To the Editor:
This past week I’ve been compelled, due to the growing coronavirus contagion, to close all municipal buildings, parks, and athletic fields to the public. In addition, I have had to call, along with the Governor, for all events involving 50 or more people to be either postponed or canceled.
I am certainly not thrilled with the idea of restricting or limiting people's movements, interactions, and economic activity, but the present circumstances are entirely unprecedented. We are dealing with a truly historic set of public health and economic challenges. Because of this, I believe the situation requires bold and decisive governmental direction. Even so, I pray these temporary measures that have been put in place will be short-lived.
The global pandemic we are now confronting has already brought tremendous stress to our healthcare system as well as to our everyday lives. It is my job as mayor of Chatham Borough to protect our residents, volunteers, and Borough employees to the greatest extent possible. For me, public safety is “job one” in local government. Particularly at a time like this.
It is therefore important for people to understand that “social distancing” is not just standing six feet apart from others and avoiding large group gatherings. In addition, social distancing is:
Taking personal protective measures (e.g. staying at home when sick, engaging in proper handwashing practice, observing responsible respiratory etiquette, cleaning frequently touched surfaces multiple times daily, etc.)
Limiting one’s movement in the community unless absolutely necessary (e.g. to trips to the grocery store, pharmacist, bank, etc.)
Preventing or limiting visitors from entering your home (e.g. in the case of extended family, friends, contractors, etc.)
Neither hosting nor attending playdates, or otherwise “hanging out”.
Limiting one’s time in public spaces where close contact with other (potentially contagious) individuals is a possibility.
As an elected official, I am tasked with addressing challenges as they arise, and preparing for others that may soon arise. The present outbreak is unlike any demanding situation I have ever seen – at least in our lifetime. I assure you that the Coronavirus Task Force that I’ve assembled is working nonstop to plan for every contingency that may develop. It is coordinating closely with surrounding municipalities as well as county and state officials to plan appropriately and strategically for every possible emergency.
The coronavirus outbreak, due to the necessary measures to mitigate if not suppress its spread, is now affecting all of us. Clearly, the most successful outcome of this public health emergency is dependent on all of us – that is, each of us working together for the greater good.
I ask you, therefore, to do your part to protect your loved ones; your neighbors; and the most vulnerable among us, whoever they may be. Please make every effort to stay at home during this crisis. Please venture outside only for necessary purposes. And please protect yourself and your family from any possible exposure to this virus.
Lastly, please check daily the Borough website for up-to-date announcements and information pertaining to this public health emergency. Borough Hall will continue to communicate all emergency notifications through AlertChathamBorough, as well as through its website, www.chathamborough.org.
If you haven’t already signed up for email notifications from the Borough please do so here.
Most important of all, please do stay well.
Thaddeus J. Kobylarz