocated $10 million to roughly 1,000 businesses, assists small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

02/03/21Governor Murphy issued a press release press release announcing an extension of the multi-state suspension of interstate youth hockey competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey leagues through at least March 31, 2021. The prohibition will not impact interstate collegiate, professional, or U.S. national team hockey activities, which will remain subject to existing health and safety protocols and/or restrictions.   The states previously announced a regional suspension through at least January 31, 2021 due to coronavirus outbreaks associated with the conduct of interstate youth hockey activities. As public health data continues to evolve, the states will reassess the need for continued restrictions on interstate sports activities.

01/29/21: Montville Township issued the following press release

"Currently, the Morris County Vaccination Mega Site is the central location for providing available COVID-19 vaccine to those who live, work, and study in New Jersey who currently qualify under the State of New Jersey guidelines as eligible recipients:

  • healthcare workers, including those working in pharmacies; 
  • long-term care residents and staff, including those in prisons and psychiatric hospitals; 
  • first-responders; 
  • people aged 65 and older; 
  • individuals ages 16-64 with serious medical conditions; and 
  • smokers.

We want to strongly encourage every Montville Township resident who meets the above mentioned criteria to pre-register for the vaccine, using one of the following methods:

  1. NJ State Vaccine Scheduling System (NJVSS): https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/
  2. NJ Vaccination Call Center: 1-855-568-0545 for general questions about the vaccine, about vaccination locations, and for assistance pre-registering with NJVSS and making appointments for those who can’t access or have limited access to the internet.
  3. Morris County Mega Site: https://atlantichealth.org/covidvaccine

Currently, the demand for the vaccine far exceeds the supply. There are 4 million eligible recipients, and the amount of vaccine received in the state was 100,000 doses each week, and was just recently increased to 130,000 doses each week. This is obviously still not enough vaccine to meet current demand. While there are numerous locations in the state and in our county to administer the vaccine, these sites have no choice but to limit appointments based on the small amount of vaccine they receive each week. The amount of vaccine being received by the state each week is dictated at the state and federal level. Montville Township officials, including the Health Officer, are in daily contact with state and county officials to stay updated on the latest developments, and to advocate on behalf of our community.

We understand and share everyone’s concern regarding the limited amount of vaccine available compared to the number of those seeking it, the rise in positive cases during the ongoing fall/winter surge, and recent news reports of more highly-transmittable variants of COVID-19. In light of these conditions, we again strongly encourage everyone who is an eligible recipient to pre-register with the state and county systems so that they can make an appointment as soon as they become available. We also strongly urge again, as we have since the beginning of the pandemic, for our community to continue to follow recommended health and safety precautions to reduce your risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19: practice social distancing, wear effective face coverings, frequent hand-washing, avoid large in-person gatherings, monitor yourself and those in your household for symptoms, seek testing should symptoms arise, and follow recommended quarantine/isolation guidance when necessary. 

We also recognize that some of our residents are interested in learning more about the COVID-19 cases in our community. In addition to the wealth of state and county level information available at the state’s COVID Dashboard at https://covid19.nj.gov/index.html#live-updates, the Montville Township Health Department reports municipal-level data on their COVID-19 page at https://www.montvillenj.org/402/COVID-19. This page is updated by the Health Department each business day, and contains a variety of data pertaining to the cases here in our community that residents may be interested in. In an effort to reduce mixed communications, since March 2020, we have dedicated the Health Department COVID-19 page to be the central information depot.

One item of data that we have received some inquiries on is the number of deaths due to COVID-19. Please be aware that the Township was advised, well in advance of the pandemic, by the NJ Office of Vital Statistics and Registry (which oversees and regulates all vital statistics information in the state, and which includes births, marriages, and deaths) that municipalities are not to release data on deaths due to any specific cause. The Health Department does report each month the number of people who died within the Township’s boundaries, and the number of Montville Township residents who died (regardless of where that death took place). These two pieces of data are included in the Health Department’s monthly activity reports and COVID-19 summary reports, which are sent to the Township Committee, and presented to the Board of Health at each of their meetings. Copies of these two reports can be found on the Montville website at https://montvillenj.org/347/Board-of-Health

From the data reported, it is clear that in April of 2020, there were a much larger number of reported deaths than would have normally been expected, which corresponds with the surge of cases that was experienced in the spring. It is also important to note that the state is reviewing all COVID-19 cases that were reported to have ended in death, as well as all deaths that list COVID-19 as a cause. These reviews can remain open for up to a year, and the number of deaths are subject to change during that review process. 

Any illness or death in our community, whether due to COVID-19 or otherwise, is a cause for concern and sorrow. This pandemic continues to present numerous challenges, but together, will eventually overcome them. We appreciate the community spirit we have witnessed time and again throughout these unprecedented circumstances. Again, and we cannot urge this strongly enough, please pre-register for the vaccine with both the state and county systems, get a vaccination as soon as you are able to, and continue to follow recommended health and safety precautions."

01/28/21:  Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center will be closed Saturday and Sunday due to a lack of vaccine supply. 

In anticipation of this supply interruption, Morris County and Atlantic Health System have not scheduled any vaccine appointments for those days, so no appointments will need to be cancelled. The site expects to resume full operation on Monday and has the supply to honor all appointments scheduled for the early part of the week.

Morris County and Atlantic Health System also will use the weekend as an opportunity to expand the facility in anticipation of a future increase in vaccine supplies and one day vaccinating as many as 2,400 individuals per day.

As of Thursday, the Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center has distributed more than ten thousand combined doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Those interested in making a vaccine appointment should visit: www.atlantichealth.org/covidvaccine to pre-register and to sign up for appointment alert notifications. These alerts will be sent to pre-registered individuals as vaccine becomes available.

01/28/21:  Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing the State is extending the health insurance enrollment period for uninsured residents to sign up for coverage through Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Last year, Governor Murphy requested that the Trump Administration reopen the Affordable Care Act enrollment period in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the administration refused. Today, the Biden Administration announced that it would reopen health insurance enrollment in states that are utilizing the federal marketplace through a Special Enrollment Period.

The state of New Jersey transitioned from using the federally-facilitated marketplace, healthcare.gov, to its own marketplace last year, GetCovered.NJ.gov. The first Open Enrollment Period started November 1, 2020 and ends on January 31, 2021. Operating its own marketplace gives New Jersey more control over the health insurance market and the ability to better respond to the needs of the state, including setting its own Open Enrollment Period and establishing Special Enrollment Periods in response to the state’s needs.

New Jersey will extend the window for eligible uninsured residents to enroll in a health insurance plan through the marketplace or directly from carriers through a COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period through May 15, 2021.

The coverage effective dates will be as follows:

Enroll by February 28, coverage effective March 1;

Enroll by March 31, coverage effective April 1;

Enroll by April 30, coverage effective May 1;

Enroll by May 15, coverage effective June 1.

Residents shopping for health insurance through GetCovered.NJ.gov have access to a new state subsidy — called New Jersey Health Plan Savings – on top of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available to lower the cost of their health insurance. Eight in 10 consumers purchasing coverage on Get Covered New Jersey qualify for assistance. An individual with an annual income up to of $51,040 and a family of four with an annual income of $104,800 (up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level) will qualify for savings. Because of the availability of state subsidies, the net premium for 2021 is the lowest since the implementation of Healthcare.gov and availability of federal tax credits for individuals receiving financial help. The currently average monthly net premium for those eligible for financial help is $121 a month, compared to $164 a month in 2020, and $148 a month in 2014.

All plans available through Get Covered New Jersey meet the stringent standards of the Affordable Care Act and offer free preventive care, free telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency and for 90 days thereafter, and coverage for emergency services, mental health and substance use services, and more. All plans available through Get Covered New Jersey are also required to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and COVID-19 vaccinations without out-of-pocket costs.

After January 31st, New Jerseyans can make updates to health plans or enroll in a new health plan for other reasons, including birth or adoption of a child and pregnancy. More information on Special Enrollment Periods will be available on GetCovered.NJ.gov, where residents can also shop and compare plans and see if they qualify for financial help.

The deadline for New Jersey’s COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period aligns with the enrollment window opened by the federal government under the Biden Administration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All New Jerseyans seeking health insurance are encouraged to sign up by January 31 in order to have coverage in effect on February 1, providing the maximum benefit of health coverage for 2021. To get free help choosing a plan from a trained, certified assister, go to Find Local Assistance on the Get Covered New Jersey website.

01/27/21:  Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Board of Commissioners released data today showing, per capita, Morris County is second among all New Jersey counties in the number of vaccinations issued to date, but emphasized the dearth of vaccine supplies in New Jersey is hampering the ability of people in all counties to schedule vaccination appointments.

New Jersey is still receiving only 100,000 vaccinations per week from the federal government and trying to fairly distribute it around the state. Morris County authorities contend establishing the Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall with Atlantic Health System and the State of New Jersey guaranteed Morris County would get a share of whatever vaccines are available. 

The latest data compiled today by the state shows Morris County has issued 47,119 vaccines, most being administered through the Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination as well as three Shop Rites offering vaccines in Flanders, Cedar Knolls and Lincoln Park and vaccinations provided by Zufall Health and the RMG Urgent Care Center in Ledgewood. That number is on par with vaccinations issued in the larger populated counties of Middlesex and Monmouth and below only the much larger counties of Bergen and Essex.

When vaccinations in each county are compared to the number of their residents, Morris County’s total vaccinations measure more than 8 percent of its total population – ranking second in the state, behind only Cape May with 9 percent.

01/19/21:  Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he signed Executive Order No. 215. The Order extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order No. 103, which was previously extended in 2020 on April 7, May 6, June 4, July 2, August 1, August 27, September 25, October 24, November 21, and December 21. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed.

Executive Order No. 215 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

For the full text of Executive Order No. 215, click here.

01/13/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing two additional categories of New Jersey residents are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Beginning Thursday, January 14, all New Jersey residents ages 65 and older, and individuals ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. Those conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, Down Syndrome, heart conditions, obesity and severe obesity, sickle cell disease, smoking, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Individuals who are pregnant and those in an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant are also eligible but should follow CDC guidance and first discuss vaccination with their medical provider before receiving the vaccine. In addition to paid and unpaid healthcare workers in Phase 1A, these two groups mark the expansion of eligible residents in Phase 1B, which recently opened to include sworn law enforcement and fire professionals.

01/13/21:  Morris County issued a press release announcing that veterans and their families who are experiencing a housing crisis may be eligible for emergency assistance such as motel/hotel stays, security deposits, rent, rental arrears, groceries and utilities through Community Hope.

Community Hope’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program is currently providing assistance remotely. Urgent community-based services such as critical supplies and veteran wellness-checks are provided in person.

The increase in support services to veterans and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic is possible thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

To make a referral, please call the referral hotline at 1-855-483-8466 or email SSVF@communityhope-nj.org, or email Gema Diaz at gdiaz@communityhope-nj.org.

Community Hope is a nonprofit that helps individuals, including veterans, and their families, overcome mental illness, addiction, homelessness and poverty. Learn more at communityhope-nj.org .

01/08/21:  Morris County issued a press release announcing that today the County of Morris and Atlantic Health System joined New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in a huge step forward in the fight against COVID-19 by officially opening the doors to the Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center. This facility, housed in a former Sears store at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, will eventually deliver thousands of doses of vaccine a week in accordance with the phased eligibility system provided by the State of New Jersey.

Currently open to all phase 1A health care workers, law enforcement officers and firefighters, the COVID-19 Vaccination Center or “mega site” will deliver vaccinations using the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. Reservations will be made using an on-line registration form, a link to which can be found at the Atlantic Health System website. Appointments for second doses will be made on-site (the Moderna vaccine requires a second dose approximately four weeks after the initial dose).

To learn how to sign up for an appointment at the Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center go to: www.atlantichealth.org/covidvaccine or https://health.morriscountynj.gov/vaccination/

The first floor, 30,000 square feet of the former Sears store, was converted from shuttered retail space to a vaccination mega site in less than four weeks. Initially able to administer one thousand doses per week (contingent on vaccine supply), the Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center will be open from 7:00am to 2:00pm, Monday through Friday. The goal is to eventually be able to administer 2,400 doses per day (contingent on vaccine supply), from 7:00am to 7:00pm, seven days a week. 

All sworn law enforcement and fire professionals in New Jersey are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which is estimated to include about 55,000 individuals. These first responders are the first individuals in Phase 1B to become eligible for vaccination. EMS professionals, also considered first responders, are already eligible for the vaccine under Phase 1A as health care workers. 

To help ensure the safety of everyone inside, the building features 16 air purifiers that turn over the air every nine minutes. An estimated 100 county workers, Atlantic Health team members, sheriff’s officers and National Guard are on site today and their ranks are expected to expand to 150 when the center is at full capacity (contingent on vaccine supply). 

The Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center is one of six mega sites planned for New Jersey, with other locations in Gloucester County (Rowan College of South Jersey in Sewell – also scheduled to open today), East Rutherford (The Meadowlands), Edison (New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center), Burlington County (The Moorestown Mall) and Atlantic City (The Atlantic City Convention Center).

01/08/21:  Governor Murphy issued a press release marking the start of COVID-19 vaccination effort for sworn law enforcement and fire professionals. Governor Phil Murphy, joined by New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, Morris County Commissioner Director Stephen Shaw, and labor officials, today visited the Morris County Regional Vaccination Center to highlight the beginning of New Jersey’s vaccination effort for sworn law enforcement and fire professionals.

01/07/21:  Governor Murphy issued a press release reminding New Jerseyans that the COVID-19 vaccine will be available without cost sharing barriers. Pursuant to the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement, all providers must vaccinate individuals regardless of whether they have health insurance coverage or what type of coverage they have, and are prohibited from balance billing or otherwise charging vaccine recipients. 

Coverage Information

  • If you are covered by a private health plan (whether obtained directly through the individual market or through your employer): All group and individual comprehensive health insurance plans must provide coverage for COVID-19 immunization and its administration. During the federal public health emergency, these plans must provide this coverage without cost sharing, regardless of whether the provider is in or out of network. For more information, please contact your insurance provider or visit  https://www.nj.gov/dobi/bulletins/blt21_01.pdf.
  • If you are covered by Medicare Part B: The vaccine and the administration of that vaccine will be covered without coinsurance or deductible.
  • If you are covered by a Medicare Advantage Plan: Beneficiary copayment, coinsurance and deductible are waived for COVID-19 vaccine and its administration for calendar years 2020 and 2021.
  • If you are covered by SHBP or SEHBP: The vaccine and the administration of that vaccine will be covered without coinsurance or deductible for in or out of network providers.
  • If you are covered by NJ FamilyCare (Medicaid or CHIP): The vaccine and the administration of that vaccine will be covered without copays for in or out of network providers.
  • If you are uninsured: health care providers that participate in the Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Program must agree to administer a COVID-19 immunization regardless of an individual's ability to pay or health insurance coverage status, and may not seek reimbursement from the immunization recipient. For information on sites that are providing the vaccine, please visit: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/healthcare-worker-covid-19-vaccine-locations. This site will be updated as more locations are added.

For more information, please visit: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine.

01/06/21:  Morris County issued a press release announcing that the no-cost, COVID-19 testing station inside the Student Center at the County College of Morris (CCM) will be open four days a week, effective this Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

The tests are available by appointment only, and appointments are being accepted now for testing on Fridays as well as Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

No one will be permitted to walk into the facility without an appointment, and appointments must be scheduled on-line through the Morris County COVID-19 Information website.  Proof of residency or proof of employment within Morris County will be required upon arrival at the Student Center for the appointment. While individuals scheduling a test will not be charged for the service, they will be asked to provide information about whether they have health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare or no healthcare coverage.

Individuals will be limited to two, no-cost tests per month.

Please monitor the COVID-19 information page on the Morris County website to learn of any changes in the testing schedule at CCM or updates on other testing programs.

Vault Health Saliva Test

The test being made available at CCM is a saliva test provided by Vault Health and developed by Rutgers University. It is as accurate as the nasal swab. The test only detects active COVID-19 infection.  The test will not determine if an individual has antibodies indicating past exposure to COVID-19.

The test is the same as the at-home saliva test that had been offered last month, but discontinued this week.

Anyone who makes an appointment for the test will be required not to eat, drink or chew gum at least 30 minutes prior to having the test administered.

Directions and Precautions

Parking at CCM for people with appointments will be reserved in Lot 6, where individuals using public transportation to and from CCM also may board or disembark from a bus.  To find directions to CCM and learn more about public transportation options to and from the campus, please go to the CCM website.

Everyone arriving at the campus is required to wear a protective face covering or mask from the time they arrive in the parking lot to the time they leave.

01/04/21: The Daily Record reported that Morris County is scaling back its free at-home COVID testing program announced just last month because residents and workers who have requested the mail-to-home saliva-test kits are hoarding them, officials said. County officials will instead direct more funding and resources to the in-person COVID testing program they launched last month at County College of Morris. They will phase out at-home tests for all but homebound, symptomatic residents after this week, or possibly sooner, Murray said. Residents who are symptomatic and unable to leave home may still order at-home tests through the Morris County COVID-19 website. But the only at-home test available after next week will be a federally supported "Pixel" nasal-swab test provided by Labcorp.

01/04/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that to continue supporting our small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, he today signed A-4853/S-3011 to reduce businesses' Unemployment Insurance contribution rate through Fiscal Year 2023. Additionally, the bill will permit nonprofit and governmental employers that elect to make UI payments equal to the full amount of benefits paid to individuals attributable to service in the employ of the nonprofit or governmental employer to reduce their UI benefit payments by fifty percent for the duration of the public health emergency. The bill will result in cost savings to State entities, public institutions of higher education, local governments, and school districts during the pandemic. The short-term savings will be made possible by federal unemployment insurance advances. The recently enacted federal stimulus package extended interest free borrowing of these loans through March 14, 2021. As of December 17, 2020, 20 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have availed themselves of these loans.

01/04/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he signed into law A-4182/S-2873, which requires landlords to allow tenant to make rent payment using credit card during COVID-19 pandemic, and vetoed A-4525/S-3128, which would have expanded opportunities for restaurants, bars, distilleries and breweries to provide outdoor dining, and permit certain farms to adjust operations, in response to COVID-19 public health emergency.

01/04/21: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he visited University Hospital's COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Rutgers Medical School to witness front-line healthcare workers receiving their second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

12/31/20:  Morris County issued a press release indicating it will modify its no-cost COVID-19 testing efforts by next week to focus on the walk-up service provided by appointment-only at the County College of Morris and phase out at-home-tests for all but homebound, symptomatic residents.

Municipal leaders throughout the county were told of the modified testing plan in a conference call yesterday, and they were urged to help the county find transportation alternatives for residents who do not drive, but who otherwise would be able to use the walk-up testing center at CCM. That testing operation was opened at the Student Center in Randolph earlier this month and requires individuals to preregister for a test through the Morris County COVID-19 website.

Individuals who are symptomatic and unable to leave their home will still be able to order no-cost, at-home tests through the Morris County COVID-19 website. But the only at-home test available after next week will be a federally-supported nasal test known as Pixel, which is provided by Lab Corp.

A second at-home test, which is a saliva test offered over the past month through Vault Health, is being phased out. The transition is necessary because more than 50 percent of the people who have ordered the at-home Vault tests have hoarded them, forcing authorities to focus Morris County’s limited COVID-19 testing resources on programs that are not as easily abused.

About 16,300 of the at-home Vault tests have been ordered, yet only 7,500 have been returned with samples for testing. While the Pixel at-home testing is supported through a federal grant, Morris County has fronted the costs of all Vault testing in the county, including the CCM center, a community testing program operated through the Zufall Health and the at-home tests that must now be discontinued.

Morris County has received very limited aid under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to respond to the pandemic. It was one of 12 New Jersey counties left to fund their own COVID-19 pandemic response efforts last spring when $1 billion in direct CARES Act relief dollars was provided to nine other counties to share. The nine counties received from $87 million to as much as $162 million, while the rest of New Jersey received nothing.

The CARES Act direct aid was conditioned on whether a county’s population, based on the 2010 Census, exceeded 500,000 residents. Morris County missed the mark by 7,724 residents, but worked with state and federal representatives, as well as the Governor’s office, to eventually secure more than $7 million in CARES dollars last August to pay for past testing efforts and continue testing programs into the New Year.

12/31/20:  Morris County issued a press release that included information on a COVID-19 Support Group offered by the NJ Hope and Healing Crisis Counseling Program.  The support group is for anyone emotionally impacted by COVID-19. This is a weekly, open, drop-in group.

Wednesdays from 2 – 3 p.m. on Jan. 6, 13, 20 and 27.

To join the COVID-19 Support Group, please click this reoccurring link: 

https://zoom.us/j/99243356990?pwd=b0duS3lNU3R4YXd4TE1PVDk0aEIrUT09

OR Dial 1-929-205-6099

Meeting ID: 992 4335 6990

Passcode: 537656

12/31/20: The Asbury Park Press reported that Governor Murphy announced that indoor sports will be allowed to resume, with strict health and safety restrictions, on January 2, 2021. In light of this announcement, Montville Township will also allow Township outdoor recreation activities and facilities to reopen on January 2, 2021, which had been closed since November 17, 2020.

12/30/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing how the state is distributing COVID-19 vaccinations.

The State of New Jersey updated its website information on the state’s phased-in plan for providing COVID-19 vaccinations, emphasizing again that the only people eligible to receive vaccinations at this time are certain healthcare workers.

Vaccinations are not yet available for the general public.

The updated information on who is currently eligible for the vaccine and when different groups in New Jersey will become eligible may be found at the New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub.

The state also has two specific links important to health care workers looking to:

  1. Register for the vaccine or determine if they qualify at this phase in the plan
  2. Check locations where health care workers may receive the vaccination

Vaccinations in New Jersey began on Dec. 15 at hospitals, targeting paid and unpaid persons serving in their health facilities.  Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines being following by the state, vaccinations are being phased-in with a priority given to key healthcare workers and other professionals.

Governor Phil Murphy explained again this week that demand for vaccines is much higher than supplies.

Information released earlier this week by the state noted that New Jersey is partnering with Rite Aid to provide vaccinations to home care and hospice staff. Information about scheduling appointments is being provided through home health agencies and their industry associations.

As of December 28, through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program with CVS and Walgreens, New Jersey has nearly 300 long-term care facilities scheduled for vaccinations. That includes the state’s three veterans memorial homes and means over 83,000 residents and staff are slated to receive vaccinations through the beginning of February 2021.

Additional sites will be added in the coming weeks.

New Jersey’s plan is to roll out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all adults who live, work, or are being educated in the state. While the State’s current plan is highlighted below, the plan will continually be updated in response to the changing circumstances of the pandemic.

 New Jersey’s goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population – or 4.7 million adults – within six months.

Vaccination Phases

Currently, vaccines are available to those who are in Category 1A which includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and long-term care residents and staff.

Once vaccine availability expands, those in Category 1B will begin receiving vaccines. Individuals who fall into Category 1B include persons 75 years and older as well as frontline essential workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and are at a substantially higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The next category of individuals, Category 1C, are adults 65 and over and adults with underlying medical conditions.

After these phases are complete, the general public will be eligible for vaccination.

Vaccine Distribution

New Jersey was awarded over 400,000 vaccines in the month of December. Of that, approximately 120,000 doses have been reserved for long-term facilities and 280,000 doses have been allocated to hospitals and community sites.

New Jersey was awarded over 400,000 vaccines in the month of December. Of that, approximately 120,000 doses have been reserved for long-term care facilities, and 280,000 have been allocated to hospitals and community sites.

After nursing home residents and staff are vaccinated, CVS and Walgreens will begin to vaccinate thousands of residents and staff in other congregate settings including Assisted Living facilities, the five state developmental centers, federal housing for seniors and group homes and other long-term residential facilities. New Jersey also has a network of community vaccination sites for vulnerable residents who live in congregate settings not eligible for this federal partnership.

