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The original item was published from 4/29/2020 8:55:00 PM to 4/30/2020 9:55:03 PM.

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Posted on: April 1, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Coronavirus: Daily News Updates April 2020

Coronavirus Updates April 2020

April 29, 2020

Good news! Union County parks will partially re-open beginning at dawn on Saturday, May 2, for limited and passive activities only, in accordance with statewide restrictions issued by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Wednesday. State parks and golf courses can also reopen with restrictions. The County’s two golf courses will open next week, after routine maintenance is conducted. However, all group activities and any activity that does not allow for proper social distancing is NOT allowed. 

The following facilities remain closed until further notice:

  • Restrooms
  • Picnic areas
  • Athletic fields
  • Playgrounds and exercise stations
  • Trailside Nature & Science Center
  • Warinanco Sports Center
  • Watchung Stable
  • Echo Lake and Warinanco dog parks

Here in Berkeley Heights, fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball and pickleball courts will remain closed. In spaces that are open for use, everyone needs to properly social distance. We encourage everyone to follow the rules regarding social distancing, masks, and permitted activities, so as to give confidence to local, county and state governments that more spaces can slowly reopen.

PUA Recipients to Soon Be Notified of Eligibility

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that recipients of federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to the self-employed, independent contractors and others who are not usually eligible for unemployment insurance benefits will start being notified of their PUA eligibility today, and the Department will begin making payments Friday. PUA is a new program authorized by Congress as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide unemployment benefits to workers not eligible for regular unemployment. In addition to people who are self-employed or independent contractors, this includes those who do not have enough recent earnings to receive regular unemployment benefits. Workers in this group, who have applied for regular unemployment and been denied, do not have to do anything further. The Department will start reaching out today, and will start processing payments this week.

COVID-19 Update, Berkeley Heights

These reports are never easy. We lost one of our residents at Runnells Specialized hospital. A dear soul in her 80s. Please send your thoughts and prayers to the family and friends mourning her loss. As of today, in BH we have:

  • 33 active cases (reduction of 3)
  • 26 from long-term care facilities (LTCs) (reduction of 2)
  • 122 closed cases (increase of 2); includes 30 recovered from LTC (same)
  • 24 LTC deaths (1 additional)
  • 3 community deaths (same)
  • 155 total cases
  • Runnells: 21 total cases, 4 deaths (***may not reflect new death***)
  • Autumn Lake: 55 total cases, 14 deaths

Click here for more LTC information

SNAP Benefits

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 2,481 new cases; 116,264
  • NJ - 329 new deaths; 6,770 total
  • Union County - 196 new cases; 12,380 total cases
  • Union County - 27 new deaths; 653 total  

Updated numbers for hospitalizations:

  • 6,289 people are hospitalized – this is about level with yesterday’s numbers
  • 1,811 people are in critical care
  • 1,327 people are on ventilators
  • 61 people are in field hospitals
  • 426 people were admitted, and 474 people were discharged.
  • With regards to re-opening of elective surgeries, states that have re-opened to elective surgeries are right now at about 0.3 deaths per 100,000 residents; currently NJ is experiencing 2.2 deaths per 100,000 residents. We would need our number to drop drastically before consideration will be given to re-opening for elective surgeries.

The Governor’s Reopening Panel - Gov. Phil Murphy created a 21-member commission to advise him on the timing and planning for New Jersey’s "recovery" from the COVID-19 shutdown. The commission - chaired by Merk CEO Ken Frazier and Shirley Tilghman, the Princeton professor and former University president - begins virtual meetings immediately, Murphy said.

Join Us for a Webinar with the Assembly Speaker Next Wednesday, May 6 - Join the N.J. Chamber of Commerce and NJBIA as Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin shares his views on the New Jersey business community and the COVID-19 crisis. He will also take questions from the audience. To register, click here.

April 28, 2020

It is once again with a heavy heart that we report the death of a resident, in their 90s, from Runnells Specialized Hospital. Please pray for their family and friends. Stay safe and take care of one another. Check here for more information on LTCs (long-term care facilities).

Berkeley Heights cases:

  • 36 active cases (reduction of 1)
  • 28 cases from LTCs (reduction of 3)
  • 120 closed cases (increase of 2)
  • 23 LTC (long-term care facility) deaths (increase of 1)
  • 3 community deaths (same)
  • 156 cases (increase of 1)

Per the County call today:

There is a new administrative order which lists additional businesses as essential and as such can be open:

  • Pet grooming, day care and boardingStand Apart
  • Retail stores that sell items necessary for religious observation or worship
  • Car dealerships can allow test drives before pickup or delivery but in the case where a sale is not made, the car must be sanitized.
  • There is new language regarding personal care service providers: they cannot work out of their homes but can provide their services to family members or romantic partners who live with them or close family members.

An Executive Order was issued Tuesday regarding the extension of the tax payment period from May 1, 2020 to June 1, 2020. This is an additional 21 days and without interest or penalty. This supersedes any action previously taken by local municipalities. There will be no adjustments or extensions for county or school tax payments

The Governor announced the board members for his Restart and Recovery Commission – names will be provided.

Update on the stimulus funds from the government to the County and how they would be used:

  • There are 9 counties in NJ who received direct funding from the federal government and as of yet, there is no clear guidance or rules. The County is proceeding with caution as they don’t want to allocate or disperse funding for things and then have to return it because of unintended usage. The County wants to be cautious so they get it right. They are working closely with representatives from the other 8 counties who received direct funding as well as NJAC to act in collaboratively.

The Six-Point Plan to Reopening - Gov. Murphy’s plan to lift restrictions on New Jersey businesses and public spaces doesn’t have a timeline. It seeks a two-week decline in COVID-19 cases, and expanded testing capacity to double the current level before a re-opening. That’s according to the broad six-point plan Gov. Phil Murphy outlined yesterday. (NJ Spotlight) 

Building an Army to Trace Infected Residents - Once testing is ramped up, the state will need to engage in “robust” contact tracing, employing an “army” of people to trace the contacts of infected residents, Murphy said. It could take anywhere from 1,300 to over 7,000 people to conduct the work, he added. (Politico) 

Memorial Day is One Target - The stay-at-home order will remain in place until further notice, Murphy said. He expects the timeline for reopening to be measured in weeks, not months. When pressed on the timing of a phased-in reopening, he was noncommittal, but suggested it could come by Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer at the Jersey Shore. Still, social distancing is likely to be the norm for months to come, including on beaches, he said. A commission whose members are expected to be announced today will be responsible for guiding decision-making. (The New York Times) 

The N.J. Chamber of Commerce Webinar with Neil Bradley, chief policy officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, provides valuable details on the federal loan programs designed to help businesses navigate the pandemic.(April 23)

The N.J. Chamber of Commerce webinar with state Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo provides vital information on the state unemployment insurance program and tips for applying. (April 16)

The N.J. Chamber of Commerce webinar with Al Titone, SBA district director of New Jersey provides vital information on SBA coronavirus relief loan programs. (April 14).

For information on applying for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, click here.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Survival Guide has a complete listing of all of the coronavirus resources for small businesses.

The N.J. Economic Development Authority is offering assistance programs for New Jersey businesses. Information and applications can be found here.

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 2,887 new cases; 113,856
  • NJ - 402 new deaths; 6,442 total
  • Union County - 190 new cases; 12,188 total cases
  • Union County - 44 new deaths; 627 total  
  • 6,476 patients are hospitalized – that is level and 1,000 less than this time last week
  • 1,809 are in critical care – this number is also level
  • 1,262 patients are on ventilators
  • 488 admitted to the hospital
  • 419 discharged from the hospital
  • 60 people are in field hospitals

These numbers are good but as per the Governor’s remarks yesterday, we need 14 days of steady and sustained declined in ALL numbers to move forward with reopening.

Over 800 companies are hiring for over 56,000 jobs during this health crisis. Click here for job listings. 

Call-in number, for Union County Residents Only for testing site appointments 908-214-7107.

April 27, 2020

Governor Phil Murphy today announced his vision,"The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health," to restart New Jersey and The_Road_Back_-_Restoring_Economic_Health_Through_Public_Healthput the state on the road to recovery. Governor Murphy outlined six key principles and benchmarks to guide the process for restoring New Jersey’s economic health by ensuring public health.

"Our priority is to use science, data, and facts to put New Jersey on the road to recovery. In order to restore economic health, we must first promote public health," said Governor Murphy. "These key principles and metrics are critical for giving New Jerseyans confidence that we will re-open our state with our public health protocols firmly in place and our health care system prepared. Restarting New Jersey’s economy and returning people to work will be done methodically, strategically, and responsibly."

Governor Murphy’s stay-at-home Executive Order, which has been in effect since March 21st, will remain in effect in its entirety until further notice. Six principles and key metrics will guide the process for lifting restrictions and restoring New Jersey’s economic health through public health. Read more here.

Paycheck Protection Program Reopened

The Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has now been reopened. Congress replenished funding for the program last week. Information about the program is available here. The PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.

There is good statistical data on the NJ Department of Health website. More in-depth information was added to the site today about Long Term Care Facilities (LTCs). Specifics on facilities with infections are posted with confirmed cases and COVID deaths.

