Hoboken OEM, mayor, announce that parks will close for 2 weeks to prevent COVID-19 spread

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The Hoboken Office of Emergency Management and Mayor Ravi Bhalla have announced that city parks will soon close for at least two weeks as part of their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Southwest Resiliency Park. Photo via Google Maps.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Today, the Office of Emergency Management and my office are announcing the difficult decision to temporarily close all Hoboken parks for a two-week period. As COVID-19 cases in Hoboken and across the region increase, and as we anticipate to reach our apex in the next several weeks, we need to ask again the following question – have we done everything we can to prevent the further spread of COVID-19?,” Bhalla said in a statement.

“While it may not be popular and will cause further disruptions to our daily lives, closing our parks is necessary to contain the spread of this deadly virus and can literally save the lives of Hoboken residents.”

The mayor said on Friday evening that he would consider closing portions of the waterfront if people continued to congregate there instead of social distancing.

While this decision goes beyond just the waterfront, he indicated that factored into implementing this new policy – which will be effective as of 8 a.m. tomorrow.

” … We’ve still seen congregating in our public green spaces, including at our waterfront parks, despite our best efforts to dissuade people from doing so,” Bhalla explained.

“Even though the majority of people are behaving responsibly, those that still congregate put not just themselves at risk, but also everyone in our community.”

He also said that this decision was made after weighing in with medical professionals, including Harvard Global Health Institute Director Dr. Ashish Jha who indicated that closing parks would be a prudent measure that would “save lives.”

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in Hudson County has reached 771, the New Jersey Department of Health announced yesterday. Bhalla said last night that Hoboken has 85 cases of COVID-19.