Six mega sites throughout New Jersey will serve as vaccination hubs for phased priority groups, part of a critical network of over 200 sites tasked with carrying out the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan fairly and equitably:

  • Atlantic County: Atlantic City Convention Center
  • Bergen County: Racetrack at Meadowlands, East Rutherford
  • Burlington County: Moorestown Mall
  • Gloucester County: Rowan College of South Jersey, Sewell
  • Middlesex County: New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, Edison
  • Morris County: Rockaway Townsquare

The six state-coordinated sites are not open, but are expected to begin opening in early January and will immediately be in position to vaccinate front-line healthcare workers and then continue in a phased approach depending on the supply of vaccine to New Jersey. After these phases are complete, then the general public will be eligible for vaccination. The timing of the progression among the groups depends on the supply of vaccine to the state.

The New Jersey Department of Health will announce an online portal to enable the various groups in the initial phases and eventually the general public to find a vaccination site and register and schedule an appointment. Some vaccination sites may offer walk-up or on-site registration as well.

More information from the state about New Jersey's Vaccination Plan can be found here and here: COVID-19 Vaccination webpage.

NJ Department of Health is finalizing a public dashboard which will show the number of doses administered and some demographic information. Data will be updated weekly and refined over time. 

How much vaccine New Jersey will receive will depend on several factors, including the population of essential and healthcare workers, current spread or prevalence of the disease, and vaccine availability. 

12/30/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing with several other nearby states an extension of the suspension of interstate youth hockey competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey leagues through at least January 31, 2021. The prohibition will not impact interstate collegiate, professional, or U.S. national team hockey activities, which will remain subject to existing health and safety protocols and/or restrictions. The states previously announced a regional suspension through at least December 31, 2020 due to coronavirus outbreaks associated with the conduct of interstate youth hockey activities. As public health data continues to evolve, the states will reassess the need for continued restrictions on interstate sports activities.

12/30/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing he signed into law A-4589/S-2597, which extends the time period during which seasonal retail consumption license holders may sell alcoholic beverages following the COVID-19 pandemic.

12/29/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that COVID-19 vaccinations are underway for residents and staff of the State’s three veterans memorial homes. Residents and staff of the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home began receiving vaccinations yesterday and vaccinations are scheduled to begin over the course of the next week at the Menlo Park and Vineland Veterans Memorial Homes as part of the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program with CVS and Walgreens.

Under the federal Pharmacy Partnership Program, residents and staff who so choose will be vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Paramus, Vineland, and Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Homes. Vaccinations began on December 28 in Paramus, and will begin on January 1 and 5 in Vineland and Menlo Park, respectively. Residents and staff will receive the 2nd dose of the vaccines three weeks after the first dose. 

12/28/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release marking the launch of New Jersey’s vaccination effort of residents and staff of long-term care facilities. The vaccinations are being administered pursuant to the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), CVS, and Walgreens to facilitate on-site COVID-19 vaccination services. Through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, New Jersey already has 291 long-term care facilities scheduled and over 83,000 residents and staff slated to receive vaccinations through the beginning of February 2021, with more sites to be added in the coming weeks.

12/24/20:  Governor Murphy issued a statement concerning testing requirements for United customers with flights originating in the U.K.  In the statement, he indicated that, beginning Monday, December 28, all United customers with flights originating in the U.K. will be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test obtained within 72 hours of departure for incoming flights to Newark Liberty International Airport. 

Background:

  1. This impacts customers over the age of 5 originating travel from the UK;  individuals connecting in LHR onto a United flight from another country would be exempt.
  2. For the month of December, United is operating 4 daily flights from London Heathrow to its hubs in Chicago, Newark, Washington and San Francisco.
  3. In January 2021, United will operate 2 daily flights from London Heathrow to its hubs in Newark and Chicago.
  4. Customers will be asked to show proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test (such as PCR or LAMP), or antigen test, taken within 72 hours prior to departure from London Heathrow.

Same-day, pre-flight rapid tests are also available for ticketed passengers at the Collinson testing center located in Terminal 2 at London Heathrow. 

12/23/20:  Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris has scheduled a Zoom meeting next week to inform parents of school age children of the warning signs of suicide, after launching a school-based prevention program that sparked wide community interest. 

The Zoom meeting, set for 6 p.m. Dec. 30, 2020, follows a collaborative effort by the Morris County Board of Freeholders and the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris to introduce a universal, school-based suicide prevention program for middle and high school aged students who may be feeling stress and isolation during the current COVID-19 restrictions. News of school districts being invited to learn more about the school-based program earlier this month prompted many residents to request that parents also be provided information on understanding signs of suicide. 

To join the Dec. 30 Zoom meeting, “Suicide Prevention: Presentation for Parents of School Age Children,” parents are being asked to RSVP by email to: tklingener@mhaessexmorris.org.

The session follows a series of presentations made to school personnel earlier this month. Freeholder Kathryn DeFillippo, the board liaison to Human Services agencies and programs, sent a letter to school superintendents throughout Morris County inviting them to assign three key school district personnel, ranging from counselors and teachers to administrative staff, to learn more about the program through virtual presentations that began on Dec. 1. 

Following a June 2020 survey of 5,412 people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in August that one in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 said they had considered suicide because of the pandemic. The survey indicated a general spike in anxiety and substance abuse among the respondents, with more than 40 percent saying they experienced a mental or behavioral health condition connected to the COVID-19 emergency.

12/21/20:  Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order No. 210, which extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order No. 103, which was previously extended on April 7, May 6, June 4, July 2, August 1, August 27, September 25, October 24, and November 21. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed.

Executive Order No. 210 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

12/18/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Board of Freeholders today issued the following statement regarding Governor Phil Murphy’s announcement that Morris County, Atlantic Health System and the State of New Jersey will establish a “Mega COVID-19 Vaccination Center” in commercial space located in Rockaway Township.

“We are proud to be partners with Atlantic Health System and the State of New Jersey in this very important effort to stem the devastating tide of COVID-19. By launching this massive vaccination center in our backyard, we will bring the vaccine not only to Morris County residents, but also to our neighbors and families throughout North Jersey as we continue to fight this deadly virus.  This is a unique opportunity for Morris County to help bring the vaccine to thousands of people daily and to be an integral part of a national endeavor that, we pray, will one day restore normalcy to the daily lives of all Americans.  We are truly thankful to have found such supportive partners in this effort as Atlantic Health and the State of New Jersey, and we look forward to moving expeditiously on this plan.” 

It is important to note that federal and state guidelines for the issuance of COVID-19 vaccinations require that vaccinations be provided first to individuals in long-term care facilities and direct care givers. The next level of vaccinations will involve first responders.

This facility is not yet open and, when established, will not be open to the general public until future notice. No one will be permitted to walk in to the facility without authorization and no vaccine will be provided to individuals who show up unannounced.

For more information on the “mega-sites,” read the New Jersey Department of Health press release.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations, go to the New Jersey Department of Health vaccine information page.

12/16/20: The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) issued Executive Directive 20-035, which implements the New Jersey Vaccine Education and Prioritization Plan. More information on the Executive Directive, the COVID-19 vaccine, and how it will be distributed in New Jersey can be found at the NJDOH COVID-19 Vaccination page at: https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/covid2019_vaccination.shtml.

12/15/20: In response to the Board of Health’s request, our Health Officer Aimee Puluso produced a report titled "Epidemiology Analysis of COVID-19 Cases Per Zip Code". This analysis was presented to the Board of Health during their regular meeting held on December 14, 2020.

12/15/20: St. Clare's Health announced their "Let's Talk Health" online series, which presents the most accurate and current information on COVID, vaccines, and healthcare from medical experts. Those interested can watch the video online on January 7, 2021 at 7pm on Saint Clare's Facebook page, and can submit questions prior to SCNJCommunications@primehealthcare.com.

12/15/20:  Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he visited University Hospital’s Vaccine Clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School to mark the historic beginning of New Jersey’s vaccination effort and witness the administration of the first COVID-19 vaccinations to the state’s frontline health care workers.

The federal government has allocated 76,050 first doses to New Jersey for the first tranche of the Pfizer-BioNTech (ultra-cold chain) vaccine, which began arriving at acute care hospitals Monday morning. New Jersey will roll out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all adults who live, work, or are being educated in the state. Phasing will ensure that limited vaccines are distributed in a fair and equitable manner. Phase 1A of the plan, which captures approximately 650,000 people, includes healthcare workers who are paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. Acute care hospital workers at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 will be the first to receive the vaccine.

The Department of Health issued guidance to the all acute care hospitals last week to help prepare for vaccine deployment.

Six acute care hospitals across the state— AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Cooper University Hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and University Hospital— are receiving doses this week of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. By the end of the week, vaccines should be available at an additional 47 acute care hospitals that can manage the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which requires ultra-cold chain storage.  While acute care hospitals will be the only points of dispensing during the first week of vaccine availability, the network will expand to additional sites like Federally Qualified Health Centers, local health departments, county sites, urgent care clinics, and pharmacies in December, pending vaccine availability.  

Phase 1A will also include long-term care residents, who are adults who live in facilities that provide a range of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently. Long-term care facilities will be served on-site through a pharmacy partnership supported by the CDC.

In advance of administration of the first doses in New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Health’s COVID-19 Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) reviewed the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s usage guidance for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. The PAC includes New Jersey-specific experts representing both geographic and professional diversity. The current membership includes state officials, epidemiology and immunization experts, public health professionals, health systems and health practitioners, local health champions, infectious and chronic disease providers, ethics and legal experts, equity and inclusion leaders, academics, and health quality advisors.

12/11/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing they will open a no-cost COVID-19 testing center inside the Student Center of County College of Morris (CCM) for those who live and work in Morris County. The tests will be made available by appointment only, and appointments are being accepted now for testing on Monday, Dec. 14, and Saturday, Dec. 19.  After next week, appointments for the testing at CCM will be scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

No one will be permitted to walk into the facility without an appointment, and appointments must be scheduled on-line through the Morris County COVID-19 Information website.  Proof of residency or proof of employment within Morris County will be required upon arrival at the Student Center for the appointment. While individuals scheduling a test will not be charged for the service, they will be asked to provide information about whether they have health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare or no healthcare coverage.

Individuals will be limited to two, no-cost tests per month, whether they receive the tests at the CCM facility or through the at-home testing program currently available to Morris County residents and workers through the county’s COVID-19 information website.

Please monitor the COVID-19 information page on the Morris County website to learn of any changes in the testing schedule at CCM or updates on other testing programs.

Vault Health Saliva Test

The test being made available at CCM is a saliva test provided by Vault Health and developed by Rutgers University. It is as accurate as the nasal swab. The test only detects active COVID-19 infection.  The test will not determine if an individual has antibodies indicating past exposure to COVID-19. Anyone who makes an appointment for the test will be required not to eat, drink or chew gum at least 30 minutes prior to having he test administered.

Directions and Precautions

Parking at CCM for people with appointments will be reserved in Lot 6, where individuals using public transportation to and from CCM also may board or disembark from a bus. To find directions to CCM and learn more about public transportation options to and from the campus, please go to the CCM website. Everyone arriving at the campus is required to wear a protective face covering or mask from the time they arrive in the parking lot to the time they leave.

12/11/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing a $2.5 million grant to implement, scale-up, and enhance evidence-based interventions that accelerate students’ academic progress and reduce learning loss among New Jersey students that has resulted from school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The “Addressing Student Learning Loss” grants will fund programs in public schools, including charter and renaissance schools across 16 districts. These 16 districts will receive up to approximately $156,500 per award using funding that the New Jersey Department of Education (Department) set aside in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for targeted initiatives.

While districts throughout New Jersey have been implementing programs with local, state, and federal funds to accelerate learning, the new grant program will allow districts to expand existing programs or implement new initiatives. The Department will showcase the successful model programs as exemplars that other districts may want to emulate.

The grant will fund evidence-based interventions or instructional strategies in math and/or English language arts, and/or social-emotional learning supports to address learning loss. The grant also provides recommended strategies that schools may choose to adopt during the 17-month initiative, which could take the form of programs such as extensive individual or small group tutoring or interventions, after-school or summer programs, access to online learning platforms, or coaching for teachers.

Interested applicants have until January 21, 2021 to apply for the grant. The full Addressing Student Learning Loss grant can be viewed on the Department’s Grant Opportunities webpage.

12/09/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Office on Aging, Disabilities, and Community Programming has partnered with Atlantic Health System to provide and administer flu shots to homebound seniors and adults with disabilities at no cost to the recipients.

Supplies are limited, and to qualify for a shot recipients must be Morris County residents, homebound, 60 years of age or older, or a homebound individual with a disability who is between the ages of 18 and 59.  Flu shots are important to populations such as seniors and people with disabilities, who are more vulnerable to the flu, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also contends flu shots are this year are critical. The flu shots are part of an ongoing effort in Morris County to connect seniors and adults with disabilities to community resources during the pandemic. Providing at home services is especially important for seniors during the pandemic because it minimizes the potential their exposure to the virus.  Offering the option to have the flu shot administered by a trusted partner such as Atlantic Health also allows for a sense of relief for those who are unable to get to a provider.

To request an appointment for a flu shot, call Solangel Patarroyo at 973-971-7259 or reach out through email at:  Solangel.Patarroyo@atlantichealth.org.

12/05/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing the launch of its at-home, no-cost COVID-19 testing program today for Morris County residents and people who work in Morris County, as the number of new cases continues to increase in correlation with a statewide spike in the virus.

A portal through which qualified Morris County residents and workers can apply for testing materials to be sent to their homes may be found on the Morris County’s Office of Health Management COVID-19 information page: https://health.morriscountynj.gov/coronavirus/#testing

People applying to receive the home tests will reach a landing page informing them of two available tests – one involving saliva and one nasal, both of which are laboratory-confirmed PCR tests (not rapid antigen tests) – and directing them to select one.

The tests are available ONLY to Morris County residents and people who work in Morris County, and applicants will be required to provide information on where they reside. Those who work in Morris County, but do not live in the county, will be required to submit additional proof of where they are employed such as an employee identification card or the employer’s contact information.

Once that information is confirmed by Morris County staff, an email will be sent to the applicant with further instructions.

Applicants will also be asked to provide information about their private health insurance, Medicaid and Medicare coverage, but will not be billed for the tests. Anyone who is not insured must indicate so on the on-line application, but the test still will be completed at no cost.

The nasal swab test, which is restricted to individuals who are age 18 and older, is a test already available to the public through LabCorp, and it is known as their Pixel test. It currently is restricted to people with symptoms of COVID-19 infection. It will be shipped overnight to individuals, who will be asked to follow directions on how to take a sample and return-mail it in a prepaid package. An applicant must have a personal email account, and results generally are available within 48 hours of receipt by the testing company.

The saliva test, provided by Vault Health, was developed by Rutgers University. It too will be shipped to an individual’s home overnight. There is no age restriction, but the testing must be conducted under the supervision of an online Vault test supervisor via Zoom Video Conference. It requires access to a personal, family or friend’s online Zoom account, and the applicant must have a personal email account.

Anyone who tests positive should quarantine and will be directed to contact his or her healthcare provider. Additionally, anticipate a call from a health department official for contact tracing to determine if anyone else was exposed.

12/05/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Administrative Order 2020-24, which clarifies that indoor entertainment centers where a performance is viewed or given, including a movie theater, performing arts center, and other concert venues, may host a performance in an adjacent outdoor area with a maximum capacity equivalent to the facility’s indoor capacity permitted under Paragraph 6 of Executive Order No. 196 (2020). The order will take effect immediately.

12/05/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 207, which automatically enrolls residents who choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine into the state’s existing vaccine registry. The Governor’s Executive Order changes inclusion into the New Jersey Immunization Information System from an opt-in to an opt-out program for residents who elect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. That group of residents will be automatically enrolled into the system, and will then be permitted to opt-out of the registry 30 days after the public health emergency expires. 

Currently, all individuals born on or after January 1, 1998 are automatically enrolled in the registry, unless they opt-out of the registry. Any individual born prior to January 1, 1998 can elect to opt-in to the registry.  

Automatic enrollment in the state's existing vaccine registry system for those who choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine ensures that keeping accurate vaccination records is as easy and streamlined as possible, which is especially important when two doses of a vaccine are required.

“Accurate accounting of every dose of vaccine is vital to monitoring implementation progress of New Jersey’s vaccination plan,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “The system will also allow us to ensure residents are returning for the second dose of vaccine.”

12/04/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he signed legislation (A4852) expanding eligibility for extended UI benefits to claimants who either had been eligible for regular UI benefits prior to exhausting those benefits or earned 40 times their unemployment weekly benefits rate. Per prior law, eligibility for extended UI benefits, which offer up to an additional 20 weeks of benefits, was limited to claimants who satisfied both criteria.

Claimants of Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program benefits are entitled to 26 weeks of regular unemployment in New Jersey. The CARES Act offers up to 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. After claimants exhaust their 26 weeks of State unemployment plus 13 weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, claimants are eligible for extended benefits. Twenty weeks of extended benefits are available during “high unemployment periods.” The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced on July 1 that it would begin providing 20 weeks of extended unemployment to New Jersey workers who have exhausted their State and federal jobless benefits. The additional 20 weeks of benefits brings to 59 the maximum number of weeks an eligible claimant may receive unemployment benefits.

Under prior State unemployment law, a claimant qualifies for extended benefits, only if the claimant had been eligible for regular UI benefits prior to exhausting those benefits and was paid wages during the base year of the claimant’s applicable benefit year 40 times the claimant’s weekly benefit rate. A4852 permits the claimant to be eligible for the extended benefits if the claimant had been eligible for regular UI benefits prior to exhausting those benefits or earned 40 times their unemployment weekly benefit rate.

12/03/20: TAP into Montville reported that First Night Morris will be offering live, virtual entertainment on New Years Eve to ring in 2021.

The event will showcase 100 artists in dance, theater, comedy, music visual arts, world cultures, kids programs, and a midnight countdown. All shows will be presented live, virtual and on demand. Organizers are promising a "dazzling Light Up the Night Virtual Show" at 9:15pm and midnight to welcome in the new year. 

Admission is offered in three levels ranging from $10 per ticket to $30 per ticket, and can be purchased directly from First Night Morris at their website: https://fn2021.firstnightmorris.com/.

12/03/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing counseling and discussion groups for anyone affected by COVID-19. 

The Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris is offering three options for emotional support, guidance, information, referrals, and COVID-19 resources for anyone who has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Services are free, confidential, and virtual or by phone.  

The program serves anyone from a school-age child to an adult, or senior citizen. Anyone impacted by COVID-19 can participate. Examples of people who may benefit from the program include:

  • Parents who are home-schooling their children
  • Children who are adjusting to homeschooling or hybrid learning
  • Teens or college students who are not attending school or on campus learning regularly
  • Senior citizens who are cut off from families due to health concerns
  • Essential workers who are constantly at risk due to exposure
  • Anyone who has lost their job, a loved one, or the opportunity to celebrate an achievement or milestone

1. "Holiday Discussion Group", on Zoom, Mondays from 5-6 p.m.
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/99093083986?pwd=cHUzSCt2cmhwOUZXUTJ2ckpRQmxjUT09,
Meeting ID: 990 9308 3986
Password: 384926

2. "Connection is Just a Click Away Discussion Group", on Zoom, every Wednesday from 2-3 p.m.
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/99243356990?pwd=b0duS3lNU3R4YXd4TE1PVDk0aEIrUT09
Meeting ID: 992 4335 6990
Password: 537656

3. Individual Crisis Counseling Program for people feeling anxious about COVID-19: free, confidential and virtual. Just call 973-509-9777, ext 171 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m, or email Gpalmer@mhaessexmorris.org.

The Mental Health Association of NJ is also offering two free, virtual, and confidential NJ Hope and Healing emotional support helplines:

1. During the COVID-19 pandemic, your mental health is vital. For free emotional support from trained staff, call the NJ Mental Health Cares Helptline at 866-202-HELP (4357), or text NJHOPE to 51684, 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm.

En Espanol: Durante la pandemia de COVID-19, su salud mental es vital. Solicite apoyo emocional gratuito de personal capacitado; 7 dias por semana de 8am a 8pm. 866-202-Help (4357).

2. A free emotional support helpline during COVID-19 for people who are deaf and hard of hearing is also available. Sign language users can communicate with ACCESS of St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson. Call 973-870-0677 VP, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

12/03/20: The Montville Township Committee reopened the Dog Park with strict protective health and safety measures.

12/02/20: Montville Township issued a press release announcing:

"It has come my attention as the Township Administrator that there were some concerns about our COVID-19 safety protocols when entering the municipal buildings.  First, I would like to clearly state as the Township Administrator and Office of Emergency Management Coordinator, that it is my responsibility to run the Township on a day-to-day basis.  Our Mayor and Township Committee are not here on a day-to-day basis; however, they are very involved and aware of how we run our operations. Secondly, for anyone who knows me professionally, I take my job very serious, especially the safety and well-being of every resident of Montville Township.  I am certainly anything but indifferent when it comes to our residents as well as our Township employees’ safety.  

For the record, let me briefly outline the protocols we have in place for our employees working in our municipal buildings: 

  • Each morning, our employees are required to complete the Employee COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire prior to entering any Township building or facility.
  • If, in answering the questionnaire, there is an affirmative answer to any of the questions, the employee is required to contact the Montville Township Health Officer who will then commence a review of the circumstances which will determine whether said employee has to quarantine themselves or be able to enter the building to work.
  • All employees within the Township buildings and facilities are required to follow all of the COVID-19 safety protocols such as wearing their masks when they are outside their work area; to always maintain the appropriate safety distance from both co-workers and the public; and to always have their mask on when moving about the municipal building and facilities.
  • We have COVID-19 safety protocols in place when the public enters our buildings.   If, for any reason those protocols are in question, we will not allow said individual to enter the building.  

A lot of time and thought has gone into implementing and enforcing these safety protocols, all designed to protect the employees of Montville Township as well as the public at large.  While we have tried our best to adhere to all of these safety measures, we are not perfect, as human beings, and at times, people are forgetful of the rules, but we try our best to recognize those weaknesses and address them accordingly.   

In closing, as the Township Administrator, if a resident has unfortunately experienced an instance when these safety protocols were not adhered to, I can only offer my apologies and assure you that I take these matters very serious and will address them accordingly with the hope that they never happen again.   

Happy Holidays and a safe and prosperous New Year. 

Sincerely, 

Victor M. Canning, Township Administrator 

P.S., As your Township Administrator, I am always accessible if you ever need to reach out to speak with me about anything that may concern you."

11/30/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 204, which pauses indoor practices and competitions for youth and adult sports from Saturday, December 5 at 6:00 a.m. through Saturday, January 2, 2021. The EO also lowers the outdoor gatherings limit from 150 people to 25 people, effective Monday, December 7 at 6:00 a.m.

Indoor Youth and Adult Sports

Indoor sports practices and competitions, including group, competitive and/or organized sporting activities for youth and adults, will be prohibited starting Saturday, December 5, at 6:00 a.m. until Saturday, January 2, 2021. This prohibition will not impact collegiate and professional sporting activities.  Private fitness classes, lessons, and trainings at gyms, studios and similar locations are permitted to continue.

Outdoor Gatherings

Wedding ceremonies, funerals, memorial services, and religious and political activities are not subject to the outdoor gatherings limit. All other types of gatherings, such as a high school football game or an outdoor concert, will be limited to 25 individuals.  Athletes, coaches, referees and other individuals necessary for a professional or collegiate sports competition are not counted towards the 25-person limit.  

For other adult and youth sports occurring outdoors, the number of individuals necessary for a game or practice can exceed the 25-person limit, but only if no individuals who are not necessary for the event, such as spectators, are present.

Outdoor gatherings continue to be subject to strict social distancing restrictions, including the requirement to wear masks whenever it is not possible to social distance.