MVC Agency, Inspection Station Closures Extended Until May 11 

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Sue Fulton announced that all agency, road testing, and inspections facilities will remain closed until at least Monday, May 11. The closures are part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  In addition to expanding online services, the Commission is continuing essential operations, including measures to support commercial trucking to keep the supply chain moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most renewals of driver licenses, non-driver IDs, and registrations – including, for the first time, some commercial registrations – can be processed online at Customers can change their address, pay fees, and other services online as well. Drivers with suspended licenses can seek to get licenses restored, if they are eligible, using email instead of phone or in-person interactions. Drivers who believe they are eligible for restoration should email

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 2,146 new cases; 111,188 total
  • NJ - 106 new deaths; 6,044 total
    • 6,407 hospitalizations
    • 75 in field hospitals
    • 1,801 ICU (down 9% in last week)
    • 1,303 ventilators (down 18% in last week)
    • 314 new hospitalizations
    • 480 discharges
  • Union County - 12,011 total cases
  • Union County - 583 total
  • Berkeley Heights - 37 active cases (increase of 1), 31 of which are from LTCs (increase of 6); 118 closed cases
    • 30 recovered from LTCs 
    • 21 LTC deaths (official numbers available on the NJ state website)
    • 3 community deaths
    • total of 155 cases (increase of 4) 
    • Autumn Lakes: 55 cases, 14 deaths
    • Runnells Specialized Hospital: 21 cases, 4 deaths

April 24, 2020

A raw, real inside look at the County COVID testing facility, from Mayor Devanney. PLEASE PRACTICE safe social distancing and hygiene - this war is real.

I volunteered at the Union County Covid testing facility today. Within the first 10 minutes of the registration tent opening, I had to fight back tears. The war that is being waged out there— it is real. I see Father Andy at breakfast and many of my county friends I’ve known for decades. We are in masks and can’t greet each other in our usual way. It is a surreal and sobering moment.testing3

Organized lines of cars spanned the vast parking lot at Kean University before 8:30 am (test begin at 9). The look of terror on the faces of those who are sick is emotional. Beyond emotional. You want to hug them but you can’t.

A mother gestured to the back of her minivan. It’s raining but I can see her sick toddler. The mother’s big blue eyes filled with tears. That, I can see clearly through the driver’s window.

These patients, our neighbors, usually forget to put their car in park because they are nervous and scared... and usually alone. But only inches exist between volunteers (but windows alway closed) who must check id, prescriptions or await a form to be delivered by a member of the New Jersey military for those who do not have an appointment.

Btw, it gets real when you stand a foot away from the New Jersey National Guard all day.

At the point they are cleared to leave our tent and head toward the nurses and doctors donning tyvek suits and PPE gear, we tape paperwork to the window with duct tape. As a last step, we grab a sliver of soap and draw a heart ❤️ on the window of the patient (so the medical professionals can limit exposure to the car) to be tested and tap their window and say “feel better!!” before gesturing to the National Guardsmen as an “all cleared” for testing. Selfishly, drawing the heart was my favorite part of the interaction with the patients. I tried to smile at them for comfort, but they can’t see my facial gesture under a mask and a stocking cap.

testing4On the drive back to Berkeley Heights, the back of my ears hurt from wearing my protective mask. I was only on-site a measly 7 hours. And in comparison all I can wonder is— how the HELL did these medical professionals in our ERs don masks and PPE for days..... over and over and over with no day off, no lunch break like I had today, or lull in the patients coming through their emergency room like the lull in our line by afternoon.

A nurse from Mountain Park, a Catholic priest from Little Flower Church, a sign that FLAG BH had been there to deliver food. Many signs of the benevolence of our community.

This war is real. It is on-going. People are very sick. They are scared. Alone. Others are frightened but brave while caring for children, older parents, partners or spouses.

We are going to get through this together. I know this. I see what good people at the county testing site are doing for us all.

So I am going to say this with all the fervor left in my bones today: stay SAFE, stay HEALTHY, please practice ALL the protocols to keep your neighbors, friends and family. Take CARE of one another.

The UC COVID-19 Test Site at Kean University is open today from 9am to 2pm.


Meanwhile in Berkeley Heights

Mayor Devanney and Township Administrator Viana continue to have daily calls with the heads of our emergency response team from the Berkeley Heights Rescue Squad, Fire Department, Police Department, Department of Public Works, and Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Updates are then provided to Council. These daily updates provide:

  • Insight into cases at our long-term care facilities 
  • Information on daily call volume for our County and local responders for COVID-related calls
  • PPE needs from our first responders or long-term care facilities, that are filled by our OEM
  • PPE donations from the community or available suppliers
  • How our OEM is working with our Health Officer and her staff in fulfilling local needs
  • Updates on our senior citizen community and their needs 
  • State and local number of cases
  • Help that may be coming in the form of additional aid from the state or county
  • & more

Meanwhile, our OEM is working with our Health Officer and her team on preparing for any anticipated future waves of COVID-19, which may occur later this year. 

From the County Call Today ...

Zach McCue from Senator Booker’s office offered the following link to check on stimulus checks:

Updated hospitalization numbers:

  • 6,847 hospitalizations ↓ from yesterday
  • 1,933 in critical care ↓ from yesterday
  • 1,487 on ventilators ↓ from yesterday
  • 778 discharges which is equal to the number of admissions
  • 98 people in field hospitals
  • This is all good news and an indication that we are moving in the right direction.

We received guidance regarding the following businesses that can remain open because they are not considered retail businesses:

  • Dog groomers
  • Pet boarding businesses
  • Shelters for pet adoptions
  • Auto repossession companies
  • Private campgrounds (though there are none to our knowledge in Union County)

The Governor will announce that he will be signing an Executive Order that allows renters to request that their landlords use their security deposit to cover next month’s rent; there will also be FAQ sheets available for both tenants and landlords. As for homeowners, there will be an FAQ sheet with some information on mortgage payments. No balloon payments will be allowed once the emergency is over. Anyone in forbearance should see their payments in arrears added to the end of the mortgage.

The state is working hard to expand testing capabilities.

A change in the audit deadline was suggested. The DCA would like to seek an extension of 3-6 months – however this will require legislation.

There is good statistical data on the NJ Department of Health website. More in depth information was added to the site today about Long Term Care Facilities. Specifics on facilities with infections are posted with confirmed cases and COVID deaths.

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 3,047 new cases; 102,196
  • NJ - 253 new deaths; 5,617 total
  • Union County - 273 new cases; 11,208 total cases
  • Union County - 27 new deaths; 542 total 

Over 780 companies are hiring for over 56,000 jobs during this health crisis. Click here for job listings.

April 23, 2020

Business Aid: Berkeley Heights. BH small business needs YOUR SUPPORT.Biz Aid: Berkeley Heights

COVID-19 has been devastating for Berkeley Heights’ small businesses. These independently owned businesses help give our town the heart and sense of community that we are all proud of. The Business Aid: Berkeley Heights fund will provide emergency assistance grants to our town’s small businesses facing COVID-19 related hardships. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law; BHB&C is a 501(c)3 organization. All small businesses within the town limits of Berkeley Heights are eligible. Grant determinations will be made by an independent Grant Committee made of up of Berkeley Heights residents who are leaders in their respective fields. All funds will be distributed as grants from Berkeley Heights Business & Civic. Please click here for more information:

On the daily Union County COVID-19 call today, Deputy County Manager Wagner provided hospitalization numbers:

  • 7,240 people hospitalized
  • 1,983 in critical care
  • 1,462 on ventilators – this is the lowest number since April 5th
  • 752 people discharged
  • 91 people in field hospitals

UnemploymentUnemployment Portal

The Department of Labor created a new web portal that allows New Jersey residents to contact the Department of Labor directly. This is a helpful tool for residents who have questions about their applications; 500 laptops have been distributed to workers to help relieve the overwhelmed phone system, it’s possible that email responses will be processed quicker than phone calls. To submit a message, residents must go to and follow the instructions below:

The state is aware of the unemployment issues and are working to fix them. 140,000 MORE filings were received, bringing the total to 858,000. For reference, at the same time last year there were 84,000 filings.

State Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo explained what the state Labor Department is doing to speed up the unprecedented number of claims, and why so many applicants were flagged for more information from the start. (ROI-NJ) To watch the full webinar, click here.  

In Other Updates

  • There is still no guidance regarding municipal pools and whether they can open.
  • Regarding the money received from through the CARES Act, many questions remain for how the funds can be expended. The Governor’s office is working closely with the Treasury Department and the President for more information.
  • New Jersey wants the Bergen and Monmouth county coronavirus testing sites to be open for people without symptoms, but it needs a waiver first from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those without symptoms have already been able to get tested at their local medical or urgent care facilities. (
  • The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has launched a program to encourage investments in Garden State entrepreneurs. The $5 million program offers loan guarantees for investors that provide loans to entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19. For eligibility and application, click here.  
  • Rutgers University launched the nation’s largest study of health care workers exposed to COVID-19. More than 800 employees from Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and University Hospital are participating in the pioneering study, Rutgers said. (NJBIZ) 
  • Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi headlined the list of New Jersey stars who performed from their homes during last night’s virtual ’Jersey 4 Jersey’ concert to raise money for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. The show aired on several local television and radio stations. The fund announced last week it had raised more than $18 million in its first three weeks. (

    For a recap of the show, click here

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 4,427 new cases; 99,989
  • NJ - 307 new deaths; 5,368 total
  • Union County - 451 new cases; 10,935 total cases
  • Union County - 34 new deaths; 515 total
  • Berkeley Heights - 36 active cases (increase of 8); 30 of those from LTCs (increase of 9)
    • 102 closed cases - includes 17 recovered from LTC (same), 21 LTC deaths (increase of 3) & 3 community deaths (same)
    • LTC deaths were residents in their 70s & 80s.
    • 140 total BH cases (increase of 10)


The N.J. Chamber of Commerce webinar with state Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo provides vital information on the state unemployment insurance program and tips for applying. (April 16)

The N.J. Chamber of Commerce webinar with Al Titone, SBA district director of New Jersey provides vital information on SBA coronavirus relief loan programs. (April 14).

