Below is an update from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla for Hoboken residents:
I’d like to first start out by thanking some of the unsung heroes of our response to COVID-19, and that’s our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Since last Saturday, their members have been at the front lines answering hundreds of calls received on our COVID-19 hotlines. They aren’t just answering questions and giving information – they’re providing calm, measured reassurance to residents that we’ll get through this together. And they’re providing critical resources to our senior populations who call up the senior hotline, many of whom may not have anyone else to turn to. Thank you to each and every member of the CERT team for volunteering your time for our City.
Four new confirmed COVID-19 cases
We received notification from the Hoboken Health Department that there are four new confirmed COVID-19 cases: one male in his mid 20s, one male in his late 20s, one male in his early 30s, and one female in her early 30s. As always, our Health Department is conducting an investigation to ensure anyone in contact with them begins a period of self-quarantine. Hoboken now has 29 total confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Please stay at home in self-isolation!
I know I can sound like a broken record, but I’m urgently asking everyone in the strongest terms, to stay home and self-isolate much as possible. The best and only way we’ll flatten the curve is if we only leave home for essential needs, plain and simple. Please limit all outdoor activities, especially jogging, to a minimum and observe social distancing (minimum six feet) at all times.
Help Main Street
Residents have often asked what they can do to help our small businesses. I’m very glad to share that the City has partnered with an organization called “Help Main Street” to provide a central resource for locating gift cards for Hoboken businesses.
By visiting http://www.helpmainstreet.com and plugging in Hoboken’s zip code, you can find over 75 local small businesses that offer online gift cards in one location. Purchasing online gift cards is an immediate way for residents to provide financial assistance to our struggling businesses while also practicing social distancing. I want to express my sincere gratitude to the team at Help Main Street, including Nihal Meta for proactively reaching out to my office with the offer to provide this resource for Hoboken businesses. Thank you also to Councilwoman Emily Jabbour for helping compile the comprehensive database and reaching out to include a number of Hoboken businesses listed on the website. There is no service fee charged to residents for utilizing the website and purchasing a gift card.
“I am so grateful to the amazing people at HelpMainStreet.com who reached out to the City of Hoboken and offered to work with us to add Hoboken businesses to their website,” said Councilwoman Jabbour. “This site is a fantastic resource for residents who want to help our small businesses through this crisis. Our small businesses are the fabric of the community – they aren’t just shops and restaurants – the people who operate our small businesses are our friends and neighbors, the eyes and ears of our neighborhoods. I am grateful to be part of this work.”
Donations for those in need
Thanks to the hard work from our CERT Team, City Councilmembers Ruben Ramos, Tiffanie Fisher and Vanessa Falco, the Hoboken Community Center, Hoboken Food Pantry, and the Office of Emergency Management, we are now collecting and distributing food for those who may have fallen on difficult times. Donations for this effort can be made at http://hobokencc.org/donate, and food donations can be made through an Amazon wish-list by visiting http://hobokencc.org/wishlist. The effects of the spread of COVID-19 are hitting some members of our community harder than others. If you can afford to help provide a helping hand to those in need, I respectfully ask that you please do so.
“We know that many families and individuals are struggling right now,” said Councilmembers Ramos, Fisher and Falco. “Our goal is to work and come together as a community to help provide whatever relief we can during this difficult time.”
Short-term rental order
After hearing feedback from residents, we are amending our short-term rental order to prevent anyone from outside Hoboken purchasing a short-term rental for pleasure. Some Hoboken residents have taken the responsible step to obtain a short-term rental in order to self-isolate from elderly family members, for example, which is appreciated and permitted. If you believe you require an exemption for any reason, please email Sgt. Montanez, the head of our Office of Emergency Management at Montanezw@hobokenpd.org.
All the best,
Ravi S. Bhalla