Addiction Support Groups

Indoor meetings of addiction groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, are not limited to 10 individuals, but will instead be limited to 25 percent of the capacity of the room in which they take place, up to a maximum of 150 individuals.

11/25/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that the NJ Department of Community Affairs issued guidance for restaurants and similar establishments on the utilization of outdoor space during the winter months.

In addition to the Uniform Construction Code, the International Code Council’s “Considerations for Converting Outdoor Spaces into Temporary Seating Spaces” provides supplemental guidance and should be utilized.  This guidance notes the applicable sections of the International Building and Fire Codes that would apply as adopted by the UCC.  It can be accessed at: https://www.iccsafe.org/wp-content/uploads/20-19250_GR_Outdoor_Seating_Code_RPT_FINAL_HIRES.pdf.

Previous guidance for Outdoor Dining and UCC/UFC permit issuance can be found at https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/alerts/covid19.html.

Establishments can direct questions to DCA’s Code Assistance Unit at (609) 984-7609.

11/25/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 203, which postpones all special school elections from January 26, 2021 to the March 2021 special school election date. Additionally, this executive order modifies Executive Order No. 193 such that notices in lieu of sample ballots for the Perth Amboy runoff election are mailed as “return service requested”, as required by current law.

11/25/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release with a statement on NJ Travel Advisory Guidance: “As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate throughout our nation, New Jersey will no longer utilize previously outlined metrics to inform its travel advisory. Given the increased risk of spreading COVID-19 for both residents who travel outside the state and for visitors into the state, New Jersey continues to strongly discourage all non-essential interstate travel at this time. Travelers and residents returning from any U.S. state or territory beyond the immediate region (New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging for the CDC recommended period, which is currently 14 days. The Department of Health will issue additional information in the coming days regarding travel precautions. Individuals should continue to abide by the state’s current guidance until a new policy is issued.”

11/24/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that NewBridge Services and Christian Health Care Center are offering a Free Zoom Webinar on "Coping During Covid-19: Dealing with Holiday Stress Amidst a Pandemic" at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

Webinar topics include:

  • Stress and anxiety related to COVID
  • Tips for families on celebrating safely
  • Managing Holiday Stress
  • Ways to Cope – Strategies, Tools and Resources

The virtual presentation will give some ideas on how to mitigate holiday stress which is now compounded by Covid and restrictions, said Beth Jacobson of NewBridge Services, who will be one of the presenters. Alternative ways of celebrating, mindfulness practices will be discussed. They will also share hotline numbers for anyone who is really struggling to cope.

Join this informative event! To register go to: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/holidaystresswebinar

For more information, contact Beth Jacobson at (973) 686-2242 or ejacobson@newbridge.org.

11/23/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that County College of Morris has both federal and state grant funds to help students stay on track with their higher education. Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars are available for students who are currently registered at CCM to cover a wide range of expenses so they can move forward with a high-quality education. Those dollars can be used by those impacted by the pandemic to cover such expenses as tuition, technology, housing, child care and more. Those who previously received CARES funds also may apply again due to continued pandemic related hardship. To review eligibility requirements and to apply, go to www.ccm.edu/admissions/financialaid/ccmcares-studentemergencygrant/.

11/22/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 200, which extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order No. 103, which was previously extended on April 7, May 6, June 4, July 2, August 1, August 27, September 25, and October 24. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed.

Executive Order No. 200 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

11/21/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Administrative Order 2020-23, which clarifies that athletes, coaches, referees, trainers, and other individuals necessary to the performance of an outdoor high school sporting event are not included in the total number of individuals present at the gathering for purposes of the limit on outdoor gatherings. The order will take effect immediately and sunset on Monday, November 30, 2020.

11/20/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 198, which extends certain election-related deadlines. The EO extends the deadline by which counties must certify the results of the election from Friday, November 20, to Wednesday, November 25 for those counties that are unable to meet the initial deadline because COVID-19 has had a significant impact on their boards of election staff and facilities, with only Ocean and Salem counties being eligible.  The EO also extends, for all counties, the date by which statutorily-required election audits must occur, from Friday, December 4 until Friday, December 11.

11/19/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Delaware Governor John Carney, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today announced they will encourage residential colleges and universities in their respective states to provide testing for all students traveling home for Thanksgiving break to the maximum extent possible before they leave campus. Any student who tests positive will be encouraged to isolate on campus before they can travel or detail arrangements of their safe travel home with the local department of health. These efforts will help mitigate the threat of college students returning home for the holidays importing COVID-19 into their communities. In addition, colleges should inform students and their families of relevant quarantine policies in their home state.  

For a copy of the full New Jersey Department of Health guidance for college and university students traveling home for winter break, please click here.                  

11/17/20: Montville Township issued a press release announcing that:

"Along with the rest of the state, and the nation, we are experiencing a steep increase in the number of COVID-19 cases here in Montville Township. Additionally, the average age of cases has decreased dramatically over the past two months, indicating a higher percentage of cases occurring among children and young adults. The increase among these younger age groups has a direct correlation to a variety of outside group activities.

Accordingly, out of an abundance of caution to protect the well-being of our entire community, with the input of the Health Department, the Recreation Department, and Administration, the following decision has been made by the Township:

Effective November 17th, Montville Township is suspending all outdoor Township recreation programs, and closing the community basketball courts, playing fields, playgrounds, pavilions, and Dog Park. Please note that this was a very difficult decision, but it has been made for the protection of public health and safety concerns, and to further mitigate the increase of Covid-19 cases Montville Township is currently experiencing. 

We greatly appreciate your cooperation in taking the appropriate steps to notify your board members, coaches and players that all outdoor recreational activities will be suspended effective Tuesday, November 17th. Recreation offerings will be re-opened in the future in accordance with all guidance provided by the local health department. 

The walking paths at Camp Dawson and the Community Park will remain open, however, all persons using these walking paths will be required while doing so to wear masks at all times, and to follow all established safety protocols, including maintaining safe social distancing from others also using the paths. The Montville Township Police Department will be patrolling the parks to assist the Parks and Recreation Department in making sure all persons using these walking paths are complying with these directives."

11/17/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 196, which lowers indoor and outdoor gathering limits. Effective Tuesday, November 17 at 6:00 a.m., the indoor gathering limit will decrease from 25 to 10 peopleThe outdoor gathering limit will decrease from 500 people to 150 people, effective Monday, November 23 at 6:00 a.m.

Indoor Gatherings 

The limit for weddings, funerals, memorial services and religious and political activities remain unchanged and will be limited to 25% of the capacity of the room in which the gathering takes place, up to a maximum of 150 individuals. 

Indoor sporting competitions and practices will be permitted to exceed the 10 person limit only for individuals necessary for the practice or competition, such as players, coaches, and referees, but may not exceed 150 individuals.  For most indoor sports, this will mean that there can be no spectators.

Legislative and judicial proceedings are not subject to the indoor gatherings limits. 

Outdoor Gatherings

Weddings, funerals, memorial services, and religious and political activities are not subject to the outdoor gatherings limit. All other types of gatherings, such as a high school football game or an outdoor concert, will be limited to 150 individuals.  Athletes, coaches, referees and other individuals necessary for a professional or collegiate sports competition are not counted towards the 150 person limit.  

Outdoor gatherings continue to be subject to strict social distancing restrictions, including the requirement to wear masks whenever it is not possible to social distance.

11/16/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that the New Jersey Department of Health today issued health and safety guidance for the state’s long-term care facilities, which provides measures for residents who leave the facility for a holiday gathering, including a 14-day quarantine at the conclusion of their visit.

To protect the health of this vulnerable population, the Department strongly recommends against families taking residents out of facilities for holiday celebration events or gatherings. Instead, the Department recommends visitation outdoors or possibly indoors in facilities that meet the requirements for indoor visitation. Long-term care facilities should plan to accommodate increased virtual communications for residents.

“Small family gatherings are a significant driver of increasing cases, and bringing your loved one’s home could put them at risk,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “We remain concerned about the number of outbreaks we are seeing in long-term care, so we need to be especially vigilant to protect this population. We continue to partner with the industry to improve quality and infection control in these facilities.”

Long-term care facilities need to develop a plan for holiday visits and gatherings which estimate the number of residents who can be cohorted for a 14-day quarantine period from Nov. 25 through Dec. 31.

Long-term care facilities should create a reservation process tied to the number of individuals the facility can quarantine on their return. Residents who leave the facility for family visits must be quarantined upon return to the facility either in their own room, if they have a private room, or in an observation room.

A waiting list should be created once the reservation list is full. However, residents and families should be informed that residents who leave without a reservation or while on a waiting list may not be guaranteed readmittance to the facility at the end of their visit.

Residents and families must certify that they will follow masking, social distancing and hand hygiene practices, and that they will notify the facility if anyone who attended the holiday gathering tests positive for COVID-19 or exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days of the resident’s visit/stay outside the facility.

11/13/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 195, which permits municipalities and counties to impose additional restrictions on the hours of operation of non-essential retail businesses, food and beverage establishments, and recreation and entertainment businesses after 8:00 p.m. The Order prohibits municipalities and counties from imposing restrictions that prevent dining establishments from arranging for the pickup or delivery of goods or otherwise limiting their scope of operations. The Order will take effect immediately.

Governor Murphy’s Executive Order states that any county or municipal restriction that in any way conflicts with any provision of statewide rules will be invalidated. Examples of such restrictions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Any additions to or deletions from the list of retail businesses deemed essential or that have been identified as essential through Administrative Orders authorized by the Governor’s Executive Orders;
  2. Any limitations imposed on any business’s scope of service;
  3. Any density or social distancing requirements;
  4. Any orders relating to the gathering of individuals; and
  5. General restrictions on the freedom of movement within that county or municipality, including but not limited to the imposition of curfews.

Nothing in the Order shall supersede the provisions of Executive Order No. 108 that currently remain in effect, which includes the ability of municipalities and counties to impose additional restrictions on online marketplaces for arranging or offering lodging and on municipal parks, or the provisions of any other order that explicitly permits municipalities and counties to impose additional restrictions.

11/12/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that seniors and adults with disabilities can pick up one of 500 free emergency supply kits. Each contains four shelf-stable meals and a first aid kit. The distribution will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23, at the Morris County Library, 30 East Hanover Ave., Whippany. Homebound residents can call 973-285-6848 to determine if a kit can be delivered. All Morris County residents who are 60 or over and adults with disabilities qualify.

Navigating Hope, Morris County’s mobile social services vehicle, will be on site during the distribution for anyone who would like more information on county services. Funding for this program was made possible through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

11/12/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he, along with the Governors of Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, will support a regional approach to interstate competitions. As case numbers increase in many states across the country, it is critical that neighboring states coordinate a regional approach to limit further community spread of the virus. 

The seven states will suspend interstate competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey effective this Saturday, November 14, 2020 through at minimum December 31, 2020. The prohibition will not impact interstate collegiate, professional, or U.S. national team hockey activities, which will remain subject to existing health and safety protocols and/or restrictions. 

As public health data continues to evolve, the states will reassess the need for continued restrictions on interstate sports activities. 

11/11/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing a commitment of at least $60 million in additional Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to fulfillment of grants under Phase 3 of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. This funding is in addition to $70 million in federal funds already allocated for the current phase of the program and will enable the NJEDA to fulfill grants for the entire pipeline of eligible businesses that applied for Phase 3 funding prior to the application deadline. Without this supplemental funding, approximately 13,000 of the nearly 22,000 businesses that applied for Phase 3 grants would have been declined based on the program being oversubscribed. In addition to the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, the NJEDA administers a variety of technical assistance and low-cost financing programs for small and mid-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19. More information about these programs and other State support is available at https://covid19.nj.gov.

11/10/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Board of Freeholders will launch at-home and mobile COVID-19 testing programs for Morris County residents and workers within the next week, as the number of new cases in the county continues to increase in correlation with a spike in the virus statewide.

“Our task force saw weeks ago that our cases were starting to increase, and we asked our Department of Law and Public Safety to begin preparing a plan for new testing in the event a second wave of the pandemic. It appears we are there,” said Freeholder Director Deborah Smith, referring to the Morris County COVID-19 Recovery Task Force formed to develop strategies to assist businesses and communities overcome pandemic impacts.

The purpose of the expanded testing is to:

  • Identify Asymptomatic Individuals
  • Increase Test Availability for Symptomatic Individuals
  • Detect Clusters or Outbreaks
  • Provide Trending Data for Proactive Measures

At-Home Testing

The at-home testing will be the first phase, but Morris County is not yet ready to go live with it.

The testing will involve going to the Morris County website and accessing a portal, but the county still is in the process of developing the on-line portal. Please do not call the county or your municipal officials at this point. Once the portal is active, announcements will be made and further information will be shared with the public, media and municipal officials.

"Once the at-home testing is up and running, we will begin mobile testing. Our hope is within the next week or two we will have everything ready. The goal is that there will be no out-of-pocket costs to Morris County residents for this testing," said Scott DiGiralomo, Director of Morris County's Department of Law and Public Safety, who briefed municipal leaders in a phone conference yesterday. 

“The costs will be covered by individual insurance plans, federal aid and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding we were able to secure in August,” said Freeholder Douglas Cabana, the board liaison to Law and Public Safety. “The federal money we received will reimburse Morris County for the response efforts we launched with our own funding at the start of the pandemic, including the drive-through testing station we set up at the County College of Morris. The remaining dollars should help us continue testing through the year.”

The drive-through testing facility will not be reactivated at this time.

The on-line portal for at-home testing will enable individuals to determine whether to order a nasal or a saliva test, and then begin the process of scheduling at-home delivery of testing kits.  Individuals will be required to provide their insurance information, Medicare or Medicaid data, or indicate that they are uninsured. However, no one will be billed for accessing the tests.

The nasal swab, which is restricted to individuals who are age 18 and older, is one already available to the public through LabCorp, and it is known as their Pixel test. It will be shipped overnight to individuals, who will be asked to follow directions on how to take a sample and return-mail it in a prepaid package. Results generally are available within 48 hours of receipt by the testing company.

The other test, provided by Vault Health, is a saliva test developed by Rutgers University. It too will be shipped to an individual’s home overnight. There is no age restriction, but guardians and parents must obtain the sample while participating in a tele-visit by computer or phone with an advisor at Vault. The advisor will guide participants on how to conduct the test and return it through the mail.

At this time, participants are only allowed two (2) tests per month. Anyone who tests positive will be directed to contact his or her healthcare provider and will receive a call from a contact tracer.

Mobile Testing:

Morris County will deploy mobile testing units in cooperation with local health authorities, particularly in areas where outbreaks are being detected or suspected. Vulnerable populations, including people without healthcare, in Dover and Morristown will be among the first targeted for testing in cooperation with Zufall Health Center.

11/10/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes the addition of Maine and New Hampshire, bringing the total to 45 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, November 10, there are currently 45 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Mexico; Nevada; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon;  Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Wisconsin; West Virginia; Washington; and Wyoming.  

Due to the interconnected nature of the region and mode of transport between New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, a 14-day quarantine is not reasonable in all instances. Non-essential travel to and from these states, however, is highly discouraged at this time. 

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

11/10/20: Morris County Emergency Management Coordinator Scott DiGiralomo issued Morris County Order Pursuant to a Declaration of Emergency #8, which modifies the Morris County Declaration of Emergency issued on March 19, 22020 to the extent that it is now superceded in relevant part by the terms and conditions enumerated in Executive Order 194, and as modified by Executive Orders 156, 161, and 183, and to note that the County or local municipalities are authorized by the terms of Executive Order 152, paragraphs 6 and 7, to impose any additional conditions that it may deem fit to protect the safety and health of the community as it relates to county or municipal parks.

11/10/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 194, which includes new COVID-19 mitigation measures. The measures include restrictions on seating and hours for restaurants, bars, clubs, and lounges, and prohibition of interstate indoor K-12 and youth sports.

The measures being announced today include:

Restrictions on Hours for Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Lounges, and Casinos –

  1. Restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and other businesses that serve food or drinks will not be able to operate their indoor premises between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.  Outdoor dining can continue after 10:00 p.m., as can takeout and delivery services. 
  2. Casinos will not be able to serve food or drinks between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., with the exception of room service delivered to guest rooms and takeout.  Other casino operations would be unaffected.

Restrictions on Bar Seating, Increased Flexibility for Restaurants –

  1. Seating at the physical bar in the indoor areas of bars and restaurants will be prohibited during all operating hours.
  2. Due to the impact this may have on restaurants with small seating areas, restaurants will be allowed to have groups at tables indoors that are closer than six feet together, if they are separated by barriers that comply with guidance from the Department of Health. 
  3. Restaurants will be allowed to set up plastic domes outdoors, limited to one group each, as additional outdoor dining space.

Restrictions on Interstate Indoor Sports Competitions –

  1. All interstate games and tournaments involving indoor sports, up to and including the high school level, will be prohibited. 
  2. Collegiate and professional sports will be unaffected.

The measures will take effect on Thursday, November 12th, at 5:00 a.m.

11/04/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes the addition of Oregon and Washington, bringing the total to 43 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

 As of Wednesday, November 4, there are currently 43 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Mexico; Nevada; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon;  Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Wisconsin; West Virginia; Washington; and Wyoming.  

Neighboring states Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware now meet the criteria for New Jersey’s travel advisory. Due to the interconnected nature of the region and mode of transport between New Jersey and the three states, a 14-day quarantine is not reasonable in all instances. Non-essential travel to and from these states, however, is highly discouraged at this time. Connecticut is also discouraging non-essential travel to and from New Jersey, but are not mandating that travelers quarantine due to the interconnected nature of the region and economy. Massachusetts will be included on New Jersey's advisory, but not Connecticut’s based on the same criteria. 

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

11/03/20: OneMontville has announced OneMontville Unites, a podcast geared toward empathy, unity and happiness among the community of Montville Township. Entertaining topics are targeted towards having positive, engaging conversations and experiences among neighbors with guest speakers from different pillars of community leadership representing the broadest cross section of viewpoints in the township. Past episodes features interviews with Superintendent of Schools Dr. René Rovtar, Police Chief Andrew Caggiano, and Health Officer Aimee Puluso. The podcast is hosted on Anchor, and can be found by clicking here.

11/02/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Administrative Order 2020-22, which clarifies restrictions on professional and college athletic competitions, indoor mall services, self-service food and drink, and private tutoring facilities. The order will take effect immediately. The order clarifies that athletes, coaches, referees, trainers, and other individuals necessary to the performance of a professional or collegiate sporting event are not included in the number of individuals present at a gathering for purposes of the limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings. The order also permits vending machines and stroller rentals to operate at malls, prohibits self-service food at retail businesses including grocery stores, and opens private tutoring facilities to students and clients.

10/28/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 192, which provides mandatory health and safety standards to protect all New Jersey’s workers at work during the pandemic. The executive order will take the following actions:

Workplace health and safety standards to cover all NJ workers

The executive order will require both private and public sector employers to follow health and safety protocols that will serve to protect their in-person workforces. The Order mandates that as of 6:00 a.m. on November 5th, all employers, at minimum, require individuals at the worksite to maintain at least six feet of distance from others to the maximum extent possible and require employees and visitors to wear masks when entering the worksite, subject to certain limited exceptions.

 Other protocols require employers to:

  • Provide approved sanitization materials to employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals;
  • Ensure that employees practice hand hygiene and provide sufficient break time for that purpose;
  • Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines;
  • Conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, prior to each shift, consistent with CDC guidance;
  • Exclude sick employees from the workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws; and
  • Promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite.

Collaborative enforcement mechanism to address complaints

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) will support the Department of Health’s efforts to address worker complaints from their employers. NJDOL’s roles will include establishing an intake form on the NJDOL website to receive complaints and developing an investigation and inspection protocol to review complaints.

Training program to inform workers of their rights and to encourage employer compliance

The executive order also directs NJDOL to provide compliance and safety training for employers and employees. The department will provide materials to inform workers of their rights and businesses of their obligations as well as coordinate with workforce training partners to create and provide training.

10/27/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes the addition of California and Massachusetts, bringing the total to 41 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, October 27, there are currently 41 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Mexico; Nevada; Ohio; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Wisconsin; West Virginia; and Wyoming.   

Neighboring states Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware now meet the criteria for New Jersey’s travel advisory. Due to the interconnected nature of the region and mode of transport between New Jersey and the three states, a 14-day quarantine is not reasonable in all instances. Non-essential travel to and from these states, however, is highly discouraged at this time. New York and Connecticut are also discouraging non-essential travel to and from New Jersey, but are not mandating that travelers quarantine due to the interconnected nature of the region and economy. Massachusetts will be included on New Jersey's advisory, but neither New York’s or Connecticut’s based on the same criteria.  

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

10/27/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing New Jersey's state COVID-19 vaccination plan, designed to provide equitable access to approved vaccine(s), achieve maximum community protection and build public trust in advance of an approved vaccine(s)

New Jersey submitted its draft COVID-19 vaccination plan to the CDC on Oct. 16th. The plan calls for an all-of-government approach to a wide-scale vaccination program.

An EUA allows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to facilitate the availability of unapproved medical product to be used to prevent serious or life-threatening diseases when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. The FDA may issue an emergency use authorization for one or more COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the year or the first quarter of next year.

Several vaccines are in Phase 3 clinical trials. Some of the vaccines will require a two-dose regimen, 21-28 days apart.

The initial allotment of vaccine to states is expected to be limited. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has drafted recommendations for the first phase of the vaccination effort, prioritizing health care workers who have the potential for direct exposure and essential workers and individuals at risk, including those 65 and older. It will be up to states to determine the final allocation. The Department of Health anticipates that, following initial rounds of distribution: There will be enough supply to meet demand during Phase II. Phase III will allow open access to the vaccine. How much vaccine New Jersey will receive will depend on several factors including the population of essential and healthcare workers, current spread or prevalence of the disease, and vaccine(s) availability.

The Department of Health has been working to ensure an equitable wide-scale vaccination program since July and established the New Jersey Department of Heath COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force with nine teams. The Task Force is chaired by Dr. David Adinaro, Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Services.

In addition, a Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) meets weekly to monitor the progress of vaccines development and ensure that all discussions are made through the lens of equity. Commissioner Persichilli convened the PAC in March to provide guidance to the Department to ensure that its COVID-19 response is based on the latest scientific, medical, ethical, and public health evidence. The 28 public members and its subcommittees include healthcare leaders, academics, infectious and chronic disease healthcare practitioners, former commissioners, epidemiologists, quality experts, local health and equity leaders and ethicists representing geographic, demographic, and professional diversity. The PAC is chaired by former Deputy Commissioner and State Epidemiologist Dr. Eddy Bresnitz. After leaving the Department, he spent nearly a decade at Merck in Global Vaccine Medical Affairs.

The nine focus areas of Department’s Vaccine Task Force are:

  • Logistics & PODs or points of dispensing/delivery including local partnerships, state & mobile sites; cold chain management and PPE & supply requirements
  • Federal interoperability, IT & data flow management to monitor & track all doses delivered and administered
  • Specific Population Planning for vulnerable, high risk & essential workers
  • Enabling Policies for directives or other regulatory or policy tools
  • Management & Administration for workforce, contracting and budgeting
  • Analytics & Reporting
  • Strategic Communication
  • Public Confidence to include stakeholder calls, bringing up a call center for questions & a public awareness campaign
  • Flu vaccination. During the last flu season, 50% of the population in the state received the vaccine.

The Department of Health reminds the public that information about COVID-19 and the vaccines currently in development is still evolving and that the Department will continue to release information as it becomes available. The Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination plan has been partly informed by the state’s experience with pandemic influenza vaccination during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

The Department has a COVID-19 Vaccination webpage that includes FAQs, the COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, and an executive summary of the plan.

10/26/20: Montville Township has announced that the Municipal Building and its parking lot, located at 195 Changebridge Road, will be closed to the public on Thursday, October 29, 2020 from 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm for a drive-through influenza vaccination clinic for Montville senior citizens. This vaccination clinic is open only to Montville senior citizens. You must have an appointment to be granted access to the clinic.

