Day: March 16, 2020

NJ National Guard Mobilizing To Help Combat COVID-19

March 16, 2020

Today, Gov. Phil Murphy announced he’s mobilizing the New Jersey National Guard to assist in the state’s efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus.

“Since 1636, the State Militia has responded to the needs of the community during times of uncertainty,” said Brig. Gen. Jemal J. Beale, The Adjutant General of the New Jersey National Guard.

“Today’s modern Army and Air National Guard is the community-based organization that has a footprint in nearly every county of the state. Whether it’s military operations overseas to severe weather events like Hurricanes Katrina, Irene and Super Storm Sandy, The New Jersey National Guard is a vital part of our first responder cohort.

Over the next few days, weeks or months, we ask that you support our 8,100 Citizen Airmen and Soldiers as we move about through your community in support of the state’s COVID-19 response.

We will be working closely with the Office of Emergency Management to assist fellow residents, as we change from our civilian attire and put on our uniforms to serve the state.

We will simultaneously be supporting the Veterans in our long-term care facilities as well as the Veterans community across the Garden State.

Please know that we are monitoring the current situation and are monitoring best practices implemented nationally by our counterparts in other states.”

Governor Phil Murphy Issues Executive Order On COVID-19

March 16, 2020

Executive Order can be download here

By Order of Governor Phil Murphy:

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 I’m ordering:
• Close ALL schools (including private), starting 3/18
• Close ALL casinos, theaters, and gyms
• Close ALL recreational business after 8 pm
• Prohibition of meetings of more than 50 people

All bars and restaurants will be closed from 8:00 p.m. tonight. After 8:00 p. m., these establishments can open for takeout or delivery services only. These restrictions also exist during the day.

All schools from pre-K to Grade 12 (public, private, and parish) and all universities will close from Wednesday, March 18 until health officials consider classes can gather.

We have worked diligently to ensure student s’ educational needs during this closure, including proper home instruction and continuous access to free or reduced-priced meals.

Starting tonight, all non-essential or emergency trips in New Jersey are not recommended between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. This will remain in force in the foreseeable future. We want everyone to be home, not outside.

Essential businesses that are necessary for the health, safety and well-being of the public, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, medical clinics and service stations, can remain open after 8:00 p.m.

Starting at 8:00 p.m. tonight, all theaters, gyms, and casinos will close completely until it is considered safe for reopening. Internet games will continue.

Starting tonight, all recreational / entertainment businesses MUST CLOSE after 8:00 p.m. During the day, these businesses can remain open if they limit their occupation to no more than 50 people and adhere to the guidelines of social distance.

All meetings of over 50 people are CANCELLED starting at 8:00 p.m. tonight.
We know this will affect residents and families, communities and businesses. But our main concern is to ensure that we don’t overload our healthcare system.

Governor Murphy Announces Aggressive Social Distancing Measures to Mitigate Further Spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey


TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 104, implementing aggressive social distancing measures to mitigate further spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Among the directives, Governor Murphy’s Executive Order indefinitely closes all public and private preschool, elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education, as well as closes all casinos, racetracks, gyms, movie theaters, and performing arts centers. The order also mandates that all non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor license, are limited to offering only delivery and/or take out-services only, both during daytime hours and after 8 pm.

“In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, we must take aggressive and direct social distancing action to curtail non-essential activities in the state,” said Governor Murphy. “Our paramount priority is to ‘flatten the curve’ of new cases, so we do not overwhelm our health care system and overload our health care professionals who are on the frontlines of the response. My Administration continues to work closely with our communities, stakeholders, union representatives, and business leaders to ensure that we all do our part to win the fight against the novel coronavirus and emerge stronger than ever.”