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Survival Guide has a complete listing of all of the coronavirus resources for small businesses.

The N.J. Economic Development Authority is offering assistance programs for New Jersey businesses. Information and applications can be found here.

The IRS posted information on ’stimulus checks’ here. 

The state’s jobs and hiring portal matches employers and candidates. For employers to participate, click here.

New Jersey’s website for information on all of the state’s business resources during the pandemic.

New Jersey’s website for up-to-date information about COVID-19.

To report a scammer or suspected price gouging, alert the N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs at (973) 504-6240 or at

The state set up a 24-hour hotline where health care professionals are answering questions about coronavirus. The toll-free number is 1-800-222-1222. From outside the state, call 1-800-962-1253.

April 21, 2020

There is good statistical data on the NJ Department of Health website. More in depth information was added to the site today about Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCs). Specifics on facilities with infections are posted with confirmed cases and COVID deaths.

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 3,543 new cases; 92,387
  • NJ - 379 new deaths; 4,753 total
  • Union County - 322 new cases; 10,289 total cases
  • Union County - 37 new deaths; 427 total
  • Berkeley Heights - 27 active cases (reduction of 7); 20 of those from LTCs (reduction of 4)
    • 102 closed cases (addition of 8)
    • 81 recovered, includes 18 LTC deaths & 3 community deaths
    • 129 total cases
    • Good news: No new cases at Autumn Lake Healthcare since April 14

On the Union County call today... Raphael Chavez-Fernandez, the State Director for Senator Bob Menendez, office spoke to Mayors and Business Administrators about some federal legislation in the works.

  • Yesterday, a $500 billion proposal was announced with the support of Senator Cassidy from Louisiana. This proposal includes money to be received by State and Local Governments. It also includes funding for states and local governments to fill revenue shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Legislation is formulated so that the states hardest hit will receive the money they need – NJ is #2 in the country for COVID-19 cases – this provision was not included in the original CARES package and this package is not the re-upping of the NJ COVID-19 DashboardCARES Act that you will hear about as that one does not include money for state and local government.
  • The new package that later passed the Senate on Tuesday (more information below) will be almost $500 billion, which is more than the total of the original CARES Act and will be split into 3 tranches, each of which will be roughly $166 billion:
    • Money for states in proportion to percentage of US Population with a 45% carve out for county and local governments with populations of 50,000 or more using this formula: Local Govt’s Share x State Allocation x 45%
  • Money allocated to states based on share of national infection rate; this tranche does not include any money going directly to county and local government.
  • Money allocated to fill revenue shortfalls from February 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
  • Only 35 towns in New Jersey are above 50,000 in population; it was a huge win to get the population threshold for direct funding down to 50,000 from 500,000.
  • The flexibility point with regards to giving state and local government resources to cover revenue and budget shortfalls; there are concerns about how the funds will be managed or whether local authorities can handle managing the money.
  • There are only 3 or 4 towns within Union County that are over the 50K population threshold. Towns with a population of 50,000 or more would be entitled to direct funding. Towns with a population under 50,000 would be entitled to funding that would come from their state or county.

Summary - Interim Stimulus Package (more details from above)

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan package to provide $484 billion in additional federal support for small businesses, frontline hospitals and to expand COVID-19 testing.

Small Business Provisions

CV3.5 provides an additional $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), up from $349 billion included in the CARES Act to a total of $659 billion. Of this additional $310 billion, $60 billion is set aside for smaller and community-oriented lenders to make PPP loans.

  • $30 billion for loans made by smaller lenders with between $10 billion - $50 billion in assets;
  • $30 billion for loans made by CDFIs, Small Insured Depository Institutions, and credit unions with assets less than $10 billion

 Additionally, the bill provides $50 billion more in Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and $10 billion more in EIDL grants.

 Health Provisions

CV3.5 provides $100 billion to shore up our health care system’s fight against COVID-19, including:

  • $75 billion for health care providers for expenses and lost revenues related to coronavirus. There is not new guardrail language that would prevent HHS from distributing the funding to areas with low COVID-19 impact. 
  • $25 billion to expand testing capacity, including money to develop, produce, purchase, and administer testing capacity including for tests that can determine priori exposure.
    • Of that, $11 billion goes to States, localities, territories, tribes, etc.
      • $2 billion of that distributed by the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program formula
      • $4.25 billion will be distributed based on relative number of COVID-19 cases
    • $1 billion to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for surveillance, lab capacity expansion, and workforce
    • $1.8 billion to NICH to develop rapid testing
    • $1 billion to BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) for COVID-19 tests and supplies
    • $825 million to Community Health Centers
    • $1 billion to cover testing for uninsured


  • Union County submitted their certification for the first round of CARES Act funding last week and has yet to receive any funds; the first round of funding did not allow for funds to be used to cover revenue shortfalls.
  • The County did receive $4.3 Million for the CDBG and ESG and are still waiting for additional guidance on how those funds can be spent.
  • The State is reporting a decrease in new daily hospitalizations
  • There is currently no rush to reopen – science will dictate when the state reopens
  • All are encouraged to consult the COVID-19 dashboard as there is important information
  • In the dashboard there is a tab for LTCs which lists all facilities reporting positive cases and deaths by facilities
  • Today, Union County is reporting 28 LTC facilities reporting positive cases, up 2 from yesterday.

Governor Murphy and Commissioner Caride Announce Expansion of Payment Relief for Student Loan Borrowers

Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride announced today that the state has secured relief options with private student loan servicers to expand on the protections the federal government granted to federal student loan borrowers. These new options stand to benefit an estimated 200,000 New Jerseyans with privately held student loans.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided much needed relief for students with federal loans, including the suspension of monthly payments, interest, and involuntary collection activity until September 30, 2020. However, the CARES Act does not apply to millions of student loan borrowers with federal loans that are not owned by the US Government as well as loans made by private lenders.

New Jersey residents with commercially-owned Federal Family Education Program Loans or privately held student loans who are struggling to make their payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible for expanded relief. The initiative is modeled on the agreement made by the New York Department of Financial Services with commercial student loan servicers in its state. Borrowers in need of assistance must immediately contact their student loan servicer to identify the options that are appropriate to their circumstances. Relief options offered by participating servicers include:

  • Providing a minimum of 90 days of forbearance relief for borrowers;
  • Waiving late payment fees for borrowers;
  • Ensuring no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting;
  • Ceasing debt collection lawsuits for 90 days; and
  • Working with eligible borrowers to enroll them in other applicable borrower assistance programs.

Read more here.

On Reopening the Economy - Gov. Phil Murphy said he’ll give New Jerseyans a “broad blueprint” by the end of the week on how the state will begin to reopen. The governor said the announcement won’t have a specific date on when restrictions will be lifted, but it will list benchmarks that must be met, including doubling the current level of testing. ( 

Murphy Says New Jersey Needs Federal Help on Testing - Gov. Murphy countered the Trump administration’s claims that there is a sufficient capacity of testing across the country. “I would just say with the greatest respect, we don’t see it that way,” Murphy said. “There is not, as far as we can tell, plenty to go around.” ( 

Novel Idea - New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney has proposed a money-saving plan that calls for reducing the hours of 100,000 state and local workers for three months, and making them eligible for health insurance and expanded federal unemployment benefits that - combined with reduced pay - would actually exceed their regular wages. (

Nursing Homes Get New Oversight - New Jersey has ramped up inspections at nursing homes and ordered the state’s largest nursing home to cease new admissions as the authorities investigate the deaths of 39 of its residents after COVID-19 swept through it. ( 

Friendly Skies - United Airlines and Delta Airlines, in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Health, are offering free round-trip flights to health care workers coming to New Jersey to help the state fight the virus, Gov. Murphy said.

April 20, 2020

Message from Mayor Devanney: Again, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends as we have lost another one of our LTC (long-term care facility) residents. This wonderful soul, in their 90s, passed away from COVID-19. We need to continue to be vigilant as this war is still raging. Please stay safe, stay healthy and take good care of one another.

Berkeley Heights:

  • 34 active cases, 24 of those from LTCs
  • 94 closed cases (73 recovered, 18 LTC deaths & 3 community)
  • 128 total cases 
  • There were no new cases of COVID-19 overnight at either of our long-term care facilities

There is good statistical data on the NJ Department of Health website. More in-depth information was added to the site today about long-term care facilities (LTCs). Specifics Hospital Capacityon facilities with infections are posted with confirmed cases and COVID deaths.

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 3,528 new cases; 88,806 total
  • NJ - 177 new deaths; 4,377 total
  • Union County - 377 new cases; 9,972 total cases
  • Union County - 16 new deaths; 387 total


Federal Relief Act, Part 2 - A federal aid package of up to $450 billion may be coming soon. It would, among other things, provide additional cash for business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a popular program that ran out of money last week. President Trump and leaders in Congress are expecting to strike a deal as soon as today with votes in Congress possibly coming this week. 