A limited number of appointments are still available, please call the Montville Health Department at 973-331-3316 to secure your appointment. Again, all participants must have an pre-arranged appointment to participate in the clinic, all others will not be allowed to enter the clinic. 

As in previous years, if you are a senior citizen, and unable to leave your home to receive your flu vaccination, please call the Montville Health Department at 973-331-3316 to arrange for one of our Public Health Nurses to come to your home to administer your vaccination.

To protect yourself, and our community, the Montville Health Department strongly encourages everyone who can do so to receive their influenza vaccination this year. Vaccinations are widely available at national-level pharmacies and supermarkets. Please visit https://www.nj211.org/get-flu-ready for more information, and to find a flu shot near you.

10/26/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing extended, weekend office hours to help voters navigate the 2020 General Election. The Morris County Clerk’s Office will be open on Saturday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 31, from 8:00 a.m. to noon to assist voters seeking a new ballot, needing to vote early, reporting a ballot issue or having other problems in casting a ballot.
Due to the current pandemic, all voters entering the building will be subject to a temperature check and must wear a face mask. Pandemic protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also require limited access to the building in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.The Morris County Clerk’s Office is located on the 1st Floor of the Morris County Administration and Records Building at 10 Court Street, Morristown, N.J.

10/24/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 191, which extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order No. 103, which was previously extended on April 7, May 6, June 4, July 2, August 1, August 27, and September 25. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed. Executive Order No. 191 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

10/23/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing two bills (S2712 and S2785) ordering reforms to the long-term care industry. The bills implement recommendations from the Manatt Health Report, released on June 3, 2020. S2712 requires minimum direct care staff-to-resident ratios in New Jersey long-term care facilities. Additionally, the legislation will establish the Special Task Force on Direct Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment. S2785 requires long-term care facilities to institute policies that prevent social isolation of residents, addressing issues experienced by LTC residents and their families as a result of prohibitions and limitations on visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

10/23/20: Fall celebrations, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving, often include crowded parties and other large gatherings of families and friends that may put people at increased risk for becoming infected with COVID-19. The CDC has issued guidance and recommendations for upcoming holiday celebrations and travel meant to supplement (not replace) state and local safety laws, rules, and regulations that must be complied with. This CDC guidance includes considerations for planning both indoor and outdoor holiday celebrations and gatherings, as well as a breakdown of lower risk, moderate risk, and high risk activities associated with holidays.

10/22/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing several fraud alerts that involve the SNAP program, bail bonds, IRS, stimulus checks, and COVID-19 contact tracing. 

In this scam, criminals pretend to be contact tracers. The scammers send messages to potential victims saying they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19/Coronavirus, and need to click on the link to learn more. When that link is clicked, malicious software is downloaded onto a person’s smartphone or other device, giving hackers access to their target’s private information. 

Please note that legitimate contact tracers, including those working on behalf of the Montville Health Department, will only send text messages to let a person know that they will be calling and to answer that phone call. Messages from legitimate contact tracers DO NOT include any links. Messages that include a link to click on should be viewed as illegitimate and deleted immediately.

10/21/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that Morris County authorities are reporting a moderate increase in the rate of COVID-19 cases, consistent with a statewide uptick, citing a correlation with increased indoor gatherings prompted by cooler outdoor temperatures.

“New Jersey is seeing moderate increases in community spread of COVID-19 and the New Jersey Department of Health has indicated that it is anticipating a second wave. There has been an increase in transmission associated with gatherings, especially gatherings held indoors,” said Morris County Health Officer Carlos Perez.

As the weather turns cooler, people need to be reminded that indoor gatherings should be limited to immediate household members, he explained. Additionally, as people plan for seasonal holidays and celebrations, they should limit the number of close relatives and friends in attendance and, if possible, plan parties outdoors around a fire pit or patio heater, according to Perez.

The slight rise in county numbers was first reported at a Morris County Board of Freeholders meeting last week by Scott DiGiralomo, Director of Morris County’s Department of Law and Public Safety. He said the county remains vigilant and poised to assist the community should there be any significant resurgence of the virus, which had its greatest impact on the county back in April.

The County Office of Health Management and local health departments continue to perform essential duties to prevent the spread of infections, including enhanced surveillance and contact tracing, which is the process of identifying and notifying people who may have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 to prevent further spread of the disease.

“It is important that persons instructed to quarantine and isolate by their local health department and/or healthcare provider do so to prevent the spread of infection,” said Perez. Contact tracers, he said, will not ask for social security numbers, bank or credit card information, health insurance information, immigration status, or criminal history. “They are only following up about potential exposure to COVID-19 cases, to determine if a person has symptoms and needs to self-isolate. Report any calls from persons identifying themselves as contact tracers and requesting such information to your local police department,” Perez said.

Health professionals emphasize that COVID-19 is preventable if individuals:

  1. Wear a cloth face covering when in public (both indoors and outdoors).
  2. Practice social distancing (maintain a 6-foot space between you and others).
  3. Follow good respiratory hygiene recommendations.
  4. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands.
  5. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or eyes with unclean hands.
  6. Get a flu shot.
  7. Stay home if you are sick and avoid sick people.
  8. If you become ill, call your healthcare provider before going to a doctor’s office or emergency department of a hospital.

Planning to travel during the upcoming holidays?

Remember: There are 38 states/territories on a state issued travel advisory list, and the list is updated and changes regularly. Anyone leaving New Jersey to travel to a state/territory on the travel advisory list should quarantine for 14-days upon their return to the state.

More information is available at the NJ COVID-19 Information Hub: https://covid19.nj.gov/index.html

Review and follow CDC travel advisories when planning travel abroad: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

10/21/20: NJ Communications Director Mahen Gunaratna issued a press release announcing: “A member of the Governor's senior staff recently tested positive for COVID-19. Per guidance from public health officials, the individual is currently quarantining at home. We have begun the contact tracing process to notify everyone who may have come into contact with our colleague during the potential infection window. Out of an abundance of caution and in line with the highest levels of commitment to protecting public health, the Governor and First Lady will be canceling their in-person events and voluntarily quarantining through the end of the weekend, and each will take an additional COVID-19 test before they resume any in-person engagements. The Governor received a coronavirus test on Monday as part of his regularly-scheduled testing regime, which came back negative. The Governor and First Lady were also tested this afternoon, which came back negative. From the beginning, the Governor's Office has taken every precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19. Today's exceedingly cautious steps are part of that ongoing commitment."  

10/21/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing $14 million in additional Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to develop workforce development programs. The programs are designed to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 replenish their workforce and help jobless residents learn new skills that lead to successful reemployment. The CARES Act funding has been divided to a three-pronged plan to bolster workers’ skills and get them back on the job. The programs will be implemented by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  

10/21/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes the addition of Arizona and Maryland, bringing the total to 39 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, October 20, there are currently 39 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; Colorado; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Mexico; Nevada; Ohio; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Wisconsin; West Virginia; and Wyoming. 

Neighboring states Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware now meet the criteria for New Jersey’s travel advisory. Due to the interconnected nature of the region and mode of transport between New Jersey and the three states, a 14-day quarantine is not reasonable in all instances. Non-essential travel to and from these states, however, is highly discouraged at this time. New York and Connecticut are also discouraging non-essential travel to and from New Jersey, but are not mandating that travelers quarantine due to the interconnected nature of the region and economy.

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

10/20/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing legislation (S2519) which requires public health emergency credits to be awarded to certain inmates and parolees during a public health emergency. The legislation includes certain exclusions and prohibits inmates or parolees to contact their victims upon their release. Under the bill, public health emergency credits would be awarded to any adult inmate or juvenile who is within 365 days of their scheduled release. Credits would accrue at the rate of 122 days (four months) for each month, or portion of each month, served during the declared emergency with a maximum of 244 days (eight months) of remission to be awarded for any declared emergency period. Credits would not to be awarded to anyone who is serving a sentence for murder or aggravated sexual assault or who has been deemed a repetitive, compulsive sex offender.

10/19/20: Although Montville Township was unable to secure a veterinarian for the rabies clinic that is usually held here in Montville Township, Lincoln Park and their contracted veterinarian have graciously agreed to extend the hours of their clinic for the convenience of Montville Township residents. 

The Lincoln Park / Montville Township free rabies clinic will be held on Friday, November 6, 2020, at the Lincoln Park Fire Department Hose Company #1 at 20 Boonton Turnpike (next to the Lincoln Park Municipal Building) in Lincoln Park, and will be open to Montville Township and other NJ residents from 6:00pm to 7:30pm.

A list of the many other free rabies vaccination clinics that will be held throughout Morris County can be found at: https://health.morriscountynj.gov/public/rabies/. These clinics are free, and open to all NJ residents. Please contact the municipality in question for more information.


10/19/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing the launch of New Jersey’s COVID-19 Transparency website, providing oversight and public confidence in the expenditure of federal recovery funds as the State continues to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement of the website follows the Governor’s signing of Executive Order No. 166 on July 17, 2020, which established the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office (GDRO) and COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Task Force. The site can be accessed here.

10/16/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 190, which extends a moratorium preventing New Jersey residents from having their utilities disconnected through at least March 15, 2021. The moratorium applies to all residential gas, electric and water utilities, both public and private. Further, the utilities will not be charging late fees nor fees to reconnect services that have been disconnected. The Order also requires that all residential services that were disconnected after social distancing measures went into effect on March 16 be reconnected. The Governor and legislative leadership further announced that $15 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund will be allocated to assisting low income households in paying off utility arrearages.

10/16/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 189, which extends the filing deadline for 2019 Corporate Business Tax (CBT) calendar year returns being filed under extension to November 16, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The previous filing deadline for calendar year returns being filed under extension was October 15, 2020.

10/15/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Freeholders today reported that the rate of COVID-19 cases in the county remained consistent with the rest of New Jersey, which reported an uptick of cases. The data, discussed at a regular freeholder meeting tonight, continued to show cases well below the devastating high in April, while a statewide increase has been reported. Scott DiGiralomo, Director of Morris County’s Department of Law and Public Safety, said his office has seen the number of cases go up, but not significantly, suggesting it may be related to school openings. He and the freeholders said the county remains vigilant and poised to assist the community should there be any resurgence of the virus.

10/14/20: Although Montville Township will not be able to hold their regularly scheduled free rabies vaccination clinic this November due to the lack of an available veterinarian, there are numerous nearby municipalities in Morris County that will be holding upcoming clinics. A list of these clinics, which are free, and available to all NJ residents, can be found at: https://health.morriscountynj.gov/public/rabies/.

10/14/20: According to the CDC, getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Flu season begins in October and continues into early spring (peak season is in January and February). All residents are encouraged to be aware, and to take precautionary and preventative measures. That includes getting your flu vaccine. 2-1-1 NJ has a list of resources you can explore to find a convenient location for you and your family to get vaccinated against the flu, which can be found at: https://www.nj211.org/get-flu-ready

10/14/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Clerk's Office is experiencing a record volume of phone calls and is urging residents to use the Morris County Clerk's website for voting questions. Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi urged voters with simple questions regarding the election to use her website, noting her office is experiencing an exorbitant volume of phone calls. One employee’s phone system recorded 2,008 messages over the weekend, according to the Clerk. Additionally, the office is experiencing on average more than 100 phone calls per hour on all election staff phone systems. 

Their website, www.morriscountyclerk.org, can answer most of the questions being asked, and contains:

Detailed information on all aspects of this election, such as:

  1. ballot box locations,
  2. polling locations,
  3. dates when ballots were mailed, written instructions on what to expect when you receive your ballot package,
  4. methods of returning your ballots, and

Videos on:

  1. How to Vote,
  2. What to do if you receive duplicate ballots, ballots for persons who are no longer living at your address and deceased parties, and
  3. mail-in ballot updates.

“We always want to answer all calls, and provide timely and accurate information, but with this unprecedented volume it becomes difficult. That is why we are urging people to use our website first before calling for routine questions,” the County Clerk explained. If, after looking at the website, a voter still feels a need to call the Clerk, please feel free to do so at 973-285-6066. However, please be mindful that the overwhelming number of calls coming into the office may require a longer than normal wait time.

10/14/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing the launch of the state’s official health insurance marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey, is now open to residents to browse health plans, compare prices and find out if they may qualify for financial help ahead of the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period that begins Nov. 1. New Jersey residents will no longer use HealthCare.gov to enroll in Marketplace health insurance plans. Instead, Marketplace plans and financial help will only be available through Get Covered New Jersey at getcovered.nj.gov.  

10/14/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes the addition of Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia bringing the total to 38 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, October 13, there are currently 38 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; Colorado; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Mexico; Nevada; Ohio; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Wisconsin; West Virginia; and Wyoming.

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

10/13/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that Morris County and its 39 towns will share $8,415,816 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding out of $60 Million released by Governor Phil Murphy today for severely impacted county and local governments not qualified to receive direct federal aid. Morris County will receive $2.3 million while $6.1 million is being shared among the municipalities. Of that $6.1 million, Montville Township will receive $238,883. The funding is intended to help the towns deal with unexpected costs caused by the pandemic, including increased costs in health benefits, health and human services, public safety, overtime, equipment and supply expenditures.

The New Jersey Department of Human Services also is providing up to $10 million to support the state’s County Boards of Social Services with COVID19-related expenses such as technology to adapt to remote work requirements, meeting the growing demand for services, and supplies and materials to meet COVID19 health and safety standards. Qualifying expenditures for the municipal funding include public safety and health-related expenses, COVID19-related overtime, increased residential and health-related garbage collection and services, remote working technology, signage and information technology related to the COVID19 response and recovery, and public health-related retrofit expenses for reopening.

The Governor said the allocation formula to determine the amounts provided used a variety of relevant metrics, including the municipal COVID19 infection rate, fiscal stress, the Municipal Revitalization Index (MRI), population, and public safety and health and human services expenditures share of the budget to determine the amount of funds counties and municipalities receive. Funds awarded may not be used for government revenue replacement, including the provision of assistance to meet tax obligations.  Eligible expenditures must be incurred during the covered period between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.

10/13/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing $100 million in additional Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support New Jersey residents and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bulk of the money, $70 million, will be distributed to restaurants, microbusinesses, and other small businesses through Phase 3 of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program; an additional $10 million will be used to help small businesses purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) through the NJEDA Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program; $15 million will go to support renters through the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program; and $5 million will support food banks and other hunger relief efforts.

Launched in early April, the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program provides grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. To date, over 19,000 small businesses have benefited from the program.

Phase 3 of the Grant Program expands eligibility to any business with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) and increases the amount of funding businesses can receive. To ensure funds flow to businesses that need them most, Phase 3 includes set-asides for grants to restaurants and micro-businesses. $35 million will be dedicated to support businesses classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” under NAICS code 722 and $15 million will be directed to support “micro-businesses” that have five or fewer employees. The remaining $20 million will be available to support any eligible business.

In line with Governor Murphy’s commitment to a stronger, fairer recovery, one third of each of these pools of will be directed to support entities that are located in census tracts that were eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone.

The Administration is also providing $10 million of additional CARES Act funding to support the Authority’s Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program. Launching in late October, this program will utilize an innovative public-private partnership model to enable businesses with 100 employees or fewer to receive grants in the form of automatic discounts on PPE purchased through NJEDA-approved “Designated Vendors”.

The Administration will also provide $15 million more in rent relief for New Jersey tenants through the DCA’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This program reduces the burden renters face by paying landlords directly for up to six months. The funding announced today will cover rent incurred from August 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020. Payments per household will depend on a variety of factors such as location, rental market, family size, and average per household income.

The remaining $5 million will be used to provide relief for New Jersey residentsfacing food insecurity. These funds will build off of the $20 million announced in July that the Department of Agriculture (NJDA) used to support Emergency Feeding Organizations, which have been supporting food banks, food pantries, hunger relief centers, and soup kitchens that provide food to those in need.

The $100 million announced today will supplement the $115 million in CARES Act funds already allocated for economic development and re-employment programs and the $100 million allocated for housing assistance programs. On Friday, the Department of Human Services announced its new Housing Assistance Program, which will use $12 million from the CARES Act to provide rental or mortgage assistance payments on behalf of eligible households that have suffered a financial hardship due to COVID-19. More information on that program is available here.

10/13/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 187, which allows the resumption of contact practices and competitions in indoor settings for organized sports defined as “medium risk” and “high risk” by the New Jersey Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities.”   The order encompasses sports including hockey, basketball, cheerleading, group dance, rugby, boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo, and wrestling.  Governor Murphy previously signed Executive Order 149 and and Executive Order 168, which permitted the resumption of outdoor sports activities, “low risk” practices and competitions in indoor settings, and non-contact indoor practices for “medium risk” and “high risk” sports.

All indoor practices and competitions are limited to 25% of the capacity of the room, but not more than 25 or less than 10 persons. However, if the number of individuals who are necessary for practice or competition, such as players, coaches, and referees, exceeds 25, the practice or competition may proceed if no unnecessary individuals such as spectators are present.  Even if this exception applies, the number of these necessary individuals at the practice or competition cannot exceed 25% of the capacity of the room, and such limit cannot exceed 150 persons.

Facilities and participants must abide by a number of health and safety protocols outlined in the Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities,” such as screenings for athletes, coaches, and staff; limitations on equipment sharing; and requirements for disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces and equipment. Additionally, sports under the oversight of either the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association or the NCAA must continue to abide by those associations' rules. All sporting activities must comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and Executive Orders. The order will take effect immediately.

10/13/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing $60 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for the Local Government Emergency Fund to aid counties and municipalities that were excluded from the federal government’s direct CRF allocation plan. The COVID-19 crisis has severely impacted county and local governments in New Jersey, and they are facing increased costs in health benefits, health and human services, public safety, overtime, equipment, and supply expenditures. These relief funds will help to address necessary and unexpected expenditures necessitated by the pandemic.

The New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) is also providing up to $10 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to support the state’s County Boards of Social Services with COVID-related expenses such as technology to adapt to remote work, expanding to meet growing demand, and supplies and materials to meet COVID-19 health and safety standards.

Qualifying expenditures for the Local Government Emergency Fund include public safety and health-related expenses, COVID-19-related overtime, increased residential and health-related garbage collection and services, remote working technology, signage and information technology related to the COVID-19 response and recovery, and public health-related retrofit expenses for reopening.

The Local Government Emergency Fund allocation formula uses a variety of relevant metrics, including the municipal COVID-19 infection rate, fiscal stress, the Municipal Revitalization Index (MRI), population, and public safety and health and human services expenditures share of the budget to determine the amount of funds counties and municipalities receive.

Funds awarded may not be used for government revenue replacement, including the provision of assistance to meet tax obligations. Eligible expenditures must be incurred during the covered period between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.

The fund allocations by county (including distributions to municipal governments) are listed below. For a full list of municipal allocations broken down by county, please click here: http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/programs/lgef.html

10/09/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that Professor Brian Olson, of the Department of Biology and Chemistry at the County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph, has had his research on COVID-19 published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design to assist with the development of drugs to combat the virus.

10/07/20: The Montville Health Department is strongly urging all residents to get their flu vaccination. As noted in a recent Harvard Health Publishing article, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever this year to be vaccinated against the flu. Late September through October is the best time of year to get the vaccination, and flu vaccine is widely available at pharmicies, supermarkets, and doctor's offices. Click here for a recent nj.com article listing where flu shots can be obtained. The NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) issues weekly respiratory virus surveillance reports that describes activity levels of influenza and influenza-like illnesses throughout the state, which can be found here.

10/06/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes the addition of New Mexico, bringing the total to 35 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, October 6, there are currently 35 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; Colorado; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Mexico; Nevada; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Wisconsin; West Virginia; and Wyoming. 

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

10/05/20: Governor Murphy and NJDOH issued Halloween 2020 Celebration Guidance. The document includes recommendations for adapting traditional celebrations, and considerations for ways to celebrate Halloween safely, including for traditional outdoor door-to-door trick or treating; outdoor trunk or treating; Halloween parties; and haunted houses, hayrides, and corn mazes. The guidance also includes examples of Halloween activities that would require only minimal or no additional health and safety protocols.

10/05/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that effective Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the Morris County Surrogate’s Office will begin accepting appointments for in-person probate in our newly designed COVID-19 compliant probate rooms. No walk-in appointments will be permitted and all appointments must be scheduled in advance by calling the Morris County Surrogate’s Office at 973-285-6500.

Please be advised that to maintain public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, appointments will be limited considerably, as compared to the past.  We will be accepting a maximum of four (4) appointments in the morning and four (4) appointments in the afternoon each day, Monday through Friday. Clients are limited to having a maximum of one additional person at their appointment (usually their attorney) and no one under the age of 18 will be permitted in the probate rooms. Clients will be required to go through Morris County screening procedures upon entering the building, which includes a temperature check as well as passing through a metal detector.  COVID-19 protocols require that masks are worn in the building at all times for everyone’s safety.

For more information, please visit www.morrissurrogate.com.

10/01/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing with NY Governor Cuomo the launch of COVID-19 exposure notification mobile apps in their respective states that will serve as crucial tools to supplement the effort to trace and contact individuals subject to a COVID exposure. The apps, COVID Alert NJ and COVID Alert NY, notify users of potential COVID-19 exposure while maintaining user privacy and security. With today’s launch, New Jersey and New York join Pennsylvania and Delaware in creating a regional COVID Alert app network that operates across state lines to stop the spread of COVID-19. Connecticut has also announced it will launch an app in the near future using the same technology.

The free mobile apps–available to anyone 18 or older who lives, works, or attends college in New Jersey or New York — are available for download from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. 

The apps use Exposure Notification System technology developed by Google and Apple to strengthen New Jersey and New York’s contact tracing programs statewide. The COVID Alert apps will notify users if they have been in close contact – within six feet for at least 10 minutes – with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Knowing about a potential exposure can help individuals quickly make a plan to stay safe, including contacting their physician or the State Health Department hotlines to get more information about quarantining and testing to prevent community spread.

COVID Alert NJ and COVID Alert NY are completely anonymous and do not track or collect any location data or personal data from your phone. The COVID Alert apps do not use GPS location data. The Exposure Notification System uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to detect when another phone with the same app is within six feet. Proximity is measured, but not geographic location. COVID Alert app users must explicitly choose to turn on exposure notifications – and can turn it off at any time.

After downloading the app, users must opt-in to receive “Exposure Notifications.” When the app senses a close contact, your phone will exchange a secure random code with the close contact’s phone. Of note, your location, name or personally identifiable data are never disclosed. If you test positive for COVID-19, a public health representative from the local health department will call as part of the states’ contact tracing programs and ask if you are willing to anonymously notify your “close contacts” by uploading your app’s anonymous close contact codes. Each day, the app will compare your list of close contact codes to the list of codes associated with positive COVID-19 app users. If there’s a match, you will get an Exposure Alert, along with appropriate next steps to stay safe and prevent community spread like self-quarantining and getting tested. COVID Alert apps never reveal the identity of the COVID-19 positive individual.

The COVID Alert NJ app will work in conjunction with similar apps in Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania, allowing New Jerseyans to continue to receive exposure notifications when exposed to residents of those states. If a New Jersey resident travels to one of those states and is exposed to someone with COVID-19 who has an equivalent app, the resident will receive a notification.

COVID Alert NJ and COVID Alert NY provide users with the latest information about COVID-19 in their states, including publicly reported testing data. In addition, the app features a symptom checker where users can anonymously record daily symptoms.

Visit covid19.nj.gov/app for more information about COVID Alert NJ.

Visit ny.gov/covidalerts for more information about COVID Alert NY.

09/30/20: Montville Pet Parents (MPP) sponsors a Spring and a Holiday Boutique each year at the Montville Senior House to raise money to help the animals at the shelter. This year, due to the  COVID-19 pandemic, they were unable to hold these "in-person" events, which are their largest fundraising opportunities. 