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Murphy’s executive order directs:

  • All gatherings of persons in the State of New Jersey shall be limited to 50 persons or fewer, with limited exceptions;
  • All public, private, and parochial preschool programs, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, will be closed beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and remain closed as long as the Order remains in effect;
  • Institutions of higher education will cease all in-person instruction beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and shall cease such in-person instruction as long as the Order remains in effect;
  • The Commissioner of Education shall continue working with each public, private, and parochial school to ensure students are able to continue their education through appropriate home instruction
  • The Secretary of Agriculture and the Commissioner of Education shall take all necessary actions to ensure all students eligible for free or reduced meals will continue to receive the services necessary to meet nutritional needs during closures;
  • All casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters, and performing arts centers will be closed to the public beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. and remain closed as long as this Order remains in effect;
  • All other non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.; and
  • All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor or limited brewery license, are limited to offering delivery and/or take out-services only.

The order will take effect immediately.

“These are extraordinary times, and educators throughout the state have been taking extraordinary measures to create plans for high-quality home instruction, ensure food security for children who depend on free and reduced lunch, and provide services for all special needs students,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “We understand that the closure can be a disruption for many parents, but we know nothing is more important than the safety of the 1.4 children we serve.”

“We understand this is an unprecedented situation, and we are asking institutions to be extra vigilant in protecting the health and safety of their students, faculty, staff and the entire campus community. As institutions move to remote instruction, we urge them to ensure there are appropriate accommodations in place for students with disabilities, those who may not have access to internet services, and students who call their campus community home,” said Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis, Secretary of Higher Education. “We continue collaborating with institutions to address concerns.”

For a copy of Executive Order No. 104, click here.

ICYMI: Open Spaces at State Parks and Wildlife Management Areas Available for Passive Recreation; Enclosed Facilities, Campgrounds at State Parks, Forests, and Recreation Areas Closed

March 16, 2020

From the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection:

TRENTON –Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today that public may still access the State Parks, forests, recreation areas and Wildlife Management Areas, including roads, parking areas, trails, lakes and other open space areas for healthful passive recreation.
However, campgrounds, visitor centers, nature centers, restrooms and similar facilities at state parks, forests, recreation areas, Wildlife Management Areas and historic sites are closed until further notice in order to protect public health and safety as the state works to address COVID-19.

Given the lack of services for the public, entry fees normally collected by state parks will be waived. Additionally, permits typically required including but not limited to mobile sport fishing permits (ie. beach buggy permits) are still necessary.

This approach will allow important access to outdoor activities such as walking to continue while limiting potential exposure and spread of the virus.

“Keeping state-owned open spaces available to the public is important so people can continue to enjoy the healthful benefits of recreation and being outdoors,” Commissioner McCabe said. “We advise the public to practice social distancing while enjoying our open spaces.”

Staff and Law Enforcement Personnel will continue to conduct routine patrols of open spaces to ensure public safety and general wellbeing of the visiting public.

In addition, the DEP is postponing all upcoming events, programming and camping reservations in State Parks and Wildlife Management Areas through April 30. Refunds will be issued, and events rescheduled at the appropriate time.

For updates, please visit

Westminster Conservatory student tests positive with COVID-19

Letter from University Communications to students, family members, faculty and staff

PRINCETON, LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–See letter below or download at link above:


Dear Rider Community,

Rider has been notified that a Westminster Conservatory student, who is not enrolled at Westminster Choir College or Rider University, and their parents have tested positive for COVID-19. The family remains under self-isolation.

The University is notifying individuals who were in direct contact with the Conservatory student and her family on the Princeton campus. Those individuals are also self-isolating as a result. The buildings that were accessed by the Conservatory student and family over the weekend of March 8 and 9 will be closed for cleaning. These buildings include the Conservatory (Princeton Hall), Marion Buckelew Cullen Center and Robert L. Annis Playhouse.

Out of an abundance of caution, Rider is announcing that all on-campus private instruction, lessons and classes offered through the Conservatory on the Princeton campus and its extension sites are suspended until further notice. All ensembles are postponed. Conservatory teachers will provide remote learning to their students if possible. If teachers decide to conduct lessons remotely, they will contact students directly with instructions.