Most of the Money Would Go to Businesses - The relief bill would provide $300 billion for the PPP and $50 billion for the small business disaster fund. Additionally, there is $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion to expand COVID-19 testing, according to those involved in the talks. SMALL BUSINESSES need to get to the TABLE quickly working with your lender as soon as this funding becomes available.

No Direct Aid for States in the Bill - There would be no funds going directly to state and local government budgets in the upcoming federal relief bill, treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said. Such direct aid - used at the discretion of states and localities - is something Gov. Murphy has said is essential as states combat the virus. ( 

Public Workers in the Line of Fire - New Jersey public worker layoffs would come if there is no new coronavirus aid from the federal government, Murphy said Saturday. “We will have layoffs that will be historic,” the governor said, as he called for Congress to send more direct aid to states. ( 

What New Jersey Also Needs - Murphy administration said New Jersey needs quick-processing tests for those who are ill, those treating the ill — and enough to sample general public. (ROI-NJ) 

Have You Received Your ’Stimulus Check?’ - Most people don’t have to apply for ‘stimulus checks’ under the federal CARES Act, but those that did not file income tax returns in 2018 and 2019 need to apply for the funds, the IRS said. For more info, click here. 

Join Our Webinar This Thursday, April 23 at 4:30 p.m. - Our guest Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will discuss the federal CARES Act, federal lending programs and the efforts in D.C. to pass a new coronavirus relief bill. For more information and to register, click here.

Act Now for U.S. Chamber Foundation Grants - The U.S. Chamber Foundation said it is beginning to accept applications today for $5,000 grants to small employers. For more information and to get the application, click here.

A New NJEDA Loan Program for Businesses - The N.J. Economic Development Authority chose six community lenders to lend a combined $20 million to $30 million to small businesses. Businesses can apply directly to the lenders. (NJBIZ) For more information and to get an application, click here.

Long-Term Care Facilities Continue to Feel the Pain - New Jersey reports 125 more coronavirus deaths at nursing homes. Overall, about 12% of the state’s total COVID-19 cases and about 41% of the state’s total related deaths have been at long-term care facilities. ( 

Veterans’ Homes are Taking a Big Hit - Deaths and infections for residents and staff at two veterans’ homes continue to rise. The worst affected remains a home in Paramus where 39 residents had died from the virus as of Sunday afternoon,110 had been confirmed positive, and 10 were hospitalized. (NJ Spotlight) 

On Re-Opening the Economy - Here is a list of the members on the seven-state council that is studying how to lift restrictions and re-open the economy. 

Get Counted - New Jersey residents can respond to the 2020 Census to help ensure the state gets its fair share of federal funding, including money for hospitals and first responders.

April 19, 2020

Message from Mayor Devanney: 

"We lost two members of our community at-large and two residents of LTCs (long-term care facilities). This never is easy. In fact, it is sobering. The effects of the passing of members of our Berkeley Heights family due to COVID-19 is devastating for everyone. The residents from our community were in their 50s and 80s. Please pray for their families and friends. The unexpected loss is heart wrenching.

"The residents from the long-term care facilities were in their 70s and 90s. Again, our thoughts and love go out to those families and friends as well this evening."

Now in Berkeley Heights:

  • 40 active cases
  • 29 of those from LTCs
  • 88 closed cases (68 recovered + 17 LTC deaths + 3 community deaths)
  • 2 new LTC deaths
  • 2 new community deaths
  • 20 total deaths
  • Total of 128 cases

On today’s state call, the Department of Health reported that they are doing unannounced visits at Long-Term Care facilities (LTCs) to check for deficiencies in operations. Those with deficiencies will be sited and follow up visits will take place. They have identified 100 LTCs that will not be able to cohort (separate the infected from the non-infected) patients. As a result, the state has identified 300 beds where infected patients can be moved while they recuperate. Additionally the state has contracted with hotels for patients and healthcare workers who are positive and cannot self-isolate.

The LTC facilities within the Township are privately owned and have no obligation to work and cooperate with our local government. So, we are fortunate that the LTCs and our Office of Emergency Management (OEM) coordinator meet/speak daily to discuss operations in accords with Commissioner Persichilli’s directives, fulfill personal protective equipment (PPE) requests, ensure that the Governor’s Executive orders are followed, and make requests to County OEM as needed.

Moreover, the public health nurse and/or public health officer also contacts the facilities and performs daily checks obtaining medical information and performing contact investigations for patients and staff.

Governor Murphy, Governor Cuomo, Governor Lamont, Governor Wolf, Governor Carney, Governor Raimondo and Governor Baker Announce Appointees to Multi-State Council to Get People Back to Work and Restore the Economy

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Delaware Governor John Carney, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today announced their appointees to the multi-state council to restore the economy and get people back to work. The appointees include one health expert, one economic development expert and the respective Chief of Staff from each state. New Jersey’s team includes:

  • George Helmy, Chief of Staff to the Governor
  • Dr. Richard Besser, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Jeh Johnson, Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama

"No one has given more thought or is more eager to restart our economy than I am, but if we don’t get the sequencing right, we put more lives at risk," said Governor Murphy. "The only path to a sustainable economic recovery is through a strong healthcare recovery. Then, and only then, do we position ourselves to fully ignite our economy and get the residents of our state back to work while minimizing the danger of this disease. A coordinated, regional approach, informed by a multi-state council of experts, will help us avoid a major setback with potentially disastrous consequences. I look forward to the day when the facts on the ground allow us to ease our restrictions and move our regional economy forward." 

Beginning Monday, April 20, NJ Transit is running special "essential service" to add capacity and improve social distancing for essential travel. Special "essential service" bus service scheduled can be found on NJ Transit’s website here. Additionally, NJ TRANSIT Senior Vice President & General Manager of Rail Operations, Raymond P. Kenny, has passed away from COVID-19-related complications. Ray has led NJ TRANSIT Rail Operation since January 2019 and will be deeply missed. Two other long-serving employees from the NJ TRANSIT family also died from COVID-19.


Over 720 companies are hiring for over 52,000 jobs during this health crisis. Click here for job listings. 


Call-in number, for Union County Residents Only for testing site appointments 908-214-7107.

April 18, 2020

From Mayor Devanney:

Our Berkeley Heights family mourns the loss of three more of our beloved long-term care facilities (LTC) residents. Of these beautiful souls, one resident was in their 60s and 2 in their 80s.

Berkeley Heights COVID-19 cases as of April 18, 2020, 1:18 PM:

  • 34 active cases, 24 of those from LTCs
  • 85 closed cases
  • 69 recovered
  • 15 LTC deaths & 1 community death
  • 3 new deaths (all LTCs)
  • 119 total cases

PLEASE continue to follow social distancing guidelines and protocols. Take good CARE of one another. Keep POLITICS out of this horrific war we are waging because we are doing it--- TOGETHER. And if you are in need (unemployment, health information, mask for those over 70, business financing, etc.), please reach out to me:

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 3,026 new cases; 81,420 total
  • NJ - 230 new deaths; 4,070 total
  • Union County - 536 new cases; 8,959 total cases
  • Union County - 22 new deaths; 356 total

The news regarding hospitalizations and critical care patients, etc. was more positive than negative today and indicate we appear to be flattening the curve.

Hospitalization information as of 04/17/20 at 10pm:

  • 7,718 people were hospitalized
  • 2,024 of those people are in critical care
  • 1,481 people on ventilators
  • 190 people hospitalized at field medical sites
  • 814 people have been discharged

Long-Term Care (LTC) Facility numbers:

  • 413 facilities in New Jersey are reporting positive cases
  • Total of 10,163 cases in LTC facilities statewide
  • 26 of the affected facilities are in Union County
  • 550 cases in Union County in LTC facilities
  • 103 LTC Facility deaths in Union County

COBOL Volunteers are needed by the state of New Jersey. Anyone interested in volunteering should do so through the following link:

Over 650 companies are hiring for over 50,000 jobs during this health crisis. Click here for job listings. 

Call in number, for Union County Residents Only for testing site appointments at Keane University COVID-19 Testing Center 908-214-7107.

A Hopeful Sign - Lines persist at COVID-19 testing sites and motorists continue to cue up in the wee hours to get tested, but there is a “glimmer of hope” as lines are shorter and private labs say there is no longer a backlog of tests waiting to be processed. In fact, they say they now have excess processing capacity, according to this NJTV News report

“There’s obviously more opportunity for folks to be tested, perhaps closer to home, at a local county site or even at their individual health care provider,” said Assistant Health Commissioner Chris Neuwirth, of the 66 sites in the state, including city, county and private facilities. 

More Test Sites Coming - Rite Aid, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced it will open a self-testing COVID-19 test site on Saturday at its Waldwick location, and will expand testing at some of its other New Jersey stores. (ROI-NJ) 

Another Month of Distance Learning - New Jersey schools will be closed through at least May 15 because of the pandemic, with the state’s 1.4 million students continuing to learn from home, Gov. Murphy announced. ( 

From the Front Lines - With weeks worth of distance learning under their belts, here are lessons learned and advice from educators and education advocates. (NJ Spotlight) 

New Grants for Small Employers - The U.S. Chamber Foundation is teaming up with a coalition of companies to provide $5,000 grants to small employers. For details, click here.