MPP Boutique was created on Facebook as a virtual replacement for the Holiday Boutique that cannot be held due to Covid-19. Items usually sold at the boutique will be available for purchase in this group. Payment can be made via Venmo or PayPal (please be advised that PayPal will add a small service fee). We will have several dates/locations where items can be picked up. Items can be purchased at any time from this group. 

100% of the sale of these items will be used by Montville Pet Parents to support the care of the animal at the Montville Animal Shelter. 


09/30/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing the expansion and reopening of its Small Landlord Emergency Grant (SLEG) Program, which is designed to assist families struggling to meet rental payments due to COVID-19.

The state program reimburses qualified landlords for rent payments missed by families from April through July 2020 due to hardships created by the pandemic. The program reopened on Monday and will run through Tuesday, October 13th at 4:00 p.m., according to the NJHMFA, a state agency that helps to increase the availability of and accessibility in New Jersey to safe, decent, and affordable housing. Landlords approved for SLEG funds must forgive any back rent or late fees incurred by their tenants.

To be eligible for the 2nd round of the SLEG Program:

  • Applicants must own a residential property in New Jersey with three to 30 rental units;
  • Applicants must be registered with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Bureau of Housing Inspection;
  • The property must not bea seasonal or vacation rental property;
  • The property must have at least one non-vacant rental unit impacted by COVID-19 between April and July 2020;
  • The property must have low-to-moderate income rent levels

The first and second rounds of the SLEG Program are supported by $15 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. All completed eligible applications will be randomly sorted by computer to give each applicant an equal chance of being funded. Grant funding will be allocated on a case-by-case basis, based on the number of COVID-impacted units and the amount of missed rent.

A list of all successful landlord applicants will be posted to the NJHMFA website, and letters will be sent to all tenants of awarded landlords. There is a range of tools available on NJHMFA's website to assist property owners in preparing their applications. Potential applicants with specific questions can call NJHMFA’s toll-free hotline at 866-280-9756 or email sleg@njhmfa.gov.

09/30/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes the addition of Colorado — with Arizona and Virginia removed from the list — bringing the total to 34 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, September 29, there are currently 34 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; Colorado; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; Nevada; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Wisconsin; West Virginia; and Wyoming. 

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

09/30/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 186, which extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order 103, which was previously extended every 30 days since. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed. Executive Order 180 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

09/25/20: Atlantic Health Systems issued an announcement titled "Why It's Important to Take Charge of Your Health" detailing how early detection can save lives. An estimated 41% of adults have delayed or avoided medical care due to concerns related to COVID-19, according to a survey administered in June. That estimate includes 12% who avoided urgent or emergency care and 32% who avoided routine care, according to the survey conducted by Qualtrics, LLC.

In a local survey by Atlantic Health System, 34% of respondents said they chose to cancel, delay, or reschedule an appointment for routine care. Though infection rates have decreased in the region, fears of getting COVID-19 are still keeping some patients away from important screenings, diagnosis, and treatment for non-COVID-19 diseases. 

Experts are concerned about a second epidemic associated with COVID-19. Scott Lauter, MD, MBA, FACP, FHM, chief medical officer of Atlantic Medical Group, said this would include cancers not screened, detected and treated in an earlier and curable stage. Uncontrolled chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and high cholesterol can also become very serious if left untreated. “The time to avoid or delay is over,” he said.

09/24/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the rate of COVID-19 cases in the county continued on a flat curve through the summer and into September. The data, presented at a regular Freeholder meeting, continued to demonstrate a 95% reduction in cases since a devastating high in April, despite data showing a slight uptick in the number of weekly cases attributed to some increased school activities. The Freeholders said the county remains poised to assist the community should there be any resurgence of the virus. 

Morris County went from being one of New Jersey’s most seriously virus-impacted regions to having one of the lowest COVID-19 spread-rates due to a rigorous, organized response to the pandemic. Morris County authorities worked closely with local health officials and medical providers, boosted stockpiles of personal protection equipment, monitored the virus spread and opened a testing center. 

09/23/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes five additional states — Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Wyoming — bringing the total to 35 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, September 22, there are currently 35 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; Arizona; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; Nevada; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Wisconsin; West Virginia; and Wyoming.

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

09/22/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that applications are now open for the new NJ Department of Human Services (NJDHS) COVID-19 child care tuition assistance program to help families with child care costs as schools open remotely. The $150 million program will provide child care tuition assistance to New Jersey families with incomes up to $75,000 that are in need of either full or part-time child care due to their child’s remote learning schedule.

Families can learn more and apply for this assistance by completing the online application at www.ChildCareNJ.gov. Those applying will need proof of income and a notice or announcement from their child’s school of a remote learning schedule. Tuition assistance will be available through December 30, 2020 for eligible residents with school-age children, 5 to 13 years old. Families may submit applications and NJDHS will provide the tuition assistance to eligible participants until funding is exhausted.  Recipients will be eligible for either full- or part-time support based on their families’ needs.

The tuition assistance is part of $250 million plan announced last month to support working families and child care. As part of that plan, NJDHS is also providing state child care subsidies for families with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty line during the school day for children aged 5 to 13 through December 30, 2020. Families that currently receive state child care subsidies for before and after school care for school age children are being contacted directly to identify their needs during the school day. Child care providers will be paid the subsidy rate for school-age children based on the hours of care needed. NJDHS is also supporting child care centers that make it a priority to serve children receiving the child care subsidy by providing supplemental payments of $75 per subsidy-eligible child, per month, including infants, toddlers, and school-age children to providers through the end of the year.  

NJDHS is also making funding available to licensed child care centers and registered family child care providers in New Jersey that are open or will open by October 1st to manage added operational costs due to new COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. These funds will be available to nearly 6,000 child care providers in New Jersey with increased COVID-related costs, such as purchasing PPE and other supplies and materials, cleaning and sanitation, and other operational needs related to COVID-19 that are eligible expenses for the Coronavirus Relief Fund.  Funds will be available through an application process that will open in the upcoming weeks through the New Jersey Child Care Information System (NJCCIS).

09/17/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that veterans and their families who are experiencing a housing crisis may be eligible for emergency assistance such as motel/hotel stays, security deposits, rent, rental arrears, groceries and utilities through Community Hope.

Community Hope’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program is currently providing assistance remotely. Urgent community-based services such as critical supplies and veteran wellness-checks are provided in person. The increase in support services to veterans and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic is possible thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

To make a referral, please call the referral hotline at 1-855-483-8466 or email SSVF@communityhope-nj.org, or email Gema Diaz at gdiaz@communityhope-nj.org.

09/17/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that acting on a commitment to reform and build a more resilient long-term care industry, Governor Phil Murphy today signed a legislative package to address systemic challenges, mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and strengthen preparedness for future outbreaks. The legislative package enacts several recommendations made in Manatt Health’s rapid review of the state’s long-term care facilities, including wage enhancements for front-line staff, improved response coordination, and robust data reporting procedures. The legislative package received bipartisan support. 

The Governor signed the following bills into law: 

A4476/S2790 - Establishes certain requirements concerning State's preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

A4481/S2787 - Establishes New Jersey Task Force on Long-Term Care Quality and Safety. 

A4482/S2758 - Establishes minimum wage requirements for certain long-term care facility staff; establishes direct care ratio requirements for nursing homes; requires nursing home care rate study. 

A4547/S2813 - Authorizes temporary rate adjustment for certain nursing facilities; appropriates $62.3 million.

09/15/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advised individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes one additional territory, Puerto Rico— with California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, and Ohio removed from the list, bringing the total to 30 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, September 14, there are currently 30 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Wisconsin; and West Virginia.

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

09/11/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the COVID-19 curve remains flat and low as businesses reopen. As a precaution, the Morris County Freeholders are preparing Morris County to handle potential spikes and/or a second surge of cases. The Morris County Board of Freeholders provided a COVID-19 update showing the case rate has remained flat over the past few weeks and throughout the summer, even with a steady increase in business re-openings and general activity. Data presented to the board by Freeholder John Krickus demonstrated not only a sharp reduction in virus rates for Morris County has held, but also that average human mobility in New Jersey increased, nearing pre-pandemic levels, as COVID-19 cases dropped statewide over the past few months.

The freeholders adopted Resolution 2020-345 on May 13 urging Governor Phil Murphy to reopen New Jersey, which was under an extensive shutdown at the time and is still operating under restrictions imposed by executive orders.  The freeholders had echoed calls for a statewide reopening of the economy made by two other organizations at the time. In May, the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, state Sen. Anthony Bucco and others released a joint report, “It’s Time to Get Back to Business in Morris County,” that outlined a safe reopening plan for the Governor. https://morriscountynj.gov/2020/05/covid-19-morris-chamber-and-sen-bucco-release-business-recovery-report/. Simultaneously, Unlock New Jersey, an organization of business owners and public officials throughout North Jersey, presented its own plan for a speedier reopening of state businesses. http://www.unlocknewjersey.com/

Last month, Morris County released data showing a 95% drop in COVID-19 cases in the county since a devastating April peak and the launch of a highly successful county mobilization of local resources to combat the pandemic spread. Morris County’s rate of COVID-19 cases is now 40 percent lower than the state average due to cooperative efforts among local, county and state agencies and strengthening county public health and public safety resources. At a freeholder meeting yesterday, a data chart was presented showing the sharp decline in daily cases, dipping into the low teens in mid-June and remaining there for the past three months. Freeholder Director Deborah Smith said the data is encouraging, but underscored the importance of continuing to recognize proper precautions as we move through the pandemic, even outdoors.

09/11/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he today signed legislation (A4486) which authorizes the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to use stored driver's license or identification card photos for longer than eight years and limits certain appointment times at MVC locations to senior citizens and persons with certain medical conditions during COVID-19 pandemic.  The Governor also signed A4520, which temporarily extends deadlines to register vehicles and obtain driver's licenses for new State residents during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

A4486 extends the validity of all driver’s license and identification card photographs from a maximum of eight years to a maximum of 12 years. The bill further allows residents 65 years of age or older to be eligible to use a stored photograph for each standard driver’s license or standard identification card renewal. The legislation also requires the chief administrator, during the COVID-19 public health emergency, to reserve one day per week or a certain time each day or each week, to be determined by the chief administrator, at certain commission agency locations to offer appointments exclusively to the following individuals to register a newly purchased, newly acquired, or transferred motor vehicle: (1) senior citizens, and (2) customers who, due to a medical condition diagnosed by a licensed medical doctor or osteopathic physician and evidenced by proof, in a form prescribed by the chief administrator, cannot wear masks or face coverings.

A4520 provides that a person who is allowed to operate a motor vehicle as a non-resident has 120 days (up from 60 days) to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license and to register a motor vehicle upon becoming a resident of the State, if that person becomes a resident during the Coronavirus 2019 public health emergency, which is defined as the period of time during which Executive Order No. 103 of 2020, and any subsequent executive order extending the public health emergency, is in effect. 

The legislation will take effect immediately.

09/09/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County MUA will hold a Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany. The final drop-off for the year will be Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Chatham High School 255 Lafayette Ave., Chatham.

SPECIAL COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all participants dropping off household hazardous materials must wear face coverings, keep their vehicle windows closed, and stay in their vehicles for the duration of the event. The MCMUA is requesting patrons to store all materials in the trunk, cargo area, or bed of the vehicle for easy access by the MUA’s contractor, whose team will remove it from the vehicle. Please plan your visit accordingly.

The list of acceptable hazardous materials that can be disposed includes pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, oil-based paints, stains, paint thinners and removers, solvents, automotive fluids, lead acid and rechargeable batteries, pool chemicals, and darkroom chemicals. Also accepted are aerosol cans (not empty), propane and helium cylinders, small quantities of asbestos (wetted, double bagged and sealed with duct tape to a 100 pound limit), driveway sealant, roofing tar, fluorescent bulbs, PCB-ballasts, mercury thermometers and switches, household cleaning products, muriatic acid.

Latex paint is not considered hazardous, so it is not accepted. Latex paint should be dried out and disposed of in the trash. Explosive or highly reactive materials, such as picric acid or nitro compounds, will not be accepted. E-waste (used consumer electronics) will not be accepted. Click here  or call 973.829.8006 for E-Waste disposal information.

These events are for residential household waste only. Businesses are not permitted to attend these disposal events. Businesses can visit the permanent facility in Mount Olive by appointment only.

09/09/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that Morris Arts will present Morris Arts Fest, an outdoor festival featuring an art exhibit and sale of works by Morris County area visual artists and crafters. The festival will take place from 3-7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12, at Lewis Morris County Park, Mendham Rd., Morristown. Rain date is Sunday, Sept. 13. Face coverings and social distancing is required for all vendors and attendees.

The event is held in collaboration with the Morris County Park Commission. The Sugarloaf area at Lewis Morris Park has restrooms and parking. For more information on Lewis Morris Park visit: https://www.morrisparks.net/. Click here for a map of the Sugarloaf Area at Lewis Morris Park.

More than 40 visual artists and crafters, working in a wide variety of media including pottery, origami, oils, acrylics, watercolors, printmaking, fiber art, sculpture, pen and ink, photography, cartooning, collage, jewelry, decorative accessories, chalk, ceramics and stoneware will showcase and sell their works in the park that day.

Live music will also enliven the event. Attendees can hear Gwendolyn Fitz, a jazz-pop singer-songwriter with folk influences — imagine Nora Jones on the ukulele.  Also performing is the band Secret Sound, which mixes funky blues and rock by members Kevin Hill on guitar/vocals, Adam Alexander on drums, Dave Ferraro on bass, Bob Larsen on percussion and Andy Feldman on keyboard.

For questions, please contact Kaity De Laura at kdelaura@morrisarts.org or (973) 285-5115 ext.14.

09/09/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that the state will offer the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (commonly called Narcan) for free to residents at participating pharmacies throughout New Jersey from September 24th through 26th. As part of the Administration’s continued effort to combat the opioid crisis, New Jerseyans can visit participating pharmacies and anonymously obtain naloxone for free with no prescription and no appointment. Each naloxone pack contains two doses. Naloxone can reverse overdoses from opioids by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain. Those who obtain naloxone will also be given information regarding addiction treatment and recovery.

The free naloxone will be available at 322 pharmacies, including several locations of Acme, CVS, Rite Aid, Sav-On, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Walgreens, Walmart, Weis Markets and independent pharmacies. For participating pharmacies, please visit nj.gov/humanservices/stopoverdoses.

The naloxone will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. Those who pick up free naloxone will be given information regarding the state’s addiction treatment helpline, 1-844-ReachNJ, a 24-hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week addictions help line, where people facing addiction or their friends and family can get immediate assistance and support from live, New Jersey-based, trained addiction counselors. ReachNJ assists callers regardless of their insurance status.

09/09/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing the Baby Bonds initiative in his Revised Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, which will provide a $1,000 deposit into an account for every baby born into a household with income less than 500 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($131,000 for a family of four) in 2021. Advanced at the federal level by U.S. Senator Cory Booker and prominent economists, the proposal is a critical investment to address longstanding economic and race-based wealth disparities that have only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The parameters of the proposal require newborns to either be born in New Jersey or born to parents who are New Jersey residents to be eligible for an account. Baby Bond recipients would have to be New Jersey residents to withdraw funds from their accounts, although they would not have to spend these funds in New Jersey.

Under the Governor’s initiative, the State would establish the Baby Bonds Initiative Fund, which would include individual accounts for eligible residents. Funds in each child’s account would be invested so that they generate returns that are at least equivalent to thirty-year US Treasury bonds. Recipients would be able to withdraw funds when they turn 18 for allowable uses that build wealth such as homeownership, higher and continuing education, or entrepreneurship.

09/09/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Administrative Order 2020-21, which which clarifies that health club facilities located in hotels, motels, condominiums, cooperatives, corporate offices, and other businesses can open their indoor premises.  The Order also states that health club facilities that are open to the public, and not only to guests, residents, and employees, must conform to the provisions of Paragraph 1 of Executive Order No. 181 (2020) and associated guidance issued by the New Jersey Department of Health.

09/09/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes four additional states — Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia — with Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands removed from the list, bringing the total to 35 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, September 8, there are currently 35 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; California; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Hawaii; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; Nevada; Ohio; Oklahoma; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Wisconsin; and West Virginia. 

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

09/08/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Administrative Order 2020-19, which prohibits smoking in the indoor areas of any casino or casino simulcasting facility that are open to the public. The order was issued in consultation with Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli, who has advised that smoking on casino floors poses a particularly high danger of COVID-19 transmission, and that a temporary ban on smoking on casino floors is necessary to protect the large number of individuals on casino floors, including casino employees and other casino patrons. The order takes effect at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 5, 2020.

09/04/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that following a successful pilot program by United Way of Northern New Jersey, unpaid family caregivers across Morris and Warren counties can apply for 100 grants of assistive technology devices such as smart plugs, video cameras, a video doorbell and a smart speaker connected to a virtual assistant. The initial program gave the devices to 22 unpaid family caregivers across Morris and Essex counties.

Applicants who apply to the United Way for a needs assessment may receive assistive technology and virtual tech support to install and learn how to use the equipment. The program is funded thanks to grants from the Morris County Department of Human Services, the Morristown Medical Center Community Health Committee and the Warren County Division on Aging.

Studies show that caregivers are at greater risk for depression and compromised physical health than the general population. These are the family members or friends who care for a loved one who is ill, frail or living with a disability, performing duties as wide ranging as day-to-day basic needs care to driving to doctor appointments and administering medication.

The United Way pilot program was designed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the need has grown exponentially due to the health risks associated with COVID-19 for vulnerable populations, according to United Way’s Stephanie Howland, who oversees the program. From medication reminders to remotely checking in on a loved one, United Way tailors the services to meet the needs of each family, she said.

For 15 years United Way has provided education, resources and a network of support for family caregivers through caregiver coalitions in the northern New Jersey region. There are an estimated 53 million family caregivers in the United States, according to AARP. With 80 percent of long-term care provided in the home, family caregivers are the backbone of the health care system.

For more information or to apply for the assistive technology program, email Stephanie.Samuel@UnitedWayNNJ.org or call 973.993.1160, x115 or Susan.Cohen@UnitedWayNNJ.org or call 973.993.1160, x108

09/03/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Borough of Wharton is hosting it's 9th Annual Local Job Fair,
with the event being held outdoors this year at the MacKinnon Middle School on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Located at 137 East Central Avenue, Wharton, NJ 07885, the event is open to the public and attendees are being advised to abide by all CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 precautions. 

Please wear a mask, observe a 6-feet distancing protocol and do not attend if you have any symptoms of the virus.  Remember to bring a resume, although one is not required.

The goal of the Job Fair is to facilitate meetings between employers seeking new talent and residents of the area who are interested in embarking on new careers. Employers may have employment opportunities for candidates with the skills they are seeking or who are interested in attaining the required skills. The employers who have signed up for the event, to date, include: Avidd Community Services, Express Employment, U.S. Navy, Ronetco, Home Instead, Morris County Office of Hispanic Affairs, Sussex Meat, Metro Supply and Service, North Jersey Media, and Zufall Health.

For any and all updates on the Job Fair and future employment events in Wharton, go to: http://whartonnj.com/index.php/easyblog/2019-job-fair.

09/03/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing Morris Arts "Great Conversations from Home", an annual interactive event featuring leaders from the arts, media, tech, science, sports and more. This year, the event is a virtual Zoom event on October 8th. From the comfort of home, guests can converse with one of 28 luminaries such as an award-winning TV news correspondent, a scientist studying deadly diseases and pandemics, a 3D experimental visual light artist, a TV and movie set decorator, a prominent climate scientist, a symphony president, a celebrity chef, a former NY Jets president as well as innovators and leaders in business, finance, communications, tech, healthcare, law, pharma and real estate.

Each virtual table will feature a “host conversationalist” whose experiences will catalyze intriguing and memorable conversations. Guest can learn about their work, their thoughts on the world, their insights into their fields, and the experiences that shaped their lives. How did they get to where they are now? What lessons can they impart? Explore the connections between science and art or learn how fast one needs to run with the bulls in Spain. How does it feel to actually “beat Bobby Flay” or to meet seven presidents or attend 22 Super Bowls?  Do basketball skills help a CEO navigate business decisions? This is an evening to ask questions, exchange ideas, learn, and to interact personally with fascinating and accomplished people. You may be surprised by what you discover.

At registration, guests select their top five conversationalist choices. Virtual table assignments are made on a first come, first serve basis. Visit www.morrisarts.org to find out more about each of the host conversationalists and to purchase tickets for this special event. Tickets purchased by Sept. 13 are $125. After that price goes up to $150. For information please call Gina Moran at (973) 476-3643 or email gmoran@morrisarts.org. Proceeds from Great Conversations help to support the many programs and services provided by Morris Arts, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1973 dedicated to building community through the arts.

09/03/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that the state will provide CARES Act funding for the reopening of 26 Sheltered Workshop programs throughout the state. Sheltered Workshop programs provide employment, job, and skills training to people with disabilities.  Statewide, there are 26 programs operating 28 sites. All have been closed since early March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

09/03/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing he signed legislation (S2455), which prohibits lawful presence in the United States as a qualification to obtain a professional or occupational license, provided that the applicant meets all other requirements for licensure. The bill impacts the roughly 500,000 undocumented residents in New Jersey, who will now be eligible for professional licenses such as nursing, counseling and cosmetology.  

09/02/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes two additional states Alaska and Montana, bringing the total to 33 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, September  1, there are currently 33 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; California; Florida; Georgia; Guam; Hawaii; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; Nevada; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Virgin Islands; and Wisconsin.

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

09/02/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 183, which establishes rules for the resumption of indoor dining on Friday, September 4 at 6:00 a.m., provided businesses comply with NJDOH health and safety standards. The Governor’s Executive Order also contains requirements for movie theaters and other indoor entertainment businesses, where the number of patrons for a performance will be limited to 25 percent capacity, up to a maximum of 150 people.  The Governor’s Order also increases the limits for indoor gatherings that are religious services or celebrations, political activities, wedding ceremonies, funerals, or memorial services to 25 percent capacity with a maximum of 150 people, an increase from the current limit of 25 percent capacity with a maximum of 100 people. Other indoor gatherings, including house parties, remain at the limit of 25 percent capacity with a maximum of 25 people. 

Under the Department of Health’s Health and Safety Standards, food or beverage establishments offering in-person service must adhere to the following protocols, among others:

  1. Limit the number of patrons in indoor areas to 25 percent of the food or beverage establishment’s indoor capacity, excluding the food or beverage establishment’s employees;
  2. Limit seating to a maximum of eight (8) customers per table (unless they are from a family from the same household) and arrange seating to achieve a minimum distance of six feet (6 ft) between parties;
  3. Require customers to only consume food or beverages while seated;
  4. Require patrons to wear face coverings while inside the indoor premises of the food or beverage establishment, except when eating or drinking at their table;
  5. Food or beverage establishments with table service must require that customers be seated in order to place orders;
  6. Food or beverage establishments with table service must require that wait staff bring food or beverages to seated customers; and
  7. Keep doors and windows open where possible and utilize fans to improve ventilation.  

The Governor’s Executive Order includes requirements for theaters and indoor performance venues to reopen to the public on Friday, September 4, which include: 

  1. Any particular showing is limited to 25 percent capacity with a maximum of 150 people;
  2. Groups that buy tickets together can sit together, but must be at least 6 feet apart from all other groups; and
  3. Individuals must wear masks, unless they are removing them to eat or drink concessions.

09/02/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing he signed legislation A3971, which authorizes municipalities and counties to borrow funds to cover revenue shortfalls and expenditures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, by issuing bonds and notes. The final legislation included improvements recommended by Governor Murphy in his prior conditional veto issued on July 30, 2020.

08/31/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing the County College of Morris' online art exhibit: "Inexorable Creators", which features work by students, faculty, and staff during the pandemic and nationwide protests. The exhibition includes the work of 73 students, professors and staff from nine academic departments from the college’s three schools, the School of Business, Mathematics, Engineering and Technologies, the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Health Professions and Natural Sciences. 

