By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
The city of Asbury Park’s Office of Emergency Management declared a State of Local Disaster Emergency for the city today ( March 15) due to the coronavirus.
Fire Official Garret Giberson as the local OEM Coordinator has the authority to issue the declaration. He was joined at a special meeting on Sunday in council chambers to announce the proclamation by members of the OEM.
He said the situation warranted the need for immediate action for the health, safety and well being of the public.
OEM was activated on Wednesday and has been working with city officials for the past 48 hours to address what they called a world wide crisis.
The declaration includes closing City Hall to visitors, along with the senior center, library, municipal court and public works.
City officials and employees will, however, be available by phone and online.
It also included a curfew for bars and restaurants effective immediately.
Restaurants serving liquor must close at 10 p.m. every night and restaurants without liquor licenses with a capacity of 75 or more must close at 10 p.m. also.
Violations of the curfew will result in fines up to $1000 or up to six months in jail.
Mayor John Moor said suggestions made to the public regarding social isolation are not working after reports of bars in the city being packed on Saturday night.
The transit center was closed on Saturday to decrease the number of people coming into the city.
Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn addressed the press briefing saying although these first steps are just the beginning and it is a “fluid” situation that could change by the hour.
The proclamation was written in a way that it can be changed when needed.
Mayor Moor said they were taking steps similar to Hoboken which issued a curfew for its bars and restaurants on Sunday.
Moor said the city was being proactive without strict guidelines from Governor Murphy.
An office for social services will be set up in the lobby of City Hall to address concerns of seniors and the homeless.
However, people will not be allowed to “hang out” there.
After 15 minutes, the mayor, said the police will escort them out.
“We are a small city with a lot of visitors,” Moor said.
For further information residents may visit www.cityofasburypar.com/covidp