FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders held a press conference on Friday, March 20 to announce the signing of a Monmouth County Emergency Declaration.
“Our top priority remains to be the safety of our residents and our employees during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone. “We feel that a Monmouth County Declaration of Emergency is the best way for us to ensure that we are able to take swift action to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of the residents of Monmouth County.”
The Monmouth County Emergency Declaration gives the County the ability to restrict access to County facilities, activate and staff the County Emergency Operations Center and utilize County employees where needed, including assignments outside of their normal work locations.
“It is challenging to work under these circumstances, but this emergency declaration reinforces the fact that every effort is being made to protect essential personnel and residents of Monmouth County in the safest possible manner,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “I commend the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders for working closely with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Office of Emergency Management in issuing this important declaration.”
All public access restrictions to County buildings and programs will be extended through Friday, April 3rd. This includes all Monmouth County Library branches and the Monmouth County Park System buildings.
The Monmouth County Division of Social Services will continue to accept clients in the reception area where precautions have been put into place to ensure that there is no physical contact between Monmouth County employees and the residents seeking services.
Alternative work plans are being put into place for Monmouth County employees and they will still be available to residents by phone and by email.
“We know that this pandemic is not only affecting our workforce, I have spoken to many business owners throughout the County and I want every small business owner to know that we stand in support and want to help you in any way that we can,” said Freeholder Director Arnone. “One way I am trying to help the business community is by joining Middletown Mayor Tony Perry in the ‘Takeout Thursday’ initiative.”
“This initiative encourages everyone to order takeout or buy a gift card from a local restaurant or business every Thursday and then use the hashtag #TakeoutThursday to promote these businesses online,” added Freeholder Director Arnone. “I hope you will all join me in helping our friends and neighbors who are trying to operate in alternative ways during this challenging time.”
The Health Department has established a COVID-19 hotline to answer general questions. The number is 732-845-2070 and it is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“If you or anyone you know are having feelings of anxiety or stress because of COVID-19, call the Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline, which also has crisis counselors available,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley, liaison to the Departments of Health and Human Services. “The coronavirus epidemic can make many of our residents feel overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. Make sure to take breaks from social media and the news. Take care of your body by taking deep breaths and try to mediate, get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, exercise and avoid alcohol and other drugs. Find activities that you enjoy, or talk to people who you trust about your concerns.”
For more information and updates from Monmouth County, go to www.visitmonmouth.com.