The works include written works, ethical questions, documentaries, multimedia works, dance performances, photography, game design, digital paintings, a documentation of a community service project, videos, web design, app design, multidisciplinary projects, graphic design, drawings, representations of 3D objects and a virtual reality interactive tour. 

08/31/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing remote support services for businesses in Morris County to deal with the COVID-19 crisis are being offered by the Morris-Sussex-Warren Workforce Development Board. The board can advise help businesses on finding employees with unique skills, covering costs of employee training, re-tooling your workplace, and other important items. The Morris-Sussex-Warren Workforce Development Board is responsible for planning, policy guidance and oversight of the workforce development system in the three-county region of Northwest New Jersey. 

For information on services, contact Beth Rodgers, Associate Director of Business Services at 973-631-5145 or brodgers@co.morris.nj.us. Other support services include: New Jersey Career Connections for comprehensive support for employers and jobseekers at https://careerconnections.nj.gov/careerconnections/for_businesses.shtml, and state assistance for employers in critical industries with urgent hiring needs related to COVID19 at https://jobs.covid19.nj.gov/intake.

08/31/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing he signed legislation A299, which allows alcoholic beverages to be consumed from open containers on certain outdoor property located within the Atlantic City Tourism District, upon authorization by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA). The bill defines an “open container area” as portions of the beach, boardwalk, and other areas within the Atlantic City Tourism District, as determined by CRDA, in which pedestrians are permitted to carry and consume open containers of alcoholic beverages.

08/31/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing plans to dedicate $250 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, which will provide additional support to children and their families as well as for thousands of child care providers with resources. These plans are highlighted in the Governor's FY2021 revised Budget Proposal as part of the state's spending plan for the $2.39 billion federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.

08/28/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that Morris County COVID-19 cases are down 95% since the April peak in cases. The board emphasized that the results should not be a cause for any residents to stop following safety precautions or guidelines on socially distancing as the pandemic continues. But the board applauded the data, which indicates Morris County went from a daily average of 210 cases on April 13 down to a current daily average of 10 cases. Recent daily reports have shown cases trending further downward, and Atlantic Health System reported today having only two COVID-19 patients being treated at Morristown Medical Center. Data charts are available at: https://health.morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Morris-County-Covid-Update-082620.pdf

08/28/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 181, which permits gyms and health clubs, as well as amusement and water parks, to reopen their indoor premises to the public on Tuesday, September 1 at 6:00 a.m., provided these facilities comply with the health and safety standards issued by the Department of Health.

Under the NJ Department of Health’s Executive Directive 20-028, gyms and health clubs who reopen will be required to adhere to the health and safety standards listed in the NJDOH's "Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers".  These standards, which will also apply to other recreational businesses that offer fitness classes and activities, include the following, among others:

  • Limit occupancy of any indoor premises to 25 percent of the stated maximum capacity;
  • Conduct a temperature screening and questionnaire of staff and clients upon entrance to the facility; 
  • Limit indoor group activities (e.g., classes) to no more than 1 individual per 200 square feet of accessible space or less, with all individuals being able to maintain 6 feet of distance from other individuals during the entire class;
  • Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings at all times, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health, such as when in the water and in other situations where the presence of a mask would pose a risk to the individual's health, or where the individual is under two years of age;
  • Demarcate six feet of distance between equipment, or blocking off equipment (e.g. every other machine) to maintain six feet of distancing between individuals using equipment;
  • Require that reservations, cancellations and pre-payments be made via electronic or telephone reservation systems to limit physical interactions;
  • Limit occupancy in restrooms to avoid over-crowding;
  • Inform clients to arrive dressed to workout/train and bring their own hand towel, water, yoga mat, boxing gloves, and any other equipment;
  • Not permit the use of showers, with the exception of gyms with pools, which can have individually partitioned showers or communal showers with installed barriers/partitions at least six feet apart;
  • Limit locker room use to hand washing and restroom use only; and
  • Adopt infection control practices and enhanced sanitization protocols.

Activities such as swimming in an indoor pool, tanning, outdoor dining, pick-up of food or beverage, and retail sales, which are otherwise permitted but which are not governed by the guidance, remain subject to applicable standards outlined in Executive Orders, Executive Directives and guidance.

08/28/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 180, which extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order 103, which was previously extended every 30 days since. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed. Executive Order 180 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

08/27/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development submitted an application today to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Lost Wages Supplemental Assistance (LWA), which provides limited additional benefits to many of the state’s unemployed workers. LWA allows for temporary supplemental financial support to those whose jobs or wages have been adversely affected by COVID-19. LWA provides up to $300 per week to eligible individuals, in addition to the weekly benefit amount they receive from other unemployment compensation programs.

In New Jersey, the first tranche of the federal grant would provide up to $300 per week to claimants collecting unemployment for the weeks of Aug. 1, Aug. 8 and Aug. 15. Only people whose unemployment is COVID-related are eligible, under terms of the memorandum the President issued on Aug. 8. Additionally, those receiving less than $100 in weekly unemployment benefits are excluded from the supplemental benefit. 

Of the states that have applied, 93 percent have sought grants at the $300 level, which the federal government pays, rather than kick in an extra $100, which would have cost New Jersey approximately $80 million a week. As of Tuesday, FEMA had approved 28 states’ applications for $300 payments and 2 states’ applications for $400 payments. One state, South Dakota, has declined to participate. 

This new program must be created from scratch, and run separately from New Jersey’s existing state and federal unemployment programs. This is not something New Jersey or any state will be able to do quickly or easily. The FEMA grant has a spending cap of $44 billion. Once the allocation is exhausted, benefits will end. Thus, states must reapply after the first three weeks, giving FEMA the opportunity to calculate the program’s remaining balance after the first round of grants. The program also would be halted if  FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund balance drops below $25 billion.  

08/26/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing his revised budget proposal, which was unveiled on Tuesday. Governor Murphy announced that funding for school districts will remain consistent with the figures announced in July, keeping the state on track to fully fund public schools. Additionally, the revised budget proposal includes almost $68 million in new funds over FY2020 for preschools in New Jersey. Governor Murphy also announced $100 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) funding to ensure schools can reopen safely. Additional information on district allocations of state aid is available on the Department of Education’s School Finance webpage.

08/26/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 179, which modifies this year’s primarily vote-by-mail (VBM) General Election. The order clarifies Executive Order 177.

Effective immediately, Executive Order 179 makes the following modifications:

  • Requires county clerks to publish a notice reflecting this year's primarily vote-by-mail process;
  • Permits county boards of elections to continue counting ballots every day until counting is completed; and
  • Requires election audits to be completed by December 4, 2020.

08/25/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) has introduced a new website - connecttomorris.com - which allows employers to post job openings and business profiles, and prospective workers to search for compatible open positions. The MCEDC, which is a division of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, launched the website with support from the Morris County Board of Freeholders, and in coordination with the Morris/Sussex/Warren Workforce Development Board.

08/25/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris-Sussex-Warren Workforce Development Board is seeking employer feedback for a COVID-19 business recovery survey. The Board provides funding to businesses in the tri-county area for programs and services that support hiring, training, restructuring, growth initiatives, and more. They work closely with local businesses, educational institutions, the N.J. Department of Labor, county government, and tri-county Chambers of Commerce/Economic Development agencies to bring various resources and funding that will benefit the region.

Businesses, now more than ever, find themselves in a position to rapidly adapt operations to new workplace models. To promptly and effectively assist with your business recovery, it is imperative that they identify current workplace needs. To best serve you, please complete the brief UnderstandingBusinessNeeds survey by no later than Sept. 15. For more information, contact: Beth Rodgers, Associate Director of Business Services at 973-631-5145 or brodgers@co.morris.nj.us

08/25/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing his revised budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021), including targeted cuts across State government, fair and equitable revenue raisers, an emergency borrowing proposal, and additional plans to invest federal funding received to date to help close what would have been a nearly $6 billion budget hole as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional details on spending plans for the full $2.39 billion in CRF funding, as well as the other components of the Governor’s revised FY 2021 budget proposal, may be found online here. For a one-page summary of the Governor’s budget proposal, please click here.

08/24/20: Morris County issued a press release that the Morris County Office of Information Technology is warning residents that cyber scammers are trying to take advantage of the COVID pandemic by tricking Morris County residents into divulging their email username and password. Cybercriminals rely on trickery and emotional reactions to bypass your security. A recent phishing email is a great example of how the bad guys try to catch you off guard. These deceptive emails have a generic subject lines, such as “COVID-19 Notification,” and include many grammatical errors. The message claims, “The pandemic has become a global issue and we’ll be deactivating your email for server propagation.” 

Propagation usually refers to making a change to a web domain, like changing the name of a website or moving it to a different server. You may be wondering how those two subjects are related, but the sender doesn’t clarify. Instead the scammers direct you to “confirm non-removal of your email” by clicking the link provided. Do Not Click the Link! The link in these emails leads to a phony login page that collects your username and password and delivers it to the criminals. Don’t fall for it!

Here’s how to stay protected:

  • Remember to think before you click. This email is both confusing and urgent, which could lead to impulsive clicks.
  • Be wary of emails with spelling or grammatical errors, especially when they supposedly come from a reputable source.
  • Never click on a link or an attachment that you are not expecting. Even if it appears to be from someone in your own organization, the sender’s email address could be spoofed.

Get more information on COVID-19 scams from the Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams-consumer-advice

08/24/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that the State’s public water, gas, and electric utility companies regulated by BPU have all agreed to extend their voluntary moratorium preventing shutoffs to both residential and commercial customers during the COVID-19 pandemic until October 15th. Additionally, the utilities will offer residential and commercial customers a flexible and extended Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) of at least 12 months and up to 24 months. No down payments will be required for this assistance.

The utilities have been communicating with customers about available assistance programs, account balances, and payment status. Beginning in September, the utilities will accelerate those outreach efforts. Customers may start to receive shutoff notices in September. Should that occur, those customers should contact their utility as soon as possible prior to October 15 to make arrangements to continue their utility service, to explore enrolling in a DPA, and to learn about what other assistance programs might be available. However, no customer will be shut off before October 15.

Although utility service shutoffs are still suspended, customers should make payments toward their utility bills if they can. If a customer is struggling to pay, they should ask their utility company about assistance programs and payment plans, and they can also check NJBPU’s “Assistance Programs” page for information about State programs that are available to eligible customers. 

Today’s announcement does not apply to cable and telecommunications companies. Those providers are covered by Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 126 that prohibits these companies from terminating Internet and voice service due to non-payment until 30 days after the current public health emergency has ended. 

NJBPU reminds and encourages all utility customers and ratepayers who have questions about their service to first contact their utility. A list of public gas and electricity utility company phone numbers is available here. If a ratepayer is unable to resolve an issue with their utility company, residents should contact NJBPU’s Customer Assistance team by filling out this online form, or by calling (800) 624-0241 and leaving a voicemail.

08/21/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the county has secured more than $7 million in aid for COVID-19 response. Grants will focus on future testing and reimbursement for costs already incurred in its diligent response to the pandemic.

The funding includes $3,819,380 in reimbursement dollars for expenses Morris County incurred as of June 30 and which were not covered by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dollars, insurance or other funding. An additional $357,500 is earmarked to continue testing operations until December and $2,915,033 to support the testing of vulnerable and priority populations moving forward.Morris County’s extensive response included, among other actions, opening a testing center, monitoring the virus spread, direct aid to food pantries, partnering with health providers and providing infrared thermometers to community and faith-based groups.

Morris County, along with 11 other counties, received no direct CARES Act funding from the federal government this past spring because direct aid was predicated on a requirement a county have a population of at least 500,000 residents. Morris County missed that threshold by a mere 8,000 residents, while nine other counties, two of which barely met the population requirement, shared in $1.05 billion in direct aid. 

Morris County freeholders flagged the population requirement as arbitrary, and urged the Governor in April to provide Morris County with a share of $2.4 billion the State of New Jersey received from the CARES Act. The freeholders’ request was supported in a joint letter by Republican State Sen. Anthony Bucco, Democratic State Sen. Dick Codey, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill. They argued it is unfair to deny aid to some counties and give millions to others, particularly when the counties have virtually the same populations. They also noted the pandemic’s impact on Morris County residents last spring was much higher than in other counties that each received nearly $90 million or more in direct aid.

The new funding provides opportunities for the county to conduct at-home testing programs and work with municipal health officials to establish scheduled mobile testing sites. A more detailed plan is already in development and will be available in the near future.

For more information on the initiatives taken by Morris County to address COVID-19 since February and other significant announcements about the virus in New Jersey, go to https://morriscountynj.gov/covidannouncements/.

08/21/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that acting on a commitment to deliver relief to communities who were not eligible for federal funding allocated through the CARES Act, $37 million in support for 12 additional counties will be provided to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will be made available to counties in three separate tranches under one Memorandum of Agreement. The 12 counties include: Atlantic; Burlington; Cape May; Cumberland; Gloucester; Hunterdon; Mercer; Morris; Salem; Somerset; Sussex; and Warren. These counties were ineligible for Coronavirus Relief Funding because their populations are below 500,000.

The first portion of funding, approximately $15 million in total, provides counties with a reimbursement for COVID-19 related expenses to date. This money represents 25 percent of the county cost share with FEMA paying the remaining 75 percent, along with other eligible Coronavirus Relief Fund expenses. These funds will be made available to all 12 counties upon signing the MOU and upon proper documentation of the expenditures. were made available to all 12 counties upon signing the MOU.

The second portion of funding will help counties stand up and maintain testing sites. All 12 counties will receive $357,500 for this purpose.

The final allotment is based on population size, and each county will receive funds from the CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for the Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases to support ongoing testing of vulnerable and high-risk populations. Counties will receive this funding only after submitting a testing plan and gaining approval of that plan by the Department of Health. The sum total of this portion of funding is $17 million.

A breakdown of funding by county can be found here.

08/20/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the nonprofit Table of Hope, with support of the Morris County Board of Freeholders, Sheriff, and other officials and organizations serving Morris County, will hold a food and school supplies distribution event at County College of Morris on Saturday, Aug. 29 in Randolph.

All Morris County residents are welcome to attend the event, which will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Parking Lot 1 on the CCM campus. Visitors are asked to use the college’s Dover Chester Road entrance. Face coverings are required for everyone who comes to campus.

County residents and families can receive fresh produce, meat, dairy, canned goods and other groceries. It will operate as a contactless drive-through event with cars stopping at different food stations categorized by food type. Volunteers will place bags or boxes filled with food into automobile trunks. There also will be a separate station to distribute backpacks with school supplies.

In March, Table of Hope began operating weekly mobile food distribution programs in Morristown, Parsippany and Dover, along with additional grocery supply events in other Morris County communities.

Prior to COVID-19, its pantry in Morristown served about 65 people weekly. The number now being served each week at each mobile distribution event averages 500 to 600, reports Teresa Williams, executive director of the Spring Street Community Development Center. To date, more than 18,500 individuals and families have been helped and more than 899,300 pounds of food has been distributed.

Table of Hope also operates a soup kitchen that during the pandemic has continued to provide dinners as a take-out service.  Table of Hope receives food from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside, local farms and food service companies. To volunteer or make a donation, visit the Spring Street CDC website at https://springstreetcdc.org/.

Along with Table of Hope, numerous other services are available to assist residents in Morris County’s 39 municipalities who are in need of food. A list of available food services, including food pantries, volunteer shopper organizations, meal delivery services and take-out meal services, can be found at https://hs.morriscountynj.gov/food-services/.

08/19/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that small businesses in the county will share in the $15.3 million in Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Emergency Security (CARES) Act funding the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has made available to select businesses in 12 counties, including Morris, that did not receive direct aid from the federal government. The limited grant program is earmarked for business owners that did not get any direct federal CARES Act funding. Grants are to be provided to businesses that had already applied as of the July deadline for aid through the NJEDA’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program.

The NJEDA has a newly created "Small Business Dedicated Team" (SBDT) with a direct email: smallbusinessservices@njeda.com. More information on the SBDT can be found at: https://www.njeda.com/small_midsize_business/services.

08/18/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. The updated advisory includes two additional states — Alaska and Delaware, bringing the total to 35 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, August 18, there are currently 35 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alaska; Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; Nevada; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Virgin Islands; and Wisconsin.

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

08/18/20: Morris County issued a press release warning residents that cyber scammers are trying to take advantage of the COVID pandemic by getting Morris County residents to click on a internet link with “information” supposedly sent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warns the Morris County Office of Information Technology. 

The scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to find creative ways to weaken your defenses. In this instance, a supposed CDC email includes the following intense subject line: “NOTICE OF CLOSING YOUR FACILITY AND DISINFECTNG THE AREA – BY NCDC WH 20982 COV-19 Due To Recent Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.”

You are instructed to download an attachment that is supposedly a letter from the CDC claiming they will close your workplace. If you download the file, however, you will find that it is actually a malicious program designed to gain access to your organization’s sensitive information.

How to beat the bad guys:

  • Think before you click. These malicious actors are playing with your emotions and this threat relies on panicked clicking.
  • Never click a link or download an attachment from an email you weren’t expecting. Remember, even if the sender appears to be from a legitimate organization, the email address could be spoofed.
  • If you receive a suspicious email that claims to be from an official organization, such as the CDC or World Health Organization (WHO), report the email to the official organization through their website.

Stop Look Think – Don’t be fooled! Get more information on COVID-19 scams from the Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams-consumer-advice

08/16/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that drive-through farm tours at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm in Morris Township are underway, now through October 30th. From the comfort and safety of your vehicle, you can tour the circa 1900 farm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Tour times are 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m.  Each tour will last approximately 45 minutes. 

See farm animals including Hobbes, the retired Belgian draft horse who worked the farm for years with his late partner Calvin, various breeds of sheep, Jersey cows, and Carl the ox. The farm’s vegetable gardens are flourishing, right around the corner from the barns and the farmer’s house. Overlooking the 213-acre farm is the Willows, the 1854 Gothic revival-style mansion that was once the home to the elite Foster family. This architectural gem, along with the farm, was bequeathed to Morris County by the adventurous Caroline Foster. Special demonstrations include corn cracking, butter churning, clothes washing and more. 

Preregistration is a required, and the cost is $10 per carload. Register and pay online here. Visit morrisparks.net for more information.

08/15/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 178, which temporarily extends certain statutory deadlines across state government that require review and action by agencies before a specified deadline. The statutory deadlines, in addition to certain effective dates that are being delayed, are included in the accompanying Appendix to the Order. 

08/15/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 177, which creates a modified vote-by-mail (VBM) election for the November 3rd General Election. The order suspends the sending of sample ballots and requires that each county’s elections officials send VBM ballots with pre-paid postage to all active registered voters for the General Election. Additionally, every voter will have the option to either return their ballot through a secure drop box or turn in their ballot at a polling location on Election Day. The Administration is working with the Department of State to implement a new online voter registration system where New Jersey residents will have the opportunity to register to vote. The online system will launch on September 4, 2020.

In order to address the influx of VBM ballots, the executive order will extend the deadline to allow ballots being returned through the United States Postal Service (USPS) with a postmark on or before November 3rd to be counted as a valid ballot by the County Clerk, if received by 8:00 p.m. on November 10th. Ballots without a postmark that are received by the county boards of elections within 48 hours of the closing of polls on November 3rd shall be considered valid.

Today’s executive order will also require a minimum of at least one polling place in each municipality and a minimum of 50 percent of polling places in each county to provide New Jersey voters with access to in-person voting opportunities, including accommodations for voters with disabilities. All public schools will close for in-person instruction on November 3rd to allow counties to use their buildings as polling locations, if necessary. Polling locations will be required to follow public health standards, including ensuring six feet of distance, requiring poll workers to wear face coverings and gloves, frequent sanitization of high-touch areas, and providing sanitization materials to all individuals at a polling place.  

08/15/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that the Administration will award $150 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to New Jersey’s public and private colleges and universities to help offset costs incurred as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The application is available for eligible institutions to receive federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) from the state which can be used for costs such as those related to cleaning and disinfecting supplies, the transition to online learning, and support for testing, among other eligible costs.

Institutional awards will be based on an OSHE-developed allocation rationale that incorporates priority student populations from the New Jersey State Higher Education Plan, “Where Opportunity Meets Innovation: A Student-Centered Vision for New Jersey Higher Education.” This includes institutions’ share of Pell recipients, underrepresented minorities, and overall student enrollments. These priority populations have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, institutions serving larger proportions of these students will receive a larger share to ensure funding is distributed equitably. This funding rationale also aligns with the state’s focus on an equitable restart of campus operations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To receive these funds, institutions must submit an application to OSHE that outlines how institutions will use funds to cover eligible expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020. For more information, please see the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website.  

08/14/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that Governor Murphy has announced today that the General Election in New Jersey this November will employ primarily a vote-by-mail balloting system. The Governor, at his daily public briefing today, said that all active registered voters will automatically receive a prepaid, return-postage vote-by-mail ballot. The Morris County Board of Freeholders in a resolution sent to the Governor this week, unanimously asked the Governor and state Legislature to reject an primarily by-mail voting system for the November General Election and to consider safe COVID-19 options for in-person voting, instead.

According to the Gov. Murphy’s directive,  all ballots will be mailed from County Clerks by Monday, October 5. 

Voters will be able return ballots: 

  • By mail
  • By depositing it in a secure drop box
  • By handing it directly to a poll worker at a polling place on Election Day
He also announced that the state’s new online voter registration system will be up and running effective Sept. 4, giving new voters an added ability to ensure they can register to vote.

All ballots being returned through the U.S. Postal System must: 

  • Carry a postmark by Nov. 3
  • Be received by the County Clerk no later than 8 p.m. on Nov. 10

Ballots that lack postmarks due to postal error and received by 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 will be considered valid.

In addition, the Governor’s order  requires the following:

  • Each municipality will be required to open at least one in-person polling site;
  • All counties must ensure that at least 50 percent of their total polling places are open on Election Day;
  • Any voter who chooses to cast their vote in-person will do so on a provisional ballot.
  • All individuals with disabilities will have access to an ADA-conforming voting machine.

On Election Day, all public schools will close to in-person instruction to facilitate use of the building as an in-person polling place.

08/13/20: Morris County issued a press release  announcing that the Morris County Board of Freeholders, which is committed to helping to control the spread of  COVID-19, is announcing a COVID-19 program to make available infrared thermometers to requesting community organizations and faith-based groups for use at group gatherings that follow state social distancing and face covering guidelines. Recognizing that a congregation of individuals is sometimes unavoidable, county government will make 300 infrared thermometers available at no cost to community and faith-based groups that generally have gatherings that attract more than 20 persons, to better ensure overall public wellness. 

The freeholders, at the request of the Morris Communities Panel of the Morris County Recovery Task Force, have approved spending $32,100 to purchase the infrared devices. Infrared thermometers will be available for free on a first-come, first-serve basis – one per organization. Interested groups must fill out a required from to apply for thermometers. Visithttps://morriscountynj.seamlessdocs.com/f/thermometerRequest

The Board of Freeholders, Morris County Office of Health Management and local health departments partner with and rely on community groups for educational and screening programs. These community groups and faith-based organizations host soup kitchens, food pantries, warming and cooling centers, mental health and addictions programs, among others services that would draw group gatherings. They also are part of the county’s public emergency response team, and will be important partners in future distribution of mass immunization or distribution of antivirals for COVID-19.

08/13/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that New Jersey’s public and private school districts will be open for in-person instruction for the start of the school year. Public school districts can begin the school year via remote-only instruction if they cannot adequately meet critical health and safety protocols outlined in the state’s school reopening guidance, “The Road Back,” which was released in late June. Districts who need to delay the implementation of in-person instruction will be required to submit information to the Department of Education (DOE) describing the health and safety standards that they are currently unable to adequately meet, how they will address outstanding issues in a timely fashion, and a proposed timeline for reopening physical school spaces to students and staff for in-person instruction.

Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 175, which directed the following for school districts:

  • Districts are required to certify to DOE that they can meet the health and safety protocols outlined in the Order, and further detailed in the “Road Back,” before resuming in-person instruction.  Private school districts will also be required to submit this certification;
  • Districts that can meet the health and safety protocols shall open to students for in-person instruction in the fall;
  • Even if school buildings are open for in-person instruction on the first day of the 2020-2021 school year, districts must provide a remote learning option for parents or guardians who request it for their children;
  • Districts unable to adequately meet health and safety reopening protocols must provide remote instruction to all students. These districts are required to submit documentation to DOE detailing which standard(s) the district is unable to satisfy, the anticipated efforts that will be taken to satisfy the standard(s), and a date by which the school anticipates resuming in-person instruction;
  • All schools required to participate in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program and those that voluntarily opt-in to those programs must offer required meals to all children on remote-learning days.

Executive Order 175 also waives the use of student growth data from standardized assessments for this year’s educator evaluations. Executive Order 175 further permits institutions of higher education to resume in-person instruction not previously permitted under Executive Order 155, provided they can meet previously outlined health and safety protocols from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, effective immediately.  

08/12/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing the first phase of the New Jersey Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program, designed to ensure that the State’s small businesses and non-profits have access to the fairly priced personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to facilitate safe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The phase was approved by the NJEDA’s Board today, advancing this initial step of a $15 million initiative to address ongoing demand for PPE.

In May 2020, Governor Murphy established the Restart and Recovery Commission and Restart and Recovery Council to guide New Jersey’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the Commission and the Council highlighted the need for readily available, reasonably priced, and equitably distributed PPE to accelerate a safe and robust economic recovery. The NJEDA also received input on the PPE Access Program from the Senate Fiscal Strategists Committee.

Under the Program’s first phase, the State will launch a new website that provides micro and small businesses with the information needed to make easier and better PPE sourcing decision.  The website will also offer a vetted list of online retailers that have agreed to verify the quality of the PPE they are selling and offer at least a 10% discount to businesses who enter through the State’s website.  Online retailers will be vetted on a first-come, first serve basis by the NJEDA, and must agree to certain performance standards for their site (e.g., transparent pricing, high-quality products, etc.).  Vetted online retailers will also be eligible to access an NJDEA grant pool of up to $3.5M to support the purchase of PPE that is manufactured in New Jersey or sourced from a small wholesaler based in a historically underserved community.

Assuming the first phase of the program is successful, the NJEDA intends to expand the program with a $11M of support for micro and small businesses PPE purchases.  The intent is for this support to flow directly through the vetted online vendors, allowing users to access the grant funds at the time of their online checkout.  Through this innovative public-private approach, the State anticipates that it could support more than $45 million in PPE purchases and more than 50,000 small and micro businesses.

During March and April, New Jersey saw an unprecedented spike in the demand for PPE, largely driven by the healthcare sector. Today the availability of PPE has improved, but as more parts of the economy reopen and other U.S. States face spikes in COVID-19 cases, demand for PPE to protect employees and customers has surged.  The resulting shortages and increased prices disproportionately effect small businesses and organizations and those in historically underserved communities.

In June the NJEDA issued a Request for Information (RFI) to gather input and suggestions that could help to shape a possible program to ensure small businesses had sufficient access to PPE. Taking this feedback into account, the NJEDA crafted the NJ Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program to ensure access to affordable PPE, help business owners understand the specific safety equipment they need, and support the state’s manufacturing sector by encouraging PPE suppliers to manufacture products in New Jersey.

Applications for the online retailers to participate in the program are expected to launch as soon as possible. The public facing website, including small business decision-making tools and vetted discounted retailers will follow by early-to-mid September. More information can be found on the State’s COVID19.nj.gov website.

To support the expansion of local PPE manufacturing in New Jersey, the NJEDA will provide grant funding to subsidize up to 20% of the purchases of PPE that has been (i) manufactured or assembled in New Jersey or (ii) sources from a wholesaler with less than 25 employees and is located in a historically underserved community (Opportunity Zone Eligible census tracts). Throughout the pandemic, NJEDA has been working closely with the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) to identify and support companies that make or have pivoted to make PPE, many of which could supply New Jersey-made goods to the Program’s vetted online vendors.

The NJEDA is setting aside an additional $0.5 million for program development, marketing, administration, and compliance.

To read Governor Murphy's full economic plan, please visit: https://nj.gov/economicplan.

08/11/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has announced that its Board has approved use of $15.3 million in COVID-19 federal CARES Act funding to provide grants to businesses in 12 counties, including Morris County, that did not receive direct allocations from the federal government. The funds will be added to the more than $100 million the NJEDA is currently administering to support COVID-19-impacted businesses.

The $15.3 million approved for use today will go toward fulfilling eligible Phase 2 grant applications from businesses located in the 12 New Jersey counties that did not receive direct CARES Act funding: Morris, Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren.

For information on the program and how to apply for funding, call 844-965-1125  or email customercare@njeda.com

08/11/20: Morris County issued a press release annoucing tips for Morris County older residents on dealing with isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our communities, physical distancing remains the order of the day — especially for older adults. But socializing is a basic human need, and studies show it contributes to better physical and emotional health. Isolation, on the other hand, is linked to depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, a weakened immune system, and high blood pressure, among other maladies. It is important for seniors to seek out ways to connect with others while minimizing their exposure to the coronavirus. Michelle Borden, CEO of Parsippany based NewBridge Services, a nonprofit partner of Morris County government that offers counseling services, housing and educational programas in North Jersery, offers the following

Use Technology

Video conferencing, using FaceTime, Zoom and other programs on smartphones, tablets or computers, has become a popular way to “gather” with family and friends. Getting started on the programs may be challenging for seniors new to technology; call a tech-savvy neighbor, friend or family member to coach you through the process. Phones, whether ‘smart’ or landline, are also excellent for staying in touch; some people feel more comfortable conversing without being on camera. People can call in to join a Zoom conversation. Movie buffs with Netflix accounts can set up ‘watch parties’ using a free Google Chrome extension, which can be downloaded at netflixparty.com. Click here for step-by-step instructions.

The Art of the Letter

If tech is not your thing, consider making connections the way people have for centuries: through letter-writing. Handwriting (or typing) letters allows you to process thoughts and feelings and create a bond with the recipient. Mailing or delivering ‘thinking of you’ cards is a thoughtful way to remind recipients they are not forgotten.

Join an Online Class or Group

Many social groups, including religious communities, are hosting online gatherings. An organization called Senior Planet offers free access to virtual exercise classes. Online learning opportunities also abound. Platforms such as coursera.org and edX.org offer both free and fee options. Courses, which may be live-streamed, self-paced, or some combination, are taught by university professors.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Center at Rutgers University is running more than 30 online courses during its summer session, and registration will begin soon for the fall. Anyone age 50 and over can study areas of interest with no assignments or grades.
The Virtual Senior Center run by the nonprofit Selfhelp Community Services is an online community of seniors who take courses, enjoy cultural experiences and discuss topics of interest in real time over their home computers and tablets. While volunteer opportunities are harder to come by during the pandemic, some organizations are seeking virtual helpers. The nonprofit Points of Light maintains a list of virtual volunteer opportunities.

Get Together In Person

Seniors can socialize in person, as long as you take precautions. Walking, running or biking with a friend is a great way to stay both fit and connected. Keep at least a six-foot distance, and wear a mask if you’re unable to maintain that distance. Some senior citizen groups offer fitness classes either outdoors or indoors, with participants well spaced and other safety measures in place.
Picnicking with a couple of friends or family members is a fun way to spend the day, but be sure to wear masks when not eating. Use hand sanitizer, especially if you’re sharing any utensils.

Struggling?

The pandemic is taking a toll on us all. To get through it, we have to make self-care part of our daily routine, and that includes staying connected with others. If you are struggling, contact NewBridge Services at 973-316-9333 to schedule a telehealth counseling session.The Institute on Aging has a Friendship Line at 1-800-971-0016 that is both a crisis intervention hotline and a nonemergency warmline for emotional support. Check out NewBridge’s summer newsletter created specifically for seniors for more information and advice.

08/11/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Park Commission still has openings in three virtual camps for children scheduled held through the end of the summer. Each meets daily for an hour or more via an online link.
Supplies are included in the tuition and must be picked up prior to the start of the camp week. Preregistration is required for all of the camps. Sign up here. To register for all of these camps and to see a list of other events, visit the Morris Parks contactless registration page here. For a full overview of Morris Parks, visit MorrisParks.net.

08/11/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from states or territories with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state or territory. In addition to the Virgin Islands, the updated advisory includes two additional states Hawaii and South Dakota – with Alaska, New Mexico, Ohio, and Rhode Island removed from the list, bringing the total to 33 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state or territory with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, August 11, there are currently 33 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alabama; Arkansas; Arizona; California; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; Nevada; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Virgin Islands; and Wisconsin.

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

08/11/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Administrative Order 2020-17, which authorizes the reopening of computer labs at private and public colleges and universities in New Jersey. Computer labs at public and private colleges and universities must abide by the health and safety protocols as well as sanitization requirements that are described in the Administrative Order. The Order will take effect at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 11th.

08/10/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing the Administration’s proposal to provide long-term care facilities with $155 million in additional funding as they look to reopen to visitors and resume normal operations. The funding—which will be a mix of state and federal monies—will allow for the implementation of NJDOH Executive Directive 20-026 for the safe phased reopening of long-term care facilities for indoor visitation by appointment and other activities if the facilities have no COVID-19 cases among residents or staff. Before reopening, facilities must meet certain public health benchmarks including adequate infection control, staff and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure preparedness. 

Under NJDOH Executive Directive 20-026, at what point a facility is permitted to enter a reopening phase depends on compliance with the following benchmarks:

  • Facilities must not have an active outbreak. An outbreak is considered concluded when a facility has 28 days – two incubation periods with no new positive staff or residents – and, if a CMS-certified facility, a DOH survey inspection. 
  • They must be fully staffed and have a plan for additional staffing in case of an outbreak or emergency. 
  • Staff testing must continue to be conducted weekly.
  • It is essential that they have enough PPE for present use in addition to a stockpile for emergencies.
  • They must have an updated outbreak plan with lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan must also include a communications strategy that outlines regular communication with residents and families about cases and outbreaks or any other emergency. The plan must also include methods for virtual communication in the event of visitation restrictions. The plan must be posted on their website.
  • Facilities must contract with an infection control service within two months or hire a full-time employee in the infection control role if they have more than 100 beds or hemodialysis. 
  • Facilities with ventilator beds are required to hire an infection control employee per current statute.
  • Every facility will be required to put in place within nine months a respiratory protection program that complies with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards including medical screenings and fit testing of employees using respirators (N95 Masks).

There are four phases of NJDOH’s reopening plan as outlined in the Executive Directive, all tied to the state’s planned stages of reopening. All facilities start in Phase 0 as of today.

Once visitation can begin, facilities must follow rigorous infection prevention and control protocols, including:

  • Visitor screening, including temperature checks;
  • Requiring visitors to practice routine infection prevention and control precautions including wearing a mask and social distancing;
  • Having a plan that limits hours of visitation and number of visitors in the facility at one time. Residents will be limited to two visitors at a time;
  • Identifying a visitation area that allows for social distancing and deep cleaning if the resident is in a shared room;
  • Receiving informed consent from the visitor and resident acknowledging that they are aware of the risks of exposure to COVID-19 and that they will follow rules set by the facility;
  • Instructing visitors to monitor for fever or other COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days after their visit, and to immediately notify the facility if they experience symptoms.

Recognizing that some residents need additional support regardless of the situation at their facility or their COVID status, a new category of essential caregiver will be added for all residents with proper precautions such as screening and the use of PPE. 

08/10/20: The Montville Public Schools has published a draft of their planned "Reopening Plan September 2020", along with a Question and Answer document (updated August 7, 2020), the Superintendent's PowerPoint presention on the plan, and the Superintendent's letter to Parents, Guardians, Staff Members, and Students dated July 31, 2020. These documents can be found on the Montville Public Schools website at https://www.montvilletwpps.nj.schools.bz/Content2/1266

08/10/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that County College of Morris has announced a “Return to Campus Plan” that is designed to support resumption of on-campus operations through a phased-in approach that prioritizes the health of college’s employees, students, and visitors. The plan, designed to address the Fall 2020 Semester, calls for reopening the college on a very limited basis and for the majority of classes to be conducted online. The plan may be extended or modified if necessary, according to state, local, or county mandates. Read the full plan.

The plan may be modified at the direction of the Board of Trustees or the college’s administration should health conditions deteriorate, if policy changes are needed, or should financial conditions dictate. Because the COVID-19 virus offers an unpredictable and unprecedented environment, employees and students should be prepared to work and learn exclusively off campus with little notice if state mandates or campus conditions require such action. The plan does not supersede, alter, or address  existing employee contracts. It does, however, extend substantial consideration and flexibility of the working and learning environment for the benefit of employees and students.

Visit the CCM website for more information on the college and its COVID-19 response.

08/10/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the state has created a Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program,  to provide emergency grant funding to small property owners for COVID-19 related decreases in rent revenue for a four-month period between April and July of this year. The program, to be administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, is funded through the federal CARES Act. 

Grant amounts will be based on the total amount of missed rental payments and the number of COVID-impacted rental units that serve low- and moderate-income tenants. Landlords who receive assistance will be required to pass along benefits to their tenants by forgiving back rent and late fees accumulated by COVID-19 impacted units. Applications must be submitted between Aug. 19 and Aug. 26.

Qualified applicants must meet the following specifications:

  • Owners with properties that have at least 3 but no more than 10 total housing units;
  • Owners with properties that are not seasonal or vacation rentals;
  • Properties must have current fire inspection certificates as of March 9, 2020;
  • Owners of properties with at least one non-vacant rental unit impacted by COVID-19 between April and July 2020; and
  • Owners with properties that have low- to moderate-income rent levels or rent based on up to 80% of the median area income.

Grant funding will be allocated based on the number of COVID-impacted units, and the amount of missed rent. Applicants must be the Primary Property Owner of a residential rental property in New Jersey and be registered with DCA’s Bureau of Housing Inspection as of July 17. Applicants can check here to see if their property is registered.

For more information on the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program,visit www.njhousing.gov/rentals/sleg

08/08/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that, urging people to answer critical calls from contact tracers, the New Jersey Department of Health today unveiled an online dashboard highlighting New Jersey’s contact tracing efforts throughout the state.

The Contact Tracing Dashboard, which will be updated on Fridays, provides information such as: the percentage of cases successfully interviewed, those who provided contacts, contacts notified, and more. According to current data, 61 percent of cases were successfully followed up, and nearly half of all contacts were notified of their exposure. 

The state, working with the Rutgers School of Public Health and Public Consulting Group, is continuing to build a strong, quality contact tracing program. CommCare, the state’s uniform data reporting system, was introduced and launched statewide in early July. To date, 1,344 contact tracers are in the field, which includes existing local health department staff and Rutgers-trained contact tracers that have been deployed by the NJDOH. A total of 638 contact tracers have been hired through the Rutgers School of Public Health, 349 of whom have already completed training and been deployed by NJDOH. The Rutgers School of Public Health is contracted to hire a total of 1,000 contact tracers.

As the dashboard shows currently, the biggest reason why contact tracers have been unable to follow-up on cases is because people have not answered the call. In addition, 45 percent of people who tested positive declined to share information on their close contacts. The Department of Health began a multi-media, multilingual statewide public awareness campaign this week to encourage people to get tested and to increase the public’s knowledge of what contact tracing is and the role it plays in preventing spread of the disease.

“While we are moving in the right direction, the success of our efforts depends on people—particularly young adults--answering the call from contact tracers and providing the information needed to stop the spread of COVID and protect those who come in contact with someone who has tested positive,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “I want to thank all of our public health workers for hard work during this pandemic and thank those New Jersey residents who have taken calls from contact tracers. But in order to prevent further spread of the virus, we need everyone to share in that responsibility by answering the call. We are all in this together.”

The dashboard also provides the number of contact tracers working in each county. With a current average of 15 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents, the state will prioritize assigning additional tracers to counties that need to reach this level. Once all counties have reached this benchmark, the goal will rise to 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents. The progress of the virus will also be taken into account when addressing contact tracing needs. The Department will continue to review and assess information available on the dashboard.

Contact tracing is a decades-old practice used in New Jersey and throughout the world to inform people and help protect them from the spread of contagious viruses and diseases such as the measles, HIV and now COVID-19.  A contact tracer will provide critical health and safety information, as well as resources for social services.

A contact tracer will identify themselves as working with the local health department when they call. All information will be kept confidential. Contact tracers will never ask for a Social Security number, financial information or immigration status. 

If you are notified as being a close contact, quarantine for 14 days, monitor your symptoms, and get tested. If there are any doubts, the person called can request the name of anyone who calls and call their local health department to verify. If a resident suspects a call is a scam, they can report it to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at 973-504-6240.

08/06/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Office of Emergency Management is cautioning county residents who are using generators to provide emergency power to their homes due to storm-related power outages to be sure to properly ventilate the generators. OEM officials say that hospitals in the county have been handling cases of people who have been sickened due to inhaling exhaust from generators due to poor ventilation.

Portable generators made for household use can provide temporary power for appliances or lights. Commercial generators can help prevent service interruptions at businesses and critical infrastructure facilities, such as hospitals, water treatment facilities, telecommunications networks, and emergency response agencies. However, there are also safety issues involved with generators, especially those used infrequently by homeowners.

Make sure you position generators outdoors and well away from any structure. Running a generator inside any enclosed or partially enclosed structure can lead to dangerous and often fatal levels of carbon monoxide. Keep generators positioned outside and at least 15 feet away from open windows so exhaust does not enter your home/business or a neighboring home/business.

The federal government also suggests the following:

  • Keep the generator dry
  • Disconnect the power coming into your home/business
  • Make sure your generator is properly grounded
  • Plug equipment directly into the generator
  • DO NOT plug the generator into a wall outlet
  • Maintain an adequate supply of fuel.
  • Turn the generator off and let it cool before refueling

For more specific information, visit the federal Office of Energy Security and Emergency Response or First Energy.

08/05/20: JCP&L has reported that as of 7:30am on 08/05/20, 122,359 of their customers in Morris County remain without power, including 8965 of customers in Montville. JCP&L also issued a press release with an update on their response, including notice of the activation of their Retail Water and Ice program. Customers remaining out of service can pick up free water and ice at locations throughout the state. Locations can be found on this list. In the Montville area, the nearest locations to pick up free water and ice are:

  • ACME Supermarket, 550 Myrtle Avenue, Boonton
  • Kings Supermarket, 115 Hawkins Place, Boonton 

08/04/20: Morris County issued a press release regarding Tropical Storm Isaias for Morris County.

Rain: We are currently experiencing a rain event which has been heavy at times. The forecast data suggests that we may experience some thunderstorms this morning and afternoon, with an anticipated conclusion early this evening, as Isaias exits towards the north-northeast. The previously released rainfall amounts of 3-6″ remain as part of the current forecast data with some localized higher amounts possible further west.

Wind: The weather data suggests that winds will increase towards midday and afternoon, with gusts to 55-60 mph possible. Sustained winds of 18-34 mph will also remain possible through the midday and afternoon hours before decreasing after 5-6 pm. Peak wind timing is estimated between 12:00-6:00pm. Isaias is expected to push north after 6:00pm, with some additional chances for isolated to scattered showers from about 8:00pm until approximately midnight.

Please use extreme caution when driving on the wet roads. The increased rain can result in drivers easily losing control of their vehicle. Hydroplaning happens when the water in front of your tires builds up faster than your car’s weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tires and ultimately the inability to control your vehicle. We encourage you to adjust your travel times, decrease your speed and drive consistent with the road conditions. Safety should be your number one priority!

We would also ask that the public NOT call 9-1-1 for power related issues unless it is a TRUE EMERGENCY. In addition, the 9-1-1 system should not be used for any other non-emergency calls. We want to make sure that our 9-1-1 operators are able to focus on true storm emergencies and we ask that the public cooperate in this regard.

  • Please make sure you take care of your animals and don’t put them outside when storm conditions are significant and potentially dangerous.
  • Please check on the elderly and those with special needs pre-storm to make sure they have adequate supplies and that they have a plan in the event that power is out.
  • We highly suggest that lawn and deck furniture as well as other items that could easily be impacted by the wind be significantly secured and/or removed.

Potential Power Outage Information (JCP&L):

  • We have been in contact with our partners at Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) and they are closely monitoring this storm.
  • In the event that power outages occur due to severe weather, customers without power are encouraged to report their outage by calling 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877), clicking the “Report Outage” link on www.firstenergycorp.com, or texting “OUT” to 544487.
  • Customers should immediately report downed wires to 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) or call their local police department. JCP&L reminds customers to stay away from downed wires, even if they believe they are no longer carrying electricity. Downed trees may create road hazards, and may be entangled with power lines. Extreme caution should be used. Motorists are cautioned to treat intersections with inoperable traffic signals as four-way stops.
  • JCP&L customers can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive weather updates in advance of major storms and updates on scheduled or extended power outages. Visit www.firstenergycorp.com/connect to enroll.
  • Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com.

08/04/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 174, which declared that New Jersey will enter a State of Emergency beginning on Tuesday, August 4th at 5:00 a.m., ahead of Hurricane Isaias. Executive Order 174 declares a State of Emergency across all 21 counties in New Jersey, allowing resources to be deployed throughout the state during the duration of the hurricane. Additionally, all state offices will be closed on August 4th.

“Hurricane Isaias is expected to impact the state with severe weather conditions, including strong winds and heavy rainfall,” said Governor Murphy. “The safety of our residents is our main priority, and we urge everyone to be informed of local weather conditions and to stay off the roads.” The Governor encourages New Jerseyans to visit ready.nj.gov for important weather updates and safety information. Residents should also pay attention to local forecasts, warnings, and watches.

For those living in Central and Southern New Jersey, visit the U.S. National Weather Service Philadelphia/Mount Holly at http://www.weather.gov/phi/

For those living in Northern New Jersey and the New York Metro area, visit the U.S. National Weather Service New York, N.Y. at http://www.weather.gov/okx/ 

08/04/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 173, which decreases the indoor gathering capacity limit in response to the increase of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey. Indoor gatherings are now limited to 25 percent of a room's capacity, but regardless of the room’s capacity, the maximum limit shall be 25 persons, down from 100 persons. For purposes of determining this limit, any private residence or residential unit shall be treated as a single room. However, today’s change will not be applicable to the following events: weddings, funerals, memorial services, religious services or celebrations, and political activities. These events may continue under the previous rules that limited these events to 25 percent of a room's capacity, but with a limit of 100 persons.

08/04/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 172, which allows any public employee eligible for enrollment into the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) to immediately enroll upon hire, rather than waiting two months. Previously, under Executive Order No. 115, the two-month waiting period was waived only for public employees hired specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s Order, which will last for the duration of the Public Health Emergency, applies to any public employee eligible for enrollment into the SHBP who is hired on or after March 9, 2020.

08/04/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from additional states with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. The updated advisory includes the addition of Rhode Island, with both the District of Columbia and Delaware removed from the list, bringing the total to 35 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, August 4, there are currently 35 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alaska; Alabama; Arkansas; Arizona; California; Florida; Georgia; Illinois, Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Kansas; Kentucky, Louisiana; Maryland; Minnesota, Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Mexico; Nevada; Ohio; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico, Rhode Island; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Washington; and Wisconsin.

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

08/01/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 171, which extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order 103, which was previously extended on April 7, May 6, June 4, and July 2. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed. Executive Order 171 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

08/01/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 170 , which temporarily extends certain statutory deadlines across state government that require review and action by agencies before a specified deadline. The deadlines were previously extended on June 30, with Executive Order No. 159. The statutory deadlines, in addition to certain effective dates that are being delayed, are included in the accompanying Appendix to the Order. The Order will take effect immediately.