The State of N.J.’s Unemployment Insurance - N.J. Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo discussed the state unemployment insurance program and the steps being taken to process a record-number of claims. Hear him in yesterday’s N.J. Chamber of Commerce webinar produced in conjunction with Withum and ROI-NJ.

On Re-Opening the Economy - Gov. Murphy named the New Jersey representatives to participate in a seven-state council that will plan how to lift restrictions and re-open the economy. (NJBIZ) 

Rent Break - The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency has voted to suspend rent increases at properties within the agency’s portfolio, which includes 36,000 rental units.

Care Packages from Other States - California already sent 100 ventilators to New Jersey. Now New York says it is sending us 100. (


The N.J. Chamber of Commerce webinar with Al Titone, SBA district director of New Jersey provides vital information on SBA coronavirus relief loan programs. (April 14).

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Survival Guide has a complete listing of all of the coronavirus resources for small businesses.

The N.J. Economic Development Authority is offering assistance programs for New Jersey businesses. Information and applications can be found here.

The state’s jobs and hiring portal matches employers and candidates. For employers to participate, click here.

New Jersey’s website for information on all of the state’s business resources during the pandemic.

New Jersey’s website for up-to-date information about COVID-19.

To report a scammer or suspected price gouging, alert the N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs at (973) 504-6240 or at

The state set up a 24-hour hotline where health care professionals are answering questions about coronavirus. The toll-free number is 1-800-222-1222. From outside the state, call 1-800-962-1253.

April 16, 2020

Some updates from the Governor’s office:

  • Public schools will be closed at least through May 15
  • NY Governor Cuomo sent 100 ventilators from NY to NJ
  • NJ HMFA has suspended rent increases and this applies to their 46,000 properties
  • Jobless claims have dropped by one-third yet the number continues to be quite high

The Union County COVID-10 testing center at Kean University tested 717 people yesterday, 4/15/20; On the previous day, 4/14/20, 680 people were tested; there is a 58-60% positive rate among those tested at Kean, so numbers are still climbing and social distancing measures are important to maintain.

Landscapers: So far, these businesses can continue to operate. Any restrictions on business operations can only come from the Governor’s office. The mindset is that landscapers work outside and can maintain social distancing while working.

Long-term care facilities (LTCs): There is a hotline families can call to report any issues or cannot get information about their LTC loved ones;1-800-792-9770

Locally in BH: Distributing Masks to Seniors

Berkeley Heights Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a volunteer group working directly with the Township Administration to identify seniors in town who need face masks to protect themselves against COVID-19. We are encouraging any senior over the age of 70 who needs a mask to contact us at (908) 312-2066 or email How to make your own maskand a volunteer will drop off a handmade cloth washable mask through approved distribution protocols. These masks have been hand-made by town volunteers & should be WASHED before wearing; wash as frequently as needed. 

How to wear, wash & make your own face mask, from the CDC

About Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Neighbors Helping Neighbors worked with the Township to identify needs for services and to connect the group with efforts already underway. We are a central clearinghouse for information on how/where residents can get what they need - whether it be information or services - during this public health emergency. We provide:

  • Connection to services for senior citizens and veterans
  • Help to get groceries or other items from stores for those who cannot/should not leave their homes under the state’s current “stay at home” order
  • Setting up regular check-in calls with people who cannot/should not leave their homes
  • Basic information about Township services being offered
  • How residents can interact with the Township while offices are closed
  • Where to get toilet paper or paper towels (supply is for senior citizens, veterans, or laid-off service workers in Berkeley Heights only please)
    Activities for social distancing
  • How to access physical activity programs for certain gyms remotely
  • & more

Stay Safe! #InThisTogether

Will N.J. Borrow Against Future Sales Tax - Gov. Phil Murphy is pitching a borrowing plan to help make up for billions of dollars of lost revenue in the current and next budget amid the virus-induced lockdown. The New Jersey Covid-19 Emergency Bond Act, outlined in draft legislation seen by Bloomberg, would authorize the Murphy administration to issue general-obligation bonds and “emergency liquidity notes,” and apply for loans from the federal government. The borrowing would be repaid with revenue from the state sales tax, with a guarantee that the tax - currently 6.625% - would increase if needed. (Bloomberg) 

State Sales Tax Revenue May Fall - State tax collections ticked up last month even as COVID-19 infections started to spread more rapidly across New Jersey, but state Treasury officials are warning the pandemic’s full impact on the revenue stream is likely still to come. (NJ Spotlight)  

More Problems, Less Money - New York and New Jersey, with more COVID-19 cases than any other state, have received the least amount of federal health grants per diagnosed person, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis. New Jersey is receiving $898 per case, ranking it second-to-last on a per-case basis, the data show. (Bloomberg Law) 

New Grants for Small Employers - The U.S. Chamber Foundation is teaming up with a coalition of companies to establish the Save Small Business Fund, and provide $5,000 grants to help small employers get through the days and weeks ahead For more info, click here.

Record Number of State Residents Are Receiving Unemployment - Though New Jersey saw a noticeable decline in the number of new unemployment claims filed for the week ending Saturday, April 11, a record 429,388 residents are now receiving unemployment benefits, a number that is certain to rise considerably as more claims are processed, the state Labor Department reported today. Last week, 141,420 new unemployment applications were received, or about 73,000 fewer than the week before. Still, more than 718,000 workers have sought jobless benefits since mid-March, the Labor Department reported.

Home Care Needs Care - Home care agencies are struggling with the need for more protective gear, workforce shortages, unexpected costs and uncertain revenues. (NJ Spotlight) 

Home Watch - Wondering if New Jerseyans are following stay-home orders? Google reports that visits to retail, transit stations and workplaces are down by 45 percent or more. (NJ Spotlight) 

Spending Spree - You got your stimulus check. Now what? N.J. Society of CPAs has some ideas. (ROI-NJ)

N.J. Coronavirus Cases - New Jersey Residents (Source: N.J. Health Department)

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 4,391 new cases; 75,317 total
  • NJ - 362 new deaths; 3,518 total
  • Union County - 465 new cases; 7,904 total cases
  • Union County - 31 new deaths; 301 total deaths
  • Berkeley Heights - 37 active cases, 23 of those in long-term care (LTC) facilities; 76 closed cases (64 recovered + 11 LTC deaths + 1 other in community) = total of 113 cases to date. We are very sad to report another LTC death, a resident in their 80s. Please pray for their family.

April 15, 2020

COVID-19: Statement from Mayor Angie Devanney on First Non Long-Term-Care Facility Coronavirus Death  

It is again with a heavy heart that I report our first non long-term care (LTC) facilities fatality due to COVID-19. The resident, in his 60s, succumbed to this terrible virus. We are praying for the family and friends of our neighbor.

#InThisTogetherWe have lost 11 Berkeley Heights residents. Ten of those resided in a long-term care facility and 1 resident did not. This news is not easy to report as we continue to wage a war against this disease.

Please continue to take all precautions to keep yourself and your neighbors safe by social distancing, wear a mask in public, remain at least 6 feet away while exercising. Refrain from congregating in parking lots and in driveways.

Take care of one another. Stay safe and stay health. Together—we will get through this Berkeley Heights.


From the Department of Labor Commissioner:

  • There have been 560,000 unemployment claims thus far.
  • 92% of them were filed online – 50% of these have gone through with no issues and people are getting their funds within 2-3 weeks of original filing date which is the normal time frame.
  • Dept. of Labor is trying to automate as many processes a possible which should clear up about 60% of the issues the other 50% of claimants are having.
  • If someone is experiencing issues, they will receive a robocall or email when the issue is resolved through the automation processes.
  • With regards to the additional $600 in weekly Unemployment Benefits through the CARES Act: this funding took effect with the  March 28th pay period, so these benefits will lag a week or so behind other payments.
  • Those who are self-employed, contract employees, etc: they must follow the normal process to apply for unemployment and be denied in order to qualify for the CARES act funding.
  • The Dept. of Labor will also be distributing 500 laptops to their employees so they can work from home to help clear some of the backlog.
  • The DOL Commissioner stressed that people need to read all the information made available to them on the unemployment website including the FAQ sheets (links below) so that they can file accurately and their claim can be processed.
  • A link has been added online for people to be able to reset their pins and passwords which are required to file.
  • Up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits are available.
  • If someone exhausted benefits in February or March, they will be notified by DOL that they are eligible for additional time to claim unemployment. This will happen Unemployment FAQautomatically so people do not have to re-file.

Click below for:

There will be more guidance forthcoming regarding electronic bid openings. Guidance is expected tomorrow.

With regards to hospitalizations – as of 10pm yesterday, April 14:

  • 8,270 people were hospitalized
  • 1,980 of those are in critical care
  • 1,705 are on ventilators
  • 39 patients are in field hospitals
  • 709 patients have been discharged

With regards to Long Term Care Facilities

  • 358 LTC Facilities are reporting positive cases
  • 26 of these LTC Facilities are in Union County – up two from yesterday’s numbers
  • 6,815 total positive cases in LTC facilities across the state

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 2,625 new cases; 71,030 total
  • NJ - 351 new deaths; 3,156 total
  • Union County - 208 new cases; 7,438 total cases
  • Union County - 31 new deaths; 269 total deaths
  • Berkeley Heights - 55 active cases, 34 of those in long-term care facilities; 55 closed cases (45 recovered + 10 deaths) = total of 110 cases to date

Call in number for Union County Residents Only for testing site appointments 908-214-7107.

