As of today, there are 131,890 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, and a total of 8,549 COVID-related deaths. In Hunterdon County, there are 682 cases with 39 deaths. For a more detailed breakdown of statewide numbers, please refer to www.covid19.nj.gov.
High Bridge has 18 cases. The County website, which includes COVID-19 data by municipality, now includes the number of deaths by municipality, and I remain pleased to report that there have been no COVID-related deaths in the Borough as of this writing. The County dashboard can be found at www.co.hunterdon.nj.us
Most people know by now that schools will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Spring sports will also not resume for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year after the Governor received guidance from the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Governor Murphy today announced the extension of the public health emergency for an additional 30 days through early June at least. In the absence of a vaccine our best defense against the spread of this virus continues to be through social distancing.
We are in the midst of a commemorative week for a few professions, and I’d like to recognize National Nurses Week, Teacher Appreciation Week, and International Firefighters Day. Thank you to ALL the nurses, teachers, and firefighters, in High Bridge and beyond, who serve such critical roles every day, and now more than ever. You are all heroes.
I would like to extend thanks to everyone in our community for the cooperation that you brought to the parks and trails this weekend. While the Commons Lot was packed, largely because of the 50% restriction placed on parking in these and other Borough park areas, our police department reports that there were no major issues. We all got to enjoy the beautiful weather and I am grateful most did their part to maintain safe social distancing. A reminder that in all open spaces within the Borough, no gatherings or picnics are allowed, and only passive recreation, i.e. walking, running, cycling, is permitted. Please also remember to discard masks and gloves appropriately when out in public.
Weather permitting, DPW will be opening the Commons Natural Recycling Center for community brush drop-off beginning Saturday, May 16th, 9a-1p. We ask that residents wishing to utilize this service be prepared to show ID and to unload their own vehicles so we can adhere to social distancing guidelines and keep the employees safe.
Last week Council unanimously approved extending the grace period for second quarter property taxes to June 1st. Please note, payments received after June 1 will accrue interest from the original due date of May 1st. The Homestead Benefit credits normally seen as an adjustment on the May installment, have been delayed by the State of NJ until a later date. The Property Tax Reimbursement/Senior Freeze is still available and you can visit the Borough website to complete an application.
On a sad note, due to the current restrictions on gatherings, staffing concerns, and the likelihood that social distancing guidelines will be in place for some time, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the summer rec program. I am aware this will be terribly disappointing for our Borough kids and it saddens me to be the bearer of this news. Our Recreation Director is in the process of creating some ideas for a virtual program and more information will be forthcoming.
Finally, I would like to once again extend my sincerest thanks to our Borough Staff, DPW, 1st responders, and YOU for the cooperation, resilience, and overall neighborliness I have witnessed during this challenging time. It takes a village and we have a great one!