(Camden, NJ) – The Freeholder Board has amended and reissued its state of emergency declaration in response to the rapidly evolving situation presented by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Effective immediately, all playgrounds, public bathrooms, and water fountain locations within the Camden County Parks System shall be closed until further notice. Parks locations will remain open as outdoor-only facilities during regular operating hours.
Additionally, all convenience and grocery stores must discontinue self-serve beverage and food offerings, including coffee and cappuccino bars, fountain drinks and soda, roller grills, bakery cases, soup and salad bars, nacho/chili cheese machines, and condiment bars. Retailers may continue to sell food and beverage items; however, an employee must dispense the beverage or food along with any necessary condiments directly to the customer.
“As this situation continues to evolve, we will continue to update our proactive mitigation measures as necessary to protect the public and stop the spread of this deadly virus,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “In the past week, we have not seen people taking this threat seriously enough. Crowded playgrounds and shoulder-to-shoulder lines pouring coffee at Wawa and 7/11 are not acceptable if we are going to get through this. We want to remind everyone that they should be staying home as much as they can and avoiding contact with others when possible.”
At close of business on March 16, Camden County and its agencies activated emergency measures to reduce governmental operations to only essential functions. All essential employees, such as law enforcement, corrections, public safety, and others as dictated continue to report to work as usual.
Non-essential employees are no longer reporting to work but will remain on call to work remotely as needed.
Since Monday, Governor Phil Murphy has announced several additional mitigation measures to further reduce the spread of coronavirus statewide. All of these measures apply to Camden County schools, businesses, and residents. Measures announced since Monday have been listed in bold.
- Effective March 18, all pre-K, K-12 schools, and institutions of higher education must close.
- Beginning tonight, all non-essential and non-emergency travel in New Jersey is strongly discouraged between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
- Beginning tonight, all non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must close each night after 8 p.m., until further notice. These businesses must limit occupancy to no more than 50 persons during daytime hours.
- Effective at 8 p.m. tonight, all bars and restaurants must close for eat-in services. Bars and restaurants may stay open for takeout and delivery orders only until further notice.
- Effective at 8 p.m. tonight, all racetracks, casinos, theaters, and gyms must close until it is deemed safe for their re-opening.
- Effective at 8 p.m. tonight, all public events of 50 persons or more are to be cancelled.
- All indoor portions of retail shopping malls. Restaurants and other stores located within shopping malls that have their own external entrances open to the public, separate from the general mall entrance, may remain open as long as they comply with prior directives on operating hours and takeout or food delivery services.
- All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, family and children’s attractions.
About COVID-19/What to Do
The COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus which is believed to have first emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illness such as the common cold, or more severe illness such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
According to the CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, but it may be possible that a person can contract the illness by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
The best way to prevent the spread and contraction of coronavirus is practicing good personal hygiene and to follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines:
- Wash your hands thoroughly, and often, with soap and water for 20 seconds;
- Stay home when you’re sick;
- Avoid contact with others who are sick;
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue;
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects;
- Avoid crowds of more than 50 people; and
- Maintain at least a six-foot distance between yourself and the nearest person.
Anyone who believes they have been exposed to coronavirus should contact their healthcare provider immediately, and before visiting a providers’ office, hospital, or the emergency room. To prevent the spread of the virus, it is critical that healthcare providers are aware of your symptoms, travel history, and other relevant details before you enter facilities with other patients.
Residents should call 9-1-1 during emergencies only, for those with questions or concerns related to the coronavirus, call the free, 24-hour public hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or 1-800-962-1253, or the statewide information and referral service at 2-1-1, where trained professionals are standing by to answer your questions. Beginning today, New Jersey residents can also text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive text information and stay informed. To receive live text assistance, residents can text their zip code to 898-211. More information is also available on the state’s coronavirus webpage.
Information regarding Camden County’s preparations, response, and general information provided to the public is available by visiting camdencounty.com. Residents should frequently check the county webpage and social media for up-to-date information.