April 14, 2020

Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation (S2374), which expands protections of the Family Leave Act to allow employees forced to take time off to care for a family member during the COVID-19 outbreak with up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave in a 24-month period without losing their jobs.

Under the bill, employees will be eligible for leave to care for a family member as a result of an epidemic of a communicable disease, or efforts to prevent spread of a communicable disease. These job protections will extend to employees requiring leave to provide care or treatment for their child if the child’s school or place of care is closed in response to a public health emergency.

“New Jerseyans should not have to make a decision between caring for a loved one with COVID-19 and keeping their job,” said Governor Murphy. “Our state is already home to the nation’s most comprehensive Family Leave Act, and it’s only right that we expand these protections to meet the unprecedented health crisis we are facing.”

Meanwhile, State Senators Cryan, Scutari and Kean updated mayors on the legislative session Monday:

  • Senator Joe Cryan informed every one of the bills passed in both houses that will be signed by the Governor.
  • An Emergency Rental Assistance Bill was passed allowing for up to $1500 in rental assistance to be disbursed.
  • There was an expansion of the Work First Program.
  • Ratified State Tax filing deadline that was extended until July 15th
  • Ratified allowing for forbearance of rent and mortgages for 3 months.
  • Ratified moving Primary Elections to July 7th
  • Delay on mandatory retirement age which assists governmental units fearful of losing public safety workers due to mandatory retirement age.
  • 180-day school year will be covered by virtual learning.
  • Civil immunity for health professionals so that they can assist during this COVID-19 crisis.
  • students in health fields can assist
  • retired professionals can come out of retirement
  • those with unrelated specialties can also assist
  • *** these individuals are protected should a mistake occur
  • There will be NO property tax extensions – the May 1st deadline remains the same.

Senator Nick Scutari clarified and added to the passed legislation list:

  • The civil immunity for health professionals applied only for THIS emergency as related to COVID-19 and not applicable during other emergency declarations.
  • There was also a prohibition on non-renewal of insurance, also only specifically applicable during this COVID-19 emergency.
  • Remote Notaries will be allowed for certain documentation with video and electronic assistance to ensure verification of those persons seeking notary services.
  • A bill was also passed permitting professional licensing boards to renew licenses – mostly applies to doctors and nurses.
  • A bill allowing permit extensions to run through the duration of the COVID-19 emergency plus 6 months.
  • There was also a bill passed stating that hospitals are to report COVID-19 data for future analysis.


  • NJ Department of Labor will give guidance on Wednesday’s call. 
  • Long-term care facility numbers - there are 24 facilities in Union County with positive cases.

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 4,059 new cases; 68,824 total
  • NJ - 365 new deaths; 2,808 total
  • Union County - 633 new cases; 7,265 total cases
  • Union County - 21 new deaths; 238 total deaths
  • Berkeley Heights - 55 active cases, 34 of those in long-term care facilities; 55 closed cases (45 recovered + 10 deaths) = total of 110 cases to date

COBOL Volunteers are needed by the state of New Jersey. Anyone interested in volunteering should do so through the following link:

Over 650 companies are hiring for over 50,000 jobs during this health crisis. Click here for job listings. 

Call in number for Union County Residents Only for testing site appointments at Kean University: 908-214-7107.

April 13, 2020

Due to the current weather and pending forecast, the Union County COVID-19 Drive-Through Center will be closed today, Monday, April 13th. Please note the center will re-open Tuesday, April 14th at 9 a.m. All appointments scheduled for Monday will be honored on Tuesday. Also note that due to the high volume anticipated on Tuesday, no unscheduled drive-ups will be accepted. Union County residents with COVID-19 symptoms who wish to be tested should call 908-214-7107. First responders and front-line health workers may also call 908-373-5105.

  • Governor Murphy will announce today that he is working in conjunction with governors from neighboring states to come up with a regionalized plan for re-opening when the time comes.
  • The Governor will sign an executive order today mandating that phone and internet service providers cannot disconnect service for lack of payment. This order will be in effect until 30 days after the emergency crisis is over; also connection speed and quality of service cannot be downgraded during this time. If any phone or internet service was disconnected after March 16th for non-payment, it must be turned back on.
  • New Jersey has received 100,000 masks from Taiwan and we are expecting another 200,000 additional masks.

Union County COVID-19 Testing CenterNew Rules for Restaurants - Customers entering New Jersey restaurants and bars for takeout will be required to wear face coverings, according to an order by Governor Murphy. Face coverings also must be worn by workers. The order goes into effect today at 8 p.m.  According to the order, restaurants and bars must also:

  • limit occupancy at 10% of the stated maximum capacity, wherever feasible, at one time;
  • ensure six feet of distance between workers and customers, except at the moment of payment;
  • arrange for contactless pay, pickup, and/or delivery options wherever feasible;
  • require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like credit card machines, keypads, and counters;
  • place signage at entrances and throughout the business alerting staff and customers to the required six feet of physical distance.

To see more information on the order, click here

New Business Loans Available Today - The N.J. Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) begins accepting applications for its Small Business Emergency Assistance Loans today. The $10 million program will provide working capital loans of up to $100,000 to small and mid-size businesses. The application is posted here.

New Rules for Mass Transit - Operators of buses and trains must require employees and passengers to wear face coverings and “may” limit trains and buses to 50 percent capacity, according to an order by Gov. Murphy. The order goes into effect today at 8 p.m. To see more information on the order, click here

Cash Flow - Americans are starting to see the first wave of payments from the federal coronavirus stimulus package, the IRS said in a tweet on Saturday. (

Webinar Rescheduled for Tuesday, April 14 at 11 a.m. - Join a discussion with Al Titone, SBA District Director of New Jersey. Get the latest information about the Small Business Administration’s Coronavirus Relief Loan Programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program. For more information and to register, click here.

Coronavirus Small Business Survival Guide - The coronavirus is causing financial difficulties for businesses everywhere. Here is a complete listing of all of the coronavirus resources for small businesses. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Testing - Gov. Murphy announced the acquisition of 15 rapid, COVID-19 testing machines from the federal government to expand testing in New Jersey. The portable machines will be dispersed to health care systems throughout the state to test for COVID-19 and get results in "approximately 5 to 13 minutes."

Going to the Food Market - Safe shopping tips from the New Jersey Food Council.

Food Banks Need Help - Food banks and pantries are hit by reduced donations, higher prices and fewer volunteers as demand surges. (NJ Spotlight)

How You Can Help - You’re not a doctor. But here’s how you can help save lives. (

Hotels for First Responders - Feds are allowing New Jersey to use hotels for first responders and others who may have been exposed to coronavirus. (

College Dorms are in Use, Too - New Jersey dormitories are housing medical personnel. (NJBIZ)

By the Numbers:

Information from the State regarding hospitalizations statewide – as of 10 pm yesterday, April 12:

  • 7,604 people were hospitalized
  • 1,914 of those were in critical condition
  • 1,644 of those were on ventilators
  • 658 people had been discharged
  • The State of New Jersey has received an additional 200 ventilators from the federal government, bringing the total to 1,550.


  • NJ - 2,734 new cases; 64,584 total
  • NJ - 94 new deaths; 2,443 total
  • Union County - 457 new cases; 6,636 total cases
  • Union County - 9 new deaths; 217 total deaths
  • Berkeley Heights - 53 active cases, 33 of those in long-term care facilities; 50 closed cases (those recovered + 10 deaths) = total of 103 cases to date

Click here for a Fact Sheet and Resources for Individuals Who Are Undocumented or Uninsured                                              

April 10, 2020

There have been about 100,478 coronavirus tests performed on New Jersey residents, of which 51,027 have tested positive, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. This brings the positivity rate to 51 percent. Models indicate "peak can occur in two to three days and could result in 14,400 hospitalizations and 2,880 critical care cases,” said state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “We look at this every day and it changes every day.” Call-in number for Union County Residents Only for testing site appointments 908-214-7107.

Over 650 companies are hiring for over 50,000 jobs during this health crisis. Click here for job listings.

New Business Loans to Become Available this Monday - The N.J. Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) will begin accepting applications for its Small Business Emergency Assistance Loans this Monday, April 13. The $10 million program will provide working capital loans of up to $100,000 to small and mid-size businesses. The application is posted here. For more information on the loans, click here.

Demand for Government Aid is High - 32,000 small businesses applied for NJEDA’s grants this week. Only 1,250 to 2,000 grants will be awarded. (

Insurers Can’t Terminate Coverage - Gov. Phil Murphy ordered certain insurance companies to extend grace periods for customers. A minimum 60-day grace period will be required for health and dental insurance policies, and a minimum 90-day grace period will be required for life insurance and property insurance. For details, click here.

Unemployment Is Soaring - New Jersey workers struggling to file for unemployment won’t lose ‘one penny,’ Gov. Murphy said. (

State Budget - Delayed tax-filing deadline for New Jersey is about to become law as state budget is getting ‘crushed.’ (NJ Spotlight)

Webinar Rescheduled for Tuesday, April 14 at 11 a.m. - Join a discussion with Al Titone, SBA District Director of New Jersey. Get the latest information about the Small Business Administration’s Coronavirus Relief Loan Programs, including Paycheck Protection Program loans. For more information and to register, click here.