The University remains open. Residence Halls, Dining Services and other services are continuing to operate as normal.

There are currently no other confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff on the Princeton or Lawrenceville campuses.

The University has been in contact with local health authorities and continues its enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols overnight and throughout the day, using disinfectants recommended by the CDC for killing viruses like coronavirus. Additional cleaning and disinfecting are being conducted in the residence halls during the extended spring break. This includes individual residence rooms, common areas and bathrooms.

We encourage all members of our University community to continue the preventive practices recommended by public health officials to help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like coronavirus. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

If you believe you have been exposed to coronavirus or start experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness like the flu or coronavirus, call ahead first to your personal healthcare provider or the Student Health Center. Students who live off campus are encouraged to contact their primary healthcare providers first. The Student Health Center will be available to provide guidance via telephone consultation. Students who currently live on campus should contact the Student Health Center.

The official source of information about Rider’s response to COVID-19 is It will be updated to reflect new information as it becomes available. For questions and general inquiries, please email

Bank Robber Captured

March 16, 2020

HAMILTON, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township Police have arrested 28 year old, Hamilton Township resident Luis R. Estrada from the 500 block of Schiller Avenue. Luis Estrada was taken into custody by the Hamilton Township Police Department on March 14, 2020.

See previous story on the bank robbery here

Despite being captured or charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Robbinsville Township Municipal Buildings Closed to General Public; Drop Boxes Added And Message From Mayor Dave Fried

March 16, 2020

UPDATED: ROBBINSVILLE, NJ – (March 16, 2020) – The Township of Robbinsville is closely monitoring and following recommendations of the County, State, and National health organizations, as well as local Emergency Services organizations, regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Township will remain open and functioning, however its staff will be exercising social distance by limiting public interaction. Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all Township facilities, including the Municipal Building located at 2298 Route 33 and the Court, will be closed to the public.

All non-essential meetings at these locations have been postponed until further notice.

Drop boxes have been placed in the rear of 2298 Route 33 for your convenience. For general mail and tax, please use the upright box. Documents for Planning and Zoning, Construction and the Clerk’s office are labeled to the left of the rear entrance doors.

Documents and applications, including fees/payments and tax payments, can also be mailed to the respective department. The use of online services is strongly encouraged. The deadline for renewing or obtaining dog licenses has been extended until further notice. For inspections, contact the construction office at (609) 259-3600 for more information.

The Mercer County Nutrition Program is still available for pick-up only at the Senior Center between the hours of 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you know senior in need of meals or other services, please call the Robbinsville Township Police Department at (609) 259-3900, or email us at
Visit and the Robbinsville Township Facebook page for all updates.

If you are a senior and are not yet signed up for the Nutrition Program, please contact Renee Burns directly at (609) 259-1567, or email her at for an application. There is generally a 3-4 day waiting period for approval. 

Please practice social distancing and good health habits during this crisis. If you are ill, contact your primary care physician or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

We are in this together …. And we will get through it together.

Message from Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried via Facebook:

Today, the State will be closing all restaurants, movie theaters and fitness centers/gyms.

Restaurants will be take-out only until further notice. Please still consider our local merchants for those services as we need to support them as best we can. Please remember the supply chain is still working quite well. There is no need to hoard food or supplies. Yes, that includes toilet paper. The shortage of toilet paper is due to over-buying, not because the virus has created a specific need.

We will be keeping all of our parks open. Try to get outside while still maintaining responsible social distances. Getting outside and spending time in the sun is a good idea and exercise is important. Stress can negatively impact all of us. The Township will continue to maintain services as best we can for as long as we can. Drop boxes for specific departments have been placed outside the Municipal Building at 2298 Route 33 for your added convenience. Online services and the USPS also are encouraged.

I am asking everyone to check on a neighbor who may be at risk or a member of our elderly population. Please continue to use good hygiene. Wash your hands, maintain safe distances and avoid unnecessary gatherings.

