Message from the Mayor, June 29, 2020

Masks and social distancing work,

don't allow coronavirus to return 

I had a test for Covid-19 this past week.

I had a persistent cough and heavy chest congestion, the kind of symptoms anyone would normally dismiss as insignificant. But under the circumstances you have to ask yourself: Wouldn't it be better to get a test, both for myself and for anyone I'm near?

Less than a day later the results came back negative, which brought a deep sigh of relief. There's nothing like wondering for a few hours whether you have caught a disease that has killed more than 125,000 fellow Americans in three months to put a new and more serious perspective on what we all are going through in the current pandemic.

It's been a week of uncertainty for a lot of people. Parts of the country are reopening and are seeing frightening increases in infections. The New York metropolitan area – including Chatham Township – is likewise reopening but so far has avoided similar spikes. (The Township's totals as of today stand at 151 confirmed cases and 33 deaths, an increase of 0 cases and 1 death in the past week.) 

But the uncertainty persists.  Can the country avoid hitting 200,000 deaths, perhaps as soon as October? Will our local communities see another spike in infections, either because we reopened too soon or because the coronavirus returns from an out-of-control area of the country?  Will the flu season this fall trigger a second wave of Covid-19 infections? What will be the financial impact on the economy in general and on my family in particular? Is this the new normal?

What is certain is that lives are too important to jeopardize with some of the bad behaviors we've seen on TV. We don't need to crowd without masks into a bar or onto a beach. Too many people in our community have been working too hard to protect the more vulnerable for us to let our guard down now. We all need to abide by the pandemic guidelines designed to keep ourselves and others safe.

As we continue to cautiously relax the restrictions that have been in place since March, remember that the coronavirus has not disappeared.  It remains important to wear masks in public, to maintain safe social distancing, to wash hands frequently, to stay home when feeling ill, and to contact  your physician if symptoms begin to escalate.

Follow the common sense guidelines to avoid exposing ourselves and others to infection. Enjoy all of the new opportunities as New Jersey enters each new phase of reopening. But be careful, exercise good judgment and stay safe.

Michael Kelly,

Chatham Township Mayor