Long-Term Care is Hurting - More than 3,380 long-term care facility residents have tested positive for coronavirus, the state says. (

Veterans Homes Are Also Struggling - New Jersey’s three veterans homes have 58 residents with coronavirus, 14 deaths. Combat medics are sent to help. (

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce put out guides to help understand the federal relief offerings for business:

The Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
The Employee Retention Tax Credit
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The U.S. Department of Treasury updated its ’Frequently Asked Questions’ on Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Other federal relief programs to help small businesses include SBA Debt Relief and SBA Express Bridge Loans.

The N.J. Economic Development Authority has introduced grants, loans and other relief offerings for New Jersey businesses. Information and applications can be found here.

The state set up a 24-hour hotline where health care professionals are answering questions about coronavirus. The toll-free number is 1-800-222-1222. From outside the state, call 1-800-962-1253.

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 3,627 new cases; 54,588 total
  • NJ - 233 new deaths; 1,932 total
  • Union County - 375 new cases; 5,575 total cases
  • Union County - 16 new deaths; 161 total deaths
  • Berkeley Heights - 37 active cases, 21 of those in long-term care facilities; 47 closed cases (those recovered + the 8 deaths)

April 9, 2020

See the NJ Workers FAQ Sheet, which includes information that indicates that individuals who are self-employed (even those paid by 1099) or are contract works may beNJ Workers Unemploymenteligible for unemployment.

  • Update on unemployment benefits:
    • 214,000 new unemployment filings
    • No one will be denied benefits
    • State is suggesting people try to access the system in the every early morning or late evenings when there is less traffic on the site.
    • State is looking for volunteers to help with COBOL, the software used to power many systems; link for those interested is in the recap.
    • A new executive order will be issued today providing for a 60-day extension on health and dental insurance payments as well as a 90 day extension on home and car insurance payments.
    • If a claim is submitted within the grace period it must be honored.
    • Insurance carriers may not request a balloon payment at the end of the grace period but rather they must spread these payments over the remainder of the policy term.
  • Governor Phil Murphy also issued an executive order regarding the weight limit of vehicles that transport supplies being increased by 15%. 

Locally, Berkeley Heights residents: Please do NOT put rubber gloves or face masks in your recycling!!! They are garbage. A note from our recycling vendor below.... thank you!

To All of the Townships we service in Union and Essex County:

We are receiving a high amount of latex gloves and masks in the recycling loads this week at our processing facility.

We are asking if you can please put an alert out to all residents that these items are NOT considered household recycling and should be properly disposed as trash.

The health and safety of our employees is our number one priority. We need to make sure we can keep our crews healthy to continue our essential services.

Thank you for your kind understanding. Please be safe.
Tiffanie Nyzio

Giordano Companies

By the Numbers

  • NJ - 3,748 new cases; 51,027 total
  • NJ - 198 new deaths; 1,700 total
  • Union County - 360 new cases; 5,203 total cases
  • Union County - 20 new deaths; 145 total deaths

April 8, 2020

There have been four additional deaths at one of Berkeley Heights’ long-term care facilities, bringing the total number of those who have perished from COVID-19 to 8; all  #InThisTogether8 were residents of such a facility.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of these additional deaths,” Mayor Devanney said. “We know the elderly and those with preexisting conditions such as lung disease or diabetes are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its complications, but that doesn’t make this news any easier to hear. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Below are the latest numbers, as of Thursday April 8, for new cases and deaths across the state:

  • NJ - 47,437 total; 3,088 new cases 
  • NJ - 275 new deaths; 1,504 total
  • Union County - 410 new cases; 4,831 total cases
  • Union County - 30 new deaths; 125 total deaths
  • Berkeley Heights 
    • 40 active cases; 14 of them are in our long-term care facilities
    • 31 of our cases are considered “closed,” (recovered + 8 deaths)
    • 71 total cases

Also as a reminder, as of Tuesday night (April 7), all State and County parks are closed per Governor Murphy’s Executive Order to further social distancing efforts. Under Executive Order No. 108 (2020), municipalities still have the authority to keep municipal parks open or closed.

“We want Berkeley Heights residents to be outside and exercise, get the kids - and themselves - out into the fresh air during the Governor’s stay-at-home order,” Mayor Devanney said. “But they need to follow the social distancing rules whenever they are outside in public areas.”

Meanwhile, Murphy signed Executive Order No. 119, which extends the Public Health Emergency declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order No. 103. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed.

Effective Friday, April 10, several more of the Governor’s Executive orders will take effect. They are: 

  • Closure of Non-Essential Construction
    All non-essential construction across the state will cease, indefinitely, effective 8 p.m. Friday. Exceptions to this shut-down include: projects at our hospitals and schools, in our transportation and utility sector, the building of affordable housing, other individual housing sites that can adhere to strict limits on the number of workers on-site at any given time, emergency repairs, and work needed to safely secure a construction site, and other limited instances.
  • New Guidelines for Essential Retail Stores
    • All essential retail must indefinitely limit the number of customers in their stores to 50 percent of their approved capacity.
    • Customers and employees must wear face coverings.
    • Stores must provide special shopping hours for high-risk individuals, erect physical barriers between customers and cashiers and baggers where practicable, and regularly sanitize areas used by their employees.
  • New Guidelines for Warehouses and Manufacturing Facilities
    The order will also put greater protections in place for the workers at our warehouses, and in manufacturing. No one should be working where social distancing isn’t being practiced to its fullest extent.

On the daily call today with Union County mayors and Business Administrators, Alan Lieber, President of Overlook Hospital and Vice-President of Atlantic Healthcare, Overlook Medical Centergave an update of things as they currently stand at Overlook Hospital:

  • They have thus far discharged 223 patients and there is an approximately 4:1 ratio of live discharges vs. expirations.
  • As of 6:30am today, there were 283 patients that are either COVID-19 positive or in rule out
  • 68 patients in ICU; 192 on regular floors; 23 in the ER.
  • The increase in admissions is only 3 in the last day.
  • Admissions seem to be leveling out however it is important to note that long-term care facilities have not been sending many patients to the hospital; if there was to be an outbreak in a long-term care facility these admission numbers would shift drastically.
  • Overlook has gone from 40 critical care beds to 92.
  • They are using a team-based care method and as of now, morale is high.
  • As far as PPE:
    • The community has been extremely generous.
    • They are recycling N95 masks using UV light per CDC guidance.
    • As far as ventilators, about a week and a half ago the hospital was getting tight on ventilators but since then, they’ve received supplies from the State of New Jersey as well as from around the country and are now in good shape with ventilators.
  • They have gotten creative around IV pumps and monitors as well as other necessary supplies associated with having 92 critical care beds.
  • There are testing tents in the ER parking lot to avoid exposing non-COVID patients in the ER to those who are looking to get tested.
  • Union County has done a great job with the testing center at Kean University and Atlantic Health practices have been sending patients to the site to get tested.
  • Testing turnaround time has been an issue as the State facilities were taking anywhere from 72-96 hours; they recently begun using Bioreference and its largely been a 24 hour turnaround time; turnaround time is pivotal as those patients who are waiting to be ruled out have to be treated as though they are positives and that eats away resources; expecting to have technology for better turnaround this week.

Regarding the County testing center at Kean:

  • Yesterday 564 people were tested and in 2.5 weeks of operation approximately 4,000 people have been tested.
  • As a comparison, Essex County is testing approximately 300 people per day 3 days a week.
  • Colonels from the National Guard were recently at the testing center and stated that the Union County Testing Center is a model for the State.

In other news:

  • The June 7th primary has been moved to July 7th
  •  Governor Murphy asks people that during these holidays not to visit family that you don’t normally live with.
  • COBOL Volunteers are needed by the state of New Jersey. Anyone interested in volunteering should do so through the following link:
  • Over 540 companies are hiring for over 49,000 jobs during this health crisis. Click here for job listings.

April 6, 2020

Some Berkeley Heights residents - along with others throughout the state - have been inquiring about property tax payments and whether they would still be due May 1. The New Jersey State Assembly passed legislation on the matter but questions exist regarding the impact of some of what is included in that bill. It requires further examination and amendment as it heads to the Senate, so the potential tax revenue shortfall is not shifted to other governmental entities. The state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is leaning toward extending tax grace periods but not changing payment dates given that 70-80% of tax payments are made by mortgage companies. Pushing back payment dates will just push the problems on to County governments and Boards of Education. There will be a vote on this in the Senate likely on April 13. 

  • On the holidays coming up (Passover/Easter/etc.), there is talk of people driving to their houses of worship and having services over radio. This is being strongly discouraged as vehicular gatherings are not in line with social distancing guidelines. Guidance is forthcoming regarding vehicular gatherings.
  • Monday was a very busy at the Union County COVID-19 Testing Center at Kean University; the 419 new cases in the County speaks to the increased number of people seeking tests; the numbers are daunting, but expected.
  • Regarding the White House’s recommended guidance on wearing masks: Some officials in cities in NJ have stated that masks MUST be worn in public. A mandate to wear masks can only come from the Governor; as of now – this is a recommendation and not a mandate.