07/30/20: The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has created a "Mask Up, New Jersey!" campaign to encourage everyone to wear an effective face covering in outdoor public spaces. Face coverings, along with social distancing, staying home when you are not feeling well, and good hand-washing hygiene, are vital tools in the fight against COVID-19. Wearing an effective face covering has been shown to dramatically decrease the release of droplets from people's mouths, which can carry and transmit infectious particles. 

07/30/20: Morris County issued a press release with a KnowBe4 scam alert warning residents to watch out online for fake COVID charities. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, people across Morris County are doing what they can to help one another, to be supportive of friends and neigbors and community members in need. But not everyone is benevolent.

The bad guys using cyber tricks are trying to use this compassion to their advantage. Many are posing as charitable organizations that claim to fund research, support hospitals, or provide help to victims of the virus. Be careful. Don’t be fooled, warns Morris County’s Office of Information Technology. Want to donate to real causes? Here are some tips:

  • Do your research. Use a trusted website like Charity Navigator to research an organization before making donations.
  • Reach out. Contact your charitable organization of choice directly by going to their website or calling your local chapter.
  • Never trust a link. Even if the email appears to be sent from a legitimate organization, type the webpage into your browser instead of clicking a link provided in an email.

Stop Look Think – Don’t be fooled. KnowBe4.com

07/29/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that officials at Saint Clare’s Health System say their hospitals are virtually free of COVID patients and preparing aggressively for any recurrence of the virus, but they are not seeing a return of patients for non-COVID medical conditions. Saint Clare's is operating at 60 percent of capacity in the emergency department, a situation that is similar at other local hospitals in Morristown, Pequannock and Newton.

Saint Clare’s reached a high mark in April of 120 COVID patients at its Denville and Dover facilities. Today, they just have three COVID patients, and just one in the ICU, compared to 60 a few months ago. To deal with the virus, officials said Saint Clare’s test all admissions. All surgeries are set up 72 hours in advance, with patients tested for COVID and asked to quarantine prior to surgery. Visitation is limited to one person per patient for four hours a day, with mandatory temperature checks. Hospital employees also are checked daily, and required to wear personal protective equipment.

For more information on Saint Clare’s Health: https://www.saintclares.com/

For information on Morris County’s COVID-19 response: https://health.morriscountynj.gov/coronavirus/

For more on Covid-19, visit the State Department of Health: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml

07/28/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that volunteers from nonprofit Jersey Cares are doing grocery shopping for older or disabled Morris County residents, in a partnership with the Morris County Office on Aging, Disabilities, and Community Programming. The program is aimed at keeping persons most vulnerable to COVID-19 out of harm’s way, giving them an option of staying out of supermarkets and other food markets.

While the shopping service is free, it is important to note that participating residents must pay for their food. Also, government electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards cannot be used to pay for groceries. (See CDC tips for grocery shopping during COVID).

Eligible participants must be at least age 60 or be disabled and between ages 18-to-59 and in need of shopping assistance. Program participants are required to provide contact information, a grocery list, and a maximum budget for each shopping trip. More specific program information will be provided when participants call for the service.

To request shopping assistance and get more information: Call 973-285-6848 or 1-800-564-4656. Volunteers have been vetted by Jersey Cares and are ready to serve Morris County residents. To volunteer for the new grocery shopping program, and for more information on Jersey Cares, visit https://www.jerseycares.org/. For more information on Morris County government programs for seniors and disabled county residents, visit: https://hs.morriscountynj.gov/adv/.

07/28/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release advising individuals traveling to New Jersey from additional states with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. In addition to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the updated advisory includes 3 additional states – Illinois, Kentucky, and Minnesota, bringing the total to 36 states and territories. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, July 28, there are currently 36 states and territories that meet the criteria stated above: Alaska; Alabama; Arkansas; Arizona; California; Delaware; District of Columbia, Florida; Georgia; Illinois, Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Kansas; Kentucky, Louisiana; Maryland; Minnesota, Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Mexico; Nevada; Ohio; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico, South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Washington; and Wisconsin.

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

07/28/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that an additional $15 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding has been made available to New Jersey small businesses struggling with the pandemic. This funding is in addition to the $100 million the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is currently administering through programs to COVID-19-impacted businesses.

The $15 million in CARES Act funds announced today will bolster the NJEDA’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, which provides grant funding for small businesses struggling with COVID-19-related challenges. Launched in early April with $10 million of NJEDA funds, the Program initially offered grants of up to $5,000 to a narrowly-targeted set of small businesses that included restaurants and in-person retail establishments.

In early June, the NJEDA used $50 million in CARES Act funds to expand Phase 1 of the grant program by $5 million and launch Phase 2 of the Grant Program with $45 million. Phase 2 expanded the Program to a significantly broader range of businesses and increased the maximum grant award to $10,000. At that time, Essex, Ocean, and Passaic Counties also provided $10 million each in CARES Act dollars to support additional grants to businesses in those counties. To ensure equitable distribution of funds, the NJEDA set aside one-third of the CARES Act funding to support qualified businesses located in one of the 715 census tracts that were eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone. Targeting these census tracts will help to ensure funding goes to communities of color that have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

To date, more than 10,600 businesses have been approved for grants totaling more than $44 million. The program is currently oversubscribed and not accepting applications, but the NJEDA intends to use the CARES Act funding announced today to fulfill a significant portion of the applications already in the pipeline, particularly where direct federal funding was not provided to counties.

07/24/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Clerk’s Office has opened Notary Services by appointment. Be advised that masks must be worn and clients will be subject to a Thermal Temperature Scan upon entering the building. Anyone with a valid Notary Public Commission may contact our office to schedule an appointment; however, we will be processing those Notaries that will be lapsing first.  All others will be given an appointment that coincides with their 90 day due date. Please have your commission number/ID available so the Clerk can verify the commission date along with the 90-Day Due Date.

Please bring the following to your appointment: 1) Notary Public Commission, 2) a valid form of ID, 3) the required fee of $15.00 (Business Check, Cashier’s Check or Money Order only, NO CASH ACCEPTED), made payable to:  Morris County Clerk, 4) and a pen.

To schedule an appointment, call 973-285-6122.

07/24/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Morristown National Historical Park (NHP) is taking another step in increasing recreational access at the park. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning Friday, July 24, 2020, Morristown NHP will open a visitor contact station within the park. It will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm. One station will be located at the Washington’s Headquarters Museum area, and, as staffing permits, another at the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center area. Additionally, a new cell phone tour of the Washington’s Headquarters area Museum and Ford Mansion grounds is now available. While visiting the park, the following will be open for recreation in accordance with state guidance from 8 am to 8 pm daily:

  • All five Jockey Hollow area parking lots (Visitor Center, Wick House, Soldier Huts, New York Brigade and Trail Center)
  • New Jersey Brigade/Cross Estate area parking lot will be increased to 100% parking capacity
  • Jockey Hollow Tour Road
  • Soldier Huts
  • All 27 miles of hiking trails
  • Equestrian trail use (5 trailer spaces at the Visitor Center parking lot only)

Appropriate recreation includes such activities as walking, hiking, running, and bicycling. Prohibited activities include large group gatherings and activities, and picknicking. Permanent restroom facilities in Jockey Hollow will be closed; however, portable restroom units will be available for public use. Parking will be restricted to the park’s surface parking lots only. 

Additionally, the following areas will remain closed to the public in this phase in the interest of public health and following federal, state and local guidelines:

  • Jockey Hollow Visitor Center
  • New York Brigade Comfort Station
  • Wick House and herb garden
  • Washington’s Headquarters Area: Ford Mansion and Washington’s Headquarters Museum (grounds and parking lots are open for passive recreation)

While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, park vehicles in designated parking spaces, practice principles (carry in-carry out trash), avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website www.nps.gov/morr or on Facebook and Instagram using our social media handle: @morristownnps. Learn more about the collections at http://morristownnhpmuseum.blogspot.com/. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

07/24/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that inmates at the Morris County Correctional Facility who have not received in-person visits in more than four months because of COVID-19 restrictions soon will be able to connect to family and friends through wireless tablets. The county jail, located in Morris Township and run by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, houses inmates from both Morris and Sussex counties. It has been provided with at least 85 Android tablets by GTL, a leader in technology and wireless solutions for correctional facilities.

Although inmates can telephone relatives and friends, the correctional facility on March 16 temporarily suspended in-person inmate visits with family to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The restriction has dispirited some inmates, said Warden Christopher Klein. He noted that tablets will not impact county taxpayers. The cost of the tablet visit will be withdrawn from inmates’ commissary accounts by GTL. Inmates who lack funds will be allotted $3.75 a week from a special inmate welfare fund to engage in 15-minute virtual visits with relatives.

Beyond virtual visits, the tablets also can be used to access approved educational and entertainment materials and in-house request forms. When visitation restrictions are lifted, inmates may also use the tablets to virtually visit with relatives and friends who live out-of-state or cannot make in-person visits. Corrections Lt. Michael Schweizer and Sgts. Raymond Dykstra and Shawn Johnston have been spearheading the tablet project and working with GTL on fine-tuning operational aspects. Regardless of the criminal charges they face, all inmates will have access to the tablets as long as they are in compliance with Correctional Facility rules.

Family and friends who wish to make virtual visits with an inmate at the Morris County Correctional Facility can go to www.gettingout.com/create-account to create an account to access the video visitation. Once the account is set up, funds can be deposited at www.gettingout.com/deposit-funds.

07/24/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Chamber of Commerce is continuing its series of FREE virtual business seminars during the COVID-19 crisis with two more upcoming events that are relevant to the new reality of life. On Tuesday, July 28, Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-25th District) will be featured to discuss the pandemic and state politics. The session will be held at 12 noon and is open, free, to the public. On Thursday, June 30, the topic will switch to municipal government operations during this health crisis. Both virtual events are FREE to the greater Morris County community.

07/24/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that the NJ Department of Education today issued clarifying guidance to allow parents to select fulltime remote learning for their children in the 2020-2021 school year. 

Released last month, the Department’s guidance document, “The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education,” emphasized that schools should prepared plans to open in some capacity for in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 school year. Since its release, the Department received feedback from many parents who wanted a greater voice in the decision-making process of whether their child should return to in-person learning. In addition, officials in some school districts called on the Department to release guidance to specifically allow for all-remote learning for those students.   

 The core elements of the guidance issued today include:

  1. Universal eligibility: All students, including students who receive special education or related services, are eligible for fulltime remote learning if their parent or guardian chooses.
  2. Policies and procedures: School districts must set clear policies and procedures for families who want fulltime remote learning for their children. School districts also need procedures for students in fulltime remote learning to transition back to in-person services. These procedures should be designed to ensure that families can make necessary arrangements to prepare for their child’s transition, and to help schools maintain continuity of services.
  3. Communications: School districts must communicate clearly and frequently with families, in their home language, about the availability of this offering and the related procedures.
  4. Quality of programming: Students participating in all-remote instruction should receive the same quality of instruction that is provided to any other student. In addition, fulltime remote programs must adhere to the same policies and regulations that in-person and hybrid programs follow regarding student attendance and the length of the school day.
  5. Data reporting: To help the Department evaluate fulltime remote learning, school districts will report data to the Department about student participation in these programs. 

The full guidance is available on the Department of Education’s “Restart and Recovery: The Road Back” webpage.

 07/23/20: The Morris County Freeholders issued a press release announcing that the Morris County Department of Human Services and the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris are forming a "Team Up" suicide prevention partnership. Suicide prevention during this high-stress COVID-19 crisis will be the focus of a new Team Up partnership. The joint effort, which is being funded by Morris County governerment, will deal with increased mental health issues caused by a host of factors, from loss of jobs and businesses, to isolation and fear of an uncertain future. It will employ social services, mental health, and education professionals to reach out to Morris County residents in need of help.

The Freeholder Board last night approved a $26,160 expenditure to fund a 22-week Team Up program, running from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, that will offer in-person and virtual help for residents, and online training for educators and professionals to deal with mental health issues during this crisis.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, self-quarantines, and social distancing have been employed. While these practices are helpful in dealing with the virus, this isolation from family, friends, and community have induced anxiety, depression, fear, and loneliness – all factors that can lead to suicide, according to mental health experts.

The new five-month Morris County and MHAEM program will focus on both adult and youth populations.

  • Adult population
    • Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris (MHAEM) professionals will ride along with Morris County’s Navigating Hope mobile social services van one day each week throughout the county. While on Navigating Hope they will educate residents on signs of suicide, assist persons in immediate crisis, and refer residents to available mental health services. The MHAEM also will address the adult population by providing virtual 90-minute presentations on suicide prevention to Morris County residents. They also plan to reach consumers through social media and various programs the agency offers, while the county will help publicize the dates of MHAEM presentations and disseminate information to towns and agencies across Morris County.
  • Youth Population
    • The Mental Health Association will work with school districts across Morris County to educate faculty, staff, and students on the signs of suicide. All school districts will be invited to participate in an overview of the components of the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program. MHAEM will offer training — in-person or virtual –on the implementation of the SOS program in schools.

More information on COVID-19 and mental health:

Morris County Stigma-Free: https://morriscountystigmafree.org/covid19/

Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris: https://www.mhaessexmorris.org/covid-19/

NewBridge Services: https://newbridge.org/

CDChttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

07/21/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing individuals traveling to New Jersey from additional states with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. The updated advisory includes 10 additional states – Alaska, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia, and Washington – with Minnesota removed from the list. The travel advisory applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

As of Tuesday, July 21, there are currently 31 states total that meet the criteria stated above: Alaska; Alabama; Arkansas; Arizona; California; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Kansas; Louisiana; Maryland; Missouri; Mississippi; Montana; North Carolina; North Dakota; Nebraska; New Mexico; Nevada; Ohio; Oklahoma; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Washington; and Wisconsin.

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items. It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

07/21/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 169, which clarifies Executive Order 164 and states that the postponement of annual municipal and county party committee reorganization meetings is only applicable to municipal party committees and county party committees that held elections during the July primary elections. Municipal party committees and county party committees that did not have an election can conduct their annual meetings as originally scheduled.

07/21/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 168, which allows the resumption of contact practices and competitions in outdoor settings for organized sports defined as “high risk” by the New Jersey Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities.” Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 149 on May 29, 2020, allowing organized sports to resume on a phased-in schedule as defined by the Department of Health as “low,” “medium,” and “high risk” activities.

The order stipulates that practices and competitions must be held in outdoor settings only, and encompasses sports including football, cheerleading, group dance, rugby, boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo, and wrestling. All sports will have to abide by a number of health and safety protocols, including screenings for athletes, coaches, and staff; limited equipment sharing; and strong requirements for disinfecting and sanitizing equipment. Additionally, sports under the oversight of either the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association or the NCAA must abide by those associations’ rules. All sporting activities are subject to the “Guidance for Sports Activities,” and such activities must comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and Executive Orders. The order will take effect immediately.

07/18/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing a scam alert regarding cyber criminals exploiting COVID-19 data with scare tactics. With many new cases of Coronavirus being recorded daily, the bad guys know that many people are afraid — and they plan to exploit that fear, warns the Morris County Office of Information Technology.

They are sending "phishing" emails claiming to have official “new” or “updated” data on COVID-19 in your area.

These emails are intense, urgent, and are designed to spark a knee-jerk reaction. They include links to click on marked "Urgent" and "New" COVID-19 data. Don’t fall victim to their scare tactics!

Remember the following to protect yourself:

  • Think before you click. The scammers are expecting an impulsive click.
  • Never click a link or attachment from an email you weren’t expecting.
  • Stay informed by going directly to a trusted news source for information about COVID-19, including municipal-run websites such as this one, the New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub, CDC COVID-19 website, or World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 website.

Stop Look Think – Don’t be fooled!

Get more information on COVID-19 scams from the Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams-consumer-advice

07/18/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing Executive Order 166, which establishes the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office and COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Task Force. Governor Murphy also announced that Daniel Kelly, current executive director of the Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, will lead the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office. Acting State Comptroller Kevin Walsh will lead the COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Task Force.

The Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office (GDRO) will assume the responsibilities of the Governor’s Office of Recovery & Rebuilding, which will no longer exist.  The GDRO shall be responsible for the following activities, among others:

  • Coordinating the work of “COVID-19 Accountability Officers,” as described in the Order, to ensure cross-agency collaboration, compliance, and transparency;
  • Developing a transparency website within ninety (90) days of the date of this order to track the State’s eligible and planned uses of any funds disbursed by the federal or State government to help New Jersey residents, businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and other entities respond to or recover from the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Coordinating and consulting with all relevant stakeholders regarding the disbursement of COVID-19 Recovery Funds and the administration of COVID-19 Recovery Programs; and
  • Publishing an annual report summarizing the State’s use of federal funds in response to COVID-19.

The Governor’s Executive Order also directs the State Comptroller to review all COVID-related procurements above a certain dollar threshold (currently $150,000), ensure internal controls, and provide compliance training to all agencies receiving COVID-19 funds.

The COVID-19 Compliance and Oversight Taskforce will establish an Integrity Oversight Monitoring program to ensure state agencies guard against fraud, waste, and abuse of any COVID-19 funds. Integrity monitors will also be required to submit quarterly reports to the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office, the Attorney General, the Comptroller, and both the Senate President and Assembly Speaker, and make the reports publicly available online.

The Order further states that the State Comptroller and the GDRO shall report to the Governor from time to time on the progress of the COVID-19 recovery and the compliance process, and, in doing so, shall indicate whether additional staff and assistance is necessary to ensure accountability, transparency, and the timely expenditure of federal resources.

07/17/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing that he signed into law the “New Jersey COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act,” which authorizes the state to borrow up to $9.9 billion to address the unprecedented fiscal crisis that has arisen as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the law, the state has the authority to issue bonds totaling $2.7 billion for the remainder of the extended Fiscal Year 2020, which runs through September 30, 2020, and up to an additional $7.2 billion for the nine-month Fiscal Year 2021 that runs from October 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, for a combined amount of up to $9.9 billion to be issued over the two periods.

The state is authorized to borrow either through the issuance of general obligation bonds that can be sold to investors or through the federal government’s Municipal Liquidity Facility, which was established to help states and local governments across the country deal with the fallout from the global pandemic. The State is also authorized to refinance bonds issued pursuant to the bond act. Debt service on this bond issuance will be repaid through the state’s General Fund. Governor Murphy stressed that the state plans to borrow only what is necessary to speed New Jersey’s recovery from this unparalleled recession.

The law also establishes the Select Commission on Emergency COVID-19 Borrowing, comprised of two members of the Senate selected by the Senate President and two members of the General Assembly selected by the Speaker of the General Assembly, which must approve any proposal to issue bonds prior to their issuance.

07/17/20: Governor Murphy issued a press release announcing his Administration’s plan to address unmet pre-K-to-12 student technological needs in New Jersey schools, commonly referred to as “the digital divide.” Efforts to ensure reliable internet connectivity and access to one-to-one digital devices are critical as we look ahead to the 2020-2021 school year and the reopening of schools, many of which are preparing reopening plans employing a hybrid schedule of both in-person and continued remote learning due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Administration’s approach to closing the digital divide is three-pronged and consists of the following: 

  1. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) released today a Request for Information (RFI), seeking information and ideas to bridge the digital divide for New Jersey’s pre-K-to-12 students, including philanthropic support from companies and organizations to help close the digital divide in public schools. The RFI is available here and interested parties will have until July 31, 2020 to respond. District information from the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) will help connect school districts in need with identified philanthropic partners and potential solutions.
  2. The DOE will offer a one-time $10 million formula grant using a portion of the State’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. This funding will be disbursed to public school districts to purchase digital devices and internet connectivity for one-to-one student use based on need and the availability of philanthropic donations. Districts will be required to submit an application to DOE, which will be released next week, and demonstrate a plan for appropriate use of funds.
  3. After philanthropy and ESSER Fund grants have been exhausted, the Administration will redirect Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) funds to close any remaining gap and fill the unmet digital device and internet connectivity needs of New Jersey students. Up to $44 million in CRF funds will be available for this purpose, with an additional $6 million available for nonpublic schools. Because of the ongoing and unparalleled financial strain the COVID-19 pandemic has created across the board in the State, is critical to exhaust philanthropic opportunities and CARES Act funding prior to filling remaining gaps with CRF funds. This will ensure that CRF funds can be efficiently directed to address as many critical needs as possible.

Schools in New Jersey were closed to in-person instruction in March 2020 when Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 104 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. While school closures were necessary to protect public health, the DOE estimates that more than 230,000 students across the state have been impacted by the digital divide. Last month, the DOE released guidance to assist schools in preparing for the upcoming school year and establishing a learning model that includes the possibility of employing both remote and in-person learning, meaning that students will need continued access to the internet and digital devices. After considering other available district funding sources and estimating need based on June 2020 survey data and low-income enrollment data, the DOE estimates that the cost to close the digital divide is approximately $54 million. 

07/17/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that today, July 17, 2020 at 5 p.m. is the deadline to apply for  the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or CVERAP, which provides temporary rental assistance to low- and moderate-income households that have had a substantial reduction in income or became unemployed due the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants may be eligible for a maximum of up to six months of emergency rental assistance.

For more information on this program, please visit: www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/cverap.html. You must apply online. 

The program is offered through New Jersey Department of Community Affairs through the Housing  and Community Resources program. For more information, please visit: www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/

07/17/20: The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) has released Executive Directive 20-025, which permits parents, a family member, legal guardians and support persons of pediatric, developmentally disabled and intellectually disabled residents of long-term care facilities in Morris County and across the state to arrange for by-appointment indoor visits with loved ones. The directive outlines guidance to safeguard the health of vulnerable long-term care facility residents. 

Facilities can only allow visits if there has been no new probable or confirmed coronavirus cases recorded across a 28-day period, which is two incubation periods for COVID-19. Visitors must be screened for symptoms in a designated area that maintains social distancing and infection control standards. If an individual has any COVID-19 symptoms or possible exposure, they will not be permitted to visit. All visitors will be required to wear a face covering, be educated on proper hand hygiene, and practice social distancing with anyone other than their loved one. Facilities must designate a specific area for visitationy. When staff are transporting a resident to a designated visitation area, a safe distance of six feet distance must be maintained between other residents and staff. 

Facilities must obtain informed written consent from residents and visitors. They must acknowledge they are aware of potential dangers of COVID-19 exposure and will comply with the facility’s policies during the visit.  As part of the consent, the visitor must agree to notify the facility if they tested positive for the virus or have symptoms within 14 days of visiting.

Each long-term care facility will set hours, days and durations of visits.  Facilities can begin scheduling indoor visit 48 hours after they have submitted an attestation to the Department that they have implemented the requirements of the Department’s directive.

07/16/20: Morris County issued a press release announcing that the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development plans to offer a full suite of online and telephone employment services through its One-Stop Centers beginning on August 10, 2020. Comprehensive support for unemployed customers will be offered online and through a series of call centers, which are expaning their capacity. However, in-person service will not be available at this time due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns for customers and employees.

The enhanced remote services will be available at the One Stop Center located in Randolph, and North Jersey locations in Newton, Somerville and Phillipsburg, as well as sites around the state. Click here to find a location near you.

Remote-access services to be available through the One-Stops include:

  • Job search assistance;
  • Training and education assistance;
  • Career planning;
  • Assessment of training needs;
  • Occupational skills training and job search support for unemployed adults and dislocated workers;
  • Re-Employment Services and Eligibility Assessment, which unemployment claimants find work before they exhaust their benefits;
  • Career services for individuals with disabilities, including resume building, accommodating equipment and job placement;
  • Online workshops.

Other Key Services:

Morris County Employment and Training Services: https://msw-jobtraining.org/  Residents interested in grant-funded career training also can call 973-285-6880 or 800- 870-3478 or by email