Maplewood Mayor: KINGS & Our Small Businesses, COVID, Vaccines & Our Community  

by Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee
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The following is from Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee:

Good Morning, 

As many of you know by now Kings Food Markets, which first opened a branch in Maplewood Village in 1942, has ceased operations as a result of parent company KB Holdings going into voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy in August of this year. 

The Township was saddened to have been informed of the closure. As a longtime patron who has been in the store countless times for a multitude of reasons from being in a pinch for lunch snacks in the morning to treating myself and family with cookies and a pint of ice cream after getting off the New Jersey Transit on a Friday evening – it is truly sad. 

We have been collaborating and that effort will continue with the Kings corporate team, the asset management firm which is managing the property in addition with brokers, real estate professionals as well as industry specialists to entice the interest, convene meetings, and facilitate conversations with grocery store companies and businesses based in the region and across the country. Although we are striving to find a neighborhood grocery business that would become part of the new chapter of our historic village, the location is a private property and we do not have complete control over the future tenant and therefore cannot make any promises that a grocery store will be the next occupant.  In addition, the next phase for the space will not occur overnight, it will take time. 

We also recognize that several businesses throughout our Township have been impacted by Covid.

But we can do our part by supporting and continuing to support our businesses that make Maplewood such a vibrant place to live. Make the difference for your community and shop local this holiday season on Springfield Ave, Maplewood Village, including on Dunnell, Irvington Ave., and Ridgewood Row in the months to come by buying gift cards, shopping online and promoting your favorite businesses to friends and family. #shopsomalocal

COVID-19

COVID-19 is very much present in the Maplewood community. Our Maplewood Public Health Division numbers are evidence of that:  

Monthly Totals:

  • August: 17
  • September: 16
  • October: 44
  • November: 163 
  • December: 31 (to date)

Total Cases: 611

Testing:

Please check out www.essexcovid.org to register for a test 

Or visit Maplewood’s COVID-19 website: https://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/covid19 for a list of testing locations.

Resources:

Important:   

If you receive a positive test result and have not heard from the Maplewood Public Health Division, please contact us at (973) 762-8120 so that we can advise you on isolation, quarantine and contact tracing.  The Health Division works to obtain the recent contact history for all cases, including contacting anyone who has potentially been exposed and unfortunately we learned that there is a delay in lab data entry of positive COVID cases,  especially rapid antigen results, statewide.

Activities:

All activities have a certain level of risk. Here are a few tips from the Maplewood Public Health Division:  

  • Attempt to keep your gatherings to immediate household members and try to avoid visiting those who are immunocompromised. 
  • If you are having any type of indoor gathering, we encourage people to wear face coverings.  Again unfortunately, many of our cases can be traced back to small indoor gatherings where masks were not worn. 
  • Keep your number of interactions as well as the number of people at a gathering low. 
  • Space out your interactions with different people.  
  • Do not go anywhere if you’re sick, and do not dismiss it as a cold or allergies, especially if you are in a household where someone is actively quarantining due to exposure to a positive covid case.  Most of our cases are among people who were in direct close contact with a positive case.  
  • If you have come in direct close contact with a positive case, PLEASE complete the 14 day quarantine, even if you tested negative and feel fine. Several new cases have shown symptoms later – Day 8 to10 – of their quarantine/ potential incubation period. 

Vaccine:

We are collaborating with the Essex County Office of Emergency Management and Division of Community Health on our COVID-19 vaccination program. The county is looking to start testing in early January and once the vaccination commences, they will take place 6 days a week, hours TBD.  Our collaborative efforts will include coordinating various parts of the program with South Orange.  As we learn more, iron out the final details with the county, and continue to meet  in the days and weeks ahead, we will send out additional communications to keep you up to speed.   

For those who celebrate, I would like to wish you and your families a safe and Happy Hanukkah season starting Thursday evening and happy holidays to all.   

As always, please be safe

Mayor Frank

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