Vernon Township Mayor’s Updated Statement on the Coronavirus

Posted: March 16, 2020

After coordination with the Sussex County Office of Emergency Management and the Vernon Township Office of Emergency Management Coordinator, Mr. Ken Clark, plus a brief discussion with the Governor’s office, as an additional proactive and prudent action to prevent/limit the possible spread of the Coronavirus, I have decided to declare a state of emergency for Vernon Township. Promised in my initial update on actions that I as your mayor am taking/have taken in response to the Coronavirus crisis, I am hereby updating you on new actions that I have chosen to take for the safety of our town’s residents and employees.

As you are aware, effective at 4:00 p.m. Friday, March 13, 2020, I closed the township senior center until we receive additional information from appropriate public health officials that it is safe to reopen. In conjunction with this declared Vernon Township State of Emergency, an additional measure that I am taking to minimize exposure to the Coronavirus to our town’s residents and employees includes temporarily closing the municipal center to the public until further notice. That temporary closing will take effect as of 4:00 p.m. Monday, March 16, 2020.

During this period of our municipal center’s closing, our staff will take turns at staffing the municipal center and other municipal facilities via a “half staffing” method—i.e., half of our personnel will work at their municipal work locations for a two week period, while the other half will work from home where they will “self-quarantine” themselves for two weeks (the CDC’s estimated incubation period of the Coronavirus).

During this period that the municipal center will be closed to the public, we have implemented plans that will ensure that residents are able to still get the town services that they need—i.e.:

  • For normal municipal services such as requesting permits/applications; paying taxes/fines and other fees; delivering documents, etc., residents will be able to use the drop box located outside of the municipal center.
  • For contact purposes, posted on the front entry door to the municipal center and our website will be a sign containing the phone numbers and the e-mail addresses of the various municipal departments.
  • Access to our police department, which is also located in the municipal center, may be gained by activating a buzzer located outside of the department’s front door.

In order to discourage the gathering of crowds and encourage social distancing, I have also made the decision to temporary close both Maple Grange Park and Veterans Memorial Park. All sports and group activities in the parks are now cancelled until further notice. Please help spread the word.

Also, while we navigate our way through this unprecedented situation, if you or anyone you know is in need of assistance with meals, groceries, food for pets, online ordering or anything they are not able to do while we deal with this crisis, please contact the Vernon Police at their non-emergency phone number at 973.764.6155. We have a team in place and we are here to help.

Our community is strong, and together, we will get through this.

Howard L. Burrell, Mayor