Please let us know if there are any specific needs that you become aware of.

Lastly, do not panic. Yes, we are navigating in uncharted waters right now. But we will get through this by working as a team, keeping or collective heads and by being good neighbors. Our “Robbinsville Bubble” is expanding, but I know we are up to the challenge.

Stay safe and God bless.

Governor Murphy, Governor Cuomo, and Governor Lamont Announce Regional Approach to Combatting COVID-19

March 16, 2020

The three States will limit crowd capacity for recreational and social gatherings to 50 people – effective by 8 PM tonight 

Restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery only effective 8 PM tonight

Movie theaters, gyms and casinos will temporarily close effective 8 PM tonight

Uniform approach to social distancing will slow spread of COVID-19 throughout the tri-state area

PRESS RELEASE FROM GOV. MURPHY’S OFFICE: TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—Amid a lack of federal direction and nationwide standards, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced a regional approach to combatting the novel coronavirus – or COVID-19 – throughout the tri-state area.

These uniform standards will limit crowd capacity for social and recreational gatherings to 50 people, effective 8 PM tonight. This follows updated guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued yesterday recommending the cancellation or postponement of in-person events consisting of 50 people or more.

The three governors also announced restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery services only. These establishments will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol. These measures will take effect at 8 PM tonight.

Finally, the three governors said they will temporarily close movie theaters, gyms and casinos, effective at 8 PM tonight. 

This uniform approach to social distancing is meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. 

Governor Murphy said, “With all we are seeing in our state – and across our nation and around the world – the time for us to take our strongest, and most direct, actions to date to slow the spread of coronavirus is now. I’ve said many times over the past several days that, in our state, we are going to get through this as one New Jersey family. But if we’re all in this together, we must work with our neighboring states to act together. The work against coronavirus isn’t just up to some of us, it’s up to all of us.”

“Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn’t crash our healthcare system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our people safe but also prevents ‘state shopping’ where residents of one state travel to another and vice versa. I have called on the federal government to implement nationwide protocols but in their absence we are taking this on ourselves.”

Governor Lamont said, “The only way to effectively fight the spread of COVID-19 is by working together as states. We have shared interests, and a patchwork of closures and restrictions is not the best way forward. I know that because of this collaboration, we will save lives.” 

Help Protect NJ’s First Responders If You Call 9-1-1 Or Request Services Let Them Know If You Have Flu Like Symptoms Or Have Traveled

March 16, 2020

The International Association Association of Firefighters (IAFF), Professional Firefighters of NJ (PFANJ), New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (NJFMBA), and your local IAFF and FMBA locals ask that if you have had any flue like symptoms, have traveled to any area that you were advised to be under quarantine or under a watch to let the 9-1-1 dispatcher know so firefighters, EMS and police and take protective measures prior to providing services.

There are only so many first responders to go arround and if they get sick it will stress the system as they will be in quarantine and unable to help you for at least 14 days. Lets not have a situation again that happened in Barnegat, New Jersey with COVID-19 contamination. Do the right thing, please let the police, firefighters and EMS know over the phone.

From Barnegat, NJ Police Department,

Earlier today, one of our officers responded to a call for service that required a police response and interacted with a subject who had just flown in from Denmark and was directed by the CDC to be on a 14 day self-quarantine. The person failed to advise our officer that they had just returned from Denmark and were supposed to be quarantined.

Because Denmark has over 800 active cases of COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the officer was immediately placed off-duty and will not return to duty for 14 days. The officer’s patrol car and common areas he occupied within the police department are being professionally sanitized.

It is critically important that members of the public act responsibly in adhering to self-quarantines and being forthcoming with public safety professionals if they have been outside of the country in the last 14 days or directed to self-quarantine. Failing to do so is dangerous to our officers, healthcare workers, and the public at large.
–Chief Germain