OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, MAYOR BHALLA ANNOUNCE CLOSURE OF HOBOKEN PARKS TO PREVENT SPREAD OF COVID-19
The Office of Emergency Management and Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla announced today a two-week closure of all Hoboken parks in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, beginning on Monday at 8:00 am. This includes all Hoboken and County parks, and all dog parks.
Below is a statement from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla on these new regulations:
Today, the Office of Emergency Management and my office are announcing the difficult decision to temporarily close all Hoboken parks for a two-week period. As COVID-19 cases in Hoboken and across the region increase, and as we anticipate to reach our apex in the next several weeks, we need to ask again the following question – have we done everything we can to prevent the further spread of COVID-19? While it may not be popular and will cause further disruptions to our daily lives, closing our parks is necessary to contain the spread of this deadly virus and can literally save the lives of Hoboken residents.
Over the past week, we have seen improvements throughout Hoboken and also in our parks with more residents participating in social distancing. It has made a positive difference, and I thank many residents for doing so. At the same time, we’ve still seen congregating in our public green spaces, including at our waterfront parks, despite our best efforts to dissuade people from doing so. Even though the majority of people are behaving responsibly, those that still congregate put not just themselves at risk, but also everyone in our community. With warmer weather anticipated during the month of April, it’s safe to say even more people would soon be populating our parks in the weeks ahead, and the risk of further spread of the virus will grow unless we take proactive measures to contain this pandemic.
Since the beginning of this crisis, we’ve been guided by the opinions and recommendations of medical professionals, and this decision is no different. Last night, I spoke to Dr. Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, and he strongly believed closing parks would help contain the spread of the virus in Hoboken and help save lives. While I know there have been a variety of opinions from residents on this topic, at the end of the day, ultimately relying on the sound advice of medical experts was paramount in making this decision.
It’s not lost on me the further disruption to our daily lives this will have. Just last week, I was in Columbus Park playing catch with my eight-year old son, Shabegh. I know he won’t be happy, and I’ll do my best to explain the decision to him and his friends. Ultimately, this is a sacrifice we need to make as a community now, in order to protect our residents and most vulnerable populations. I know this is difficult, especially for those with children in a full household. I completely understand and sympathize. But know that when this is all over, this small sacrifice could very well have saved the lives of your own children, parents, grandparents, or neighbor with a pre-existing condition.
While this decision was not easy, I hope residents understand that it is my responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of our community, and that above all else guides our actions as a City.
Thank you to residents for your continued cooperation and understanding. As I’ve said before, we’ll get through this, together as one community.
Ravi S. Bhalla
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