Village Offices Closed to the Public – Services Will Continue

South Orange Municipal Offices located at 76 South Orange Avenue are now open to the public. Residents are reminded that mask requirements social distancing measures shall continue to be in effect when visiting municipal locations in person and are also encouraged to continue utilizing the Village’s online features to obtain necessary services and documents; as well as through the mail and telephone.

For statewide updates, please continue to visit the NJ COVID-19 Information Hub where you can find the latest news, guidance, resources, and support hereInformation from the Centers for Disease Control can be found here.

Heard Around Town: Frequently Asked Questions by Category

Village Services - What services are currently offered?

How do I contact the departments in the Village?

  • Administration will still be available through phone and e-mail.
  • The Tax Assessor will continue communication with residents through phone and e-mail. In-person consultations will continue after the State of Emergency.
  • Building Department/Code Enforcement will be accepting permits and applications via e-mail and the United States Postal Service. No inspections will be conducted for the remainder of March. Permits and payments can be dropped off in a box in Village Hall. Please note that the department is in contact with the Division of Consumer Affairs for guidance on certificates of continued occupancy.
  • Clerk’s Office encourages residents to utilize their online forms for most services. Appointments can be made for Marriage License Application (forms available online, but in-person application required), Vital Records Application (there is a procedure for applying via USPS), Raffle (Games of Chance) Application, and Liquor License Renewals and Transfers.
  • Engineering/Zoning will be accepting permits and applications via e-mail and the United States Postal Service. In-person consultations will continue after the State of Emergency.
  • The Office of Emergency Management will continue communication with residents through phone and e-mail.
  • The Tax Collector will continue communication with residents through phone and e-mail. The department encourages residents to pay tax and sewer bills online. There will also be a drop box located in 76 South Orange Avenue, Suite 302 for payments. No cash payments will be accepted.

Is there a way for me to stay up to date on what is happening in the Village?

Communications

Where can I find up to date information with regard to South Orange Village?

Is there a way for me to stay up to date on what is happening in the Village?

Does the State of New Jersey have a website dedicated to COVID-19?

Yes, please go to the New Jersey COVID-19 Informational Hub.

Fire & Emergency Services

Are emergency services still functioning?

Police, Fire, and EMS emergency services will continue uninterrupted and 9-1-1 emergency lines will be available and answered at all times.

 

 

 

Government and Policies

Are local government meetings still being held? What about committees and advisory boards?

  • Virtual meetings are being held via WebEx. Visit the Village’s online calendar here. Please remember to click on the meeting you wish you access and you will be provided instructions. Any meeting of the governing body will continue to follow protocols of the Open Public Meetings Act and be publicly noticed.

Are Village committee meetings still happening? How can I attend?

  • All Board of Trustee, Board of Adjustment, and Planning Board meetings can be viewed online. Residents who do not attend and are watching online can submit comments and questions for public comments by e-mailing:
    • PBQuestion@SouthOrange.org (Planning Board)
    • BOTQuestion@SouthOrange.org (Board of Trustees)
    • ZBAQuestion@SouthOrange.org (Zoning Board)

Health & Testing

Can I utilize other Health Department services during COVID-19?

How is the Health Department handling COVID-19?

  • The Village’s Health Department will be fully staffed and closely monitoring any local cases or situations as well as keeping informed and notifying our community about the most current information, restrictions, guidelines and recommendations from Federal, State, County and international officials and agencies.

Where can I get tested if I suspect that I have COVID-19?

  • New Jersey has a list of testing sites for individuals that are experiencing symptoms.  Please refer to this list.

For people who test positive, are you telling their neighbors? School?

  • Per Privacy laws, we will not share information related to someone’s private health status. Those that come in contact with anyone confirmed with COVID-19 will be notified by the health department, monitored, and asked to self-isolate. An infected resident will be quarantined.

How can I be helpful and neighborly while still respecting social distancing?

  • Write or call to check on others, and find ways to meet using remote access. Offer to bring groceries from your shopping trips or help with outside chores. Always remember both you and your neighbors take appropriate sanitization steps.

What are the best practices for keeping safe when getting groceries?

  • Being safe while shopping can be managed by practicing “social distancing” at the store (maintaining 6 feet of distance between others). Consider going at off-peak hours when the store may be less crowded or even better, schedule delivery. Also, please remember to wear your face covering as ordered by Governor Murphy.

Should I wear a mask when going outside?

  • The CDC has recommended the use of cloth face coverings in community settings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. There is a growing body of evidence that asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals can spread the virus. You MUST wear one when shopping at essential retail businesses, entering a restaurant or bar to pick up takeout orders, or when traveling on public transportation.

What is the best way to wear a face covering?

What if individuals are unable to get basic and health-related products?

  • Many stores are providing delivery services or ask a friend or neighbor to bring what you need. Cathy Rowe at Two Towns for All Ages may be able to direct seniors to appropriate services; call 