Seems like forever that we have been able to go to a retail store or go out to a restaurant for dinner. Because of the COVID-19 virus, Only essential businesses are allowed to stay open, with staff working shifts so as not to have a crowd of people in one office or conference center at a time. Many small businesses are closed such as hair salons, barber shops, spas, and small retail boutiques, with many pizza shops and small restaurants only doing take out service. Even weddings have been cancelled, and funerals services have been truncated, with only immediate family members in attendance. All of us, obeying the Executive Order from Governor Murphy which has effectively shut down New Jersey for a month now. Is this now the new normal?
Now some folks would say that the closing of the State was a drastic action, and something maybe the Governor didn’t have to do. Of course, it is always easy to second guess, after the fact and be a Monday Morning quarterback. However the fact remains that New Jersey has been one of the hardest hit states, along with New York, that have suffered the greatest effects of this pandemic. Next to New York, New Jersey has had the most cases per capita of infection, and I believe the most deaths due to this virus, than most other states in the US. This COVID-19 Virus is nothing to fool around with, and not something to take lightly.
So, for a month now, we have been inside, sheltering in place, many working from home when we can. For Project Freedom Inc., we have shut our community centers and put staff on rotating work schedules so that we could avoid any large groupings, and thereby reduce our chances of interaction. Staff still monitors the phones, but we are only really attending to emergency maintenance issues. Now that the weather is getting warmer, there will be grass cutting and outside maintenance being done at the properties, so that work needs to be kept up with, otherwise it can get out of hand. PFI staff is still available for help if tenants need anything and continue to check on many of our tenants.
So, as of the Governor’s latest news conference, he has laid out several conditions that would need to be in place before he will lift the “stay at home order”. These conditions are a reduction in new COVID-19 cases, more testing of healthcare workers and then the public in general, along with the reduction in hospitalizations. The Governor is still undecided if he will allow schools to reopen this current school year, which really needs to be done for most people to go back to work. What is feared mos is for the virus to have a comeback when business is open again; thereby losing all the gains achieved by staying at home.
So, let’s all continue to do our part. Wash our hands, wear our masks, stay 6 feet away and avoid any large crowds. By doing so, we will protect ourselves as well as one another. And, also keep the faith. We will get through this in time for sure… America has done it in the past, and we will continue in the future.