OCHD to Enforce Regulations on Outdoor Dining at Restaurants
As restaurants resumed on-site dining, the Ocean County Department of Health announced that it would be on the lookout to ensure that regulations given by the state guiding the second phase of COVID restriction rollbacks are followed.
As of this Monday, all food establishments are allowed to offer outdoor service only with the requirement to adhere to other restrictions aimed to prevent viral spread.
“The OCHD still expects our residents to follow social distancing and health hygiene measures, whether dining out or participating in other activities,” said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “Food establishment managers and their staff must encourage customers to follow these guidelines if we hope to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus moving forward.”
Since the beginning of the first reopening phase, restaurants have been permitted to offer curbside pickup. In addition to keeping patrons out of the interior of restaurants, establishments will also be held responsible for limiting capacity outdoors so that a minimum of six feet can be maintained between tables.
Several townships, including Toms River, had allowed for outdoor dining weeks ahead of the official start of Phase Two. More controversial was a plan announced by Asbury Park to allow for limited indoor seating in its restaurants, against which the Murphy administration has vowed action.
Ocean County Receives ‘Clean Communities’ Grant
Ocean County and its 33 municipalities will receive over $1.5 million in Clean Communities Grants from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
According to the DEP, activities funded by Clean Communities grants include cleanups of storm water systems; volunteer cleanups of public properties; adoption and enforcement of local anti-littering ordinances; beach cleanups; public information and education programs; and purchases of litter collection equipment such as receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and graffiti removal supplies.
The county will directly receive $196,702, the largest single grant given to any one county in the state. Of the $1.34 million slated for individual townships, Lakewood will get $112,530.57, Jackson $107,743.09, and Toms River $210,009.22.
The funds are intended to help municipalities and counties remove litter, to beautify neighborhoods, improve water quality and enhance quality of life.
“This money allows our county and municipalities to not only pick up and prevent litter, but to educate residents and visitors alike about the importance of keeping our communities clean,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.
Assemblyman Thomson Introduces Bill Requiring State to Buy Local PPE
As New Jersey continues to stockpile vital protective medical equipment, Assemblyman Edward Thomson introduced a bill which would require the administration to give in-state manufacturers first dibs at contracts.
“As we continue to purchase and stockpile PPE (personal protective equipment), we should take this opportunity to support manufacturers that are creating jobs and supporting our economy here in New Jersey,” said Assemblyman Thomson (R-Ocean/Monmouth). “With over 11,000 manufacturers in this state, we should secure this vital equipment here in New Jersey, not in other states or countries.”
The bill would require the state to purchase products like masks, gloves and other protective clothing from New Jersey-based manufacturers, only accepting bids from out of state in the event that no local supplier is able to meet the given need or in the event of an emergency.
Rep. Smith Receives Award For Bipartisanship
Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) received an award marking his bipartisan efforts in the House of Representatives.
“I have long felt that bipartisanship is about respect for other people even when there are fundamental disagreements. Bipartisanship is not an end unto itself but can be a practical, good-faith way of understanding different views in order to achieve fair, equitable and sustainable solutions to problems,” said Rep. Smith. “More often than not, bipartisanship helps build support and consensus for effective policies. I have looked to find areas of agreement for my entire time in the people’s House. Then I work with like-minded colleagues to get the job done, to get a bill over the finish line.”
The Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship is a new award given by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) to members of Congress who receive the highest ratings of sponsoring bipartisan legislation. It is intended to emphasize bipartisanship and leadership and “recognize those members of Congress who in their actions have demonstrated a willingness to work across the aisle in support of common objectives.”
“Many are looking to our nation’s government and elected leaders for answers during this time,” said USCC Chamber Vice President Jack Howard. “We need pragmatic political leaders who have the courage to solve huge business and economic growth issues through common-sense solutions built from a durable political center, not ideological corners.”