Livestream Business Forum

By the Numbers

Update on number of COVID-19 cases:

  • NJ - 41,090 total; 3,663 new cases 
  • NJ - 86 new deaths; 1,003 total
  • Union County - 419 new cases; 3,685 total cases
  • Union County - 7 new deaths; 78 total deaths 

April 5, 2020

The next two weeks will be crucial in the United States’ fight against the Coronavirus, warn health officials; this week in particular is expected to be worse. All Americans are urged to continue practicing social-distancing measures. Reminder: EVERYONE is encouraged to wear a face covering when in public, particularly in places such as grocery stores where it is harder to practice good social distancing. 


  • New Jersey has received an additional 500 ventilators but Governor Murphy says "it won’t be enough." "We’re going to have, I think, not just a tough week ahead, but I think a tough several weeks ahead," Murphy told CNN. "Whether it’s ventilators, personal protective equipment, beds, health care workers -- those will all be constraints as we go through the next few weeks." 
  • The New Jersey COVID-19 dashboard - updated in real time - can be viewed here.
  • Did you lose your job or have your hours reduced as a result of COVID-19? Businesses across New Jersey need thousands of workers for immediate hire. Learn more about who is hiring in your community at the Jobs Portal here. Employers in critical industries should submit information about openings with urgent hiring needs related to COVID19 at

By the Numbers

Update on number of COVID-19 cases:

  • NJ - 37,505 total; 3,482 new cases 
  • 71 new deaths; 917 total
  • Union County - 243 new cases; 3,216 total cases
  • Union County - 5 new deaths in Union County; 71 total deaths

April 4, 2020

The federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing Make your own maskmeasures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

However, it is critical for residents to understand that maintaining 6-feet social distancing and frequent hand washing remain the key factors in slowing the spread of the virus. 

The cloth face coverings recommended by the CDC are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. Watch the U.S. Surgeon General demonstrate how to make your own face covering in the video below:

In other COVID-19 updates today:

  • Over 540 companies are hiring for over 46,000 jobs during this health crisis. Click here for job listings. 
  • Community Food Bank of New Jersey is in need of volunteers to help pack emergency food boxes for food insecure families and individuals. Location: 31 Evans Terminal  *  Hillside, NJ 07205   *    908-355-3663
  • Regarding June Elections – timing is still uncertain but Governor Murphy will make a decision soon and commented yesterday that he would be surprised if elections were to still take place in June.
  • Morgues are having issues with capacity and we are very close to regional, portable morgues being necessary.
  • Status of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Union County:
    • The County received a shipment of N95 masks and distributed a small amount to the municipalities as needed. Local OEM coordinators were also provided with vendor information for procurement of N95 masks and other PPE. There’s possibly 40,000 masks available.
    • The County OEM coordinator will reach out to individual municipal OEM coordinators to get an update on their individual resource requests early next week.  Municipalities are encouraged to purchase their own PPE as is the normal practice.
    • County is running low on surgical masks (used  for patients when first responders answer calls) and on gowns. The County is looking to source those.
    • Information forthcoming on whether retirees can be brought back into the workforce without affecting their pensions.
    • There will also be guidance and information regarding state parks coming next week.
    • CDBG additional funding awarded through the stimulus package have been announced. Union County will be getting approximately $2.8 million. Guidance is still forthcoming from HUD as to how those funds can be spent.

By the Numbers

Update on number of COVID-19 cases:

  • NJ - 34,124 total; 4,341 new cases 
  • 200 new deaths; 846 total
  • Union County - 287 new cases; 2,916 total cases
  • Union County - 21 new deaths in Union County; 66 total deaths
  • Berkeley Heights - 39 cases; 12 of them in long-term care facilities; 15 recovered; 4 total deaths (all in long-term care facility)

April 3, 2020

Berkeley Heights sadly has experienced 4 COVID-19-related deaths at one of the Township’s long-term care facilities. The residents, all in their 80s, lost their battle with the #InThisTogethervirus in the last 24 hours.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I report the loss of these four residents,” said Mayor Angie Devanney. “I know that every single one of us here in Berkeley Heights is broken hearted and mourns this loss today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to friends and family of those who passed away last night and this morning.”

There are now about 47 positive cases of COVID-19 in Berkeley Heights; 38 are actively being investigated by our Health Officer, Annie McNair; 8 of those are in our long-term care facilities. A total of 9 have recovered so far and those cases are considered “closed”; only two of the 45 positive cases were ever hospitalized before they recovered. Union County, as of Friday, had 251 new cases, 45 deaths and a total of 2,487 COVID-19 cases.

“Our Township, County and State continue to urge all residents to continue to follow Governor Murphy’s stay-at-home directive, and to continue strict social distancing, as well as frequent and effective hand washing,” Mayor Devanney said.

The Mayor also encourages all residents to wear homemade masks or bandanas when entering public spaces out of an abundance of caution. “We need residents of all ages to take this seriously,” she continued.

April 2, 2020testing center

The Union County COVID-19 testing center at Kean University administered more than 400 tests on Wednesday, making it the busiest day so far. Walk-ups are not allowed; that’s because up until the last and final step, which is the administration of the test, those being tested are in their cars with their windows rolled up so they do not pose an infection risk to anyone but the medical professionals in personal protective equipment (PPE). There is not enough PPE to protect all the volunteers working at the site and as such, walk-up patients would expose those not wearing protective equipment. 

The County has opened up a second phone line for UC residents only; on Wednesday, that one line received 25,000 phone calls. That number is 908-214-7107.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the coronavirus response for the federal government, on Thursday night emphasized that social distancing and hand washing - not masks - was still the most important step Americans could take to slow the spread of the virus.

“The most important thing is social distancing and washing your hands,” Birx said. People should not feel as if you are protected just because they are wearing a mask. “Don’t get a false sense of security that that mask is protecting you exclusively from getting infected.”

“We’re trying to send a signal that every single person in this country needs to stay 6 feet away from every body," she continued. Donning a mask is an additional measure, she stressed, “this is not a substitute for the presidential guidelines that have already gone out."

Birx also said that data is showing that not enough people are adhering to the social distancing rules. 

"I can tell by the curve that not everybody” is heeding advice, she said. “We can bend that curve but it means everybody has to take that same responsibility in America.”


  • There has been some clarification regarding car washes – self-serve car washes can remain open but no hand car washing or any car wash that has people drying cars or cleaning interiors of cars is allowed.
  • Gov. Phil Murphy announced there are 3 pop-up field hospitals planned: one at the Meadowlands, one in Raritan and one at the Convention Center in Atlantic City; there is talk of a possible 4th site; these sites would house 100-200 beds each.
  • NJ American Water has suspended: all non-emergency in-home field appointments, billing-related service shutoffs, late fee, and for customers who were previously shutoff for non-payment, they have reinstated water service. More here.
  • JCP&L has discontinued power shutoffs for those who are past due on their electric bills; and created various billing packages for those customers having a hard time paying. Customers can continue to make payments by mail, phone (800) 662-3115, or through JCP&L’s website. More here.

By the Numbers

Update on number of COVID-19 cases:

  • NJ - 25,590 total; 3,489 new cases 
  • 182 new deaths; 537 total
  • Union County - 152 new cases; 2,010 total cases
  • Union County - 5 new deaths in Union County; 34 total deaths
  • Berkeley Heights - 41 total cases; 32 active, 4 new and 9 have recovered
  • 1,718 Unknowns

*reporting lag is the reason given by the Governor’s Office for the big jump in this number overnight.

Click here for all official COVID-19 information from the State of New Jersey:

COVID-19 cases by county

Reminder that  Apple and CDC, together with the White House and FEMA, launched a new website and app with a COVID-19 screening tool and resources to help people protect their health. Click here for more info.

And the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad reminds everyone that if you do not require life-saving care, please take yourself to the hospital if needed, and do not call 911. We don’t want to unnecessarily put our first responders at risk or take an ambulance out of service that could be used for other medical emrgencies uch as heart attacks, strokes, allergic reactions, and traumatic falls. Please follow these guidelines before calling 911 or seeking medical advice.

April 1, 2020

  • The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) pushed up the beginning of trout season to start today as opposed to April 11. The state is aware of the Fishing 6 Feetconcerns that this action may cause given that they are discouraging people from congregating in parks; there have been over 450 signs placed in county parks, signage may also be placed by the ponds.
  • There is a second phone line for the Union County COVID-19 test center at Kean University. The number 908-214-7107 is open to Union County Residents ONLY. The original telehealth line (908-373-5105) received 21,000 calls from 8am-8pm yesterday and the lot today is currently filled with appointments for those wishing to get tested.
  • The New Jersey Economic Development Authority grant application will be released this Friday at 9 a.m.; applications will close April 10 at 9 a.m. There is a limited amount of funding to meet the need. A link to the application will be available here. Businesses can now access the full Notice of Funding Availability.
  • NJ State tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15th to be in line with the new federal tax filing deadline.
  • The state is changing the fiscal year end to September 30th. Guidance is forthcoming on what impact this may have on counties and municipalities.
  • There has been an extension on Financial Disclosure Statements – deadlines will not be enforced for 6 months.

By the Numbers

Update on number of COVID-19 cases:

  • NJ - 22,255 total; 3,649 new cases 
  • 91 new deaths; 355 total
  • Union County - 138 new cases; 1,661 total cases
  • Union County - 5 new deaths in Union County; 29 total deaths
  • Berkeley Heights - 41 total cases; 32 active, 4 new and 9 have recovered

NEW CASES: 1,718  Unknowns 

Click here for the COVID-19 Economic Relief Package one-pager from NJEDA

Click here for all of the March 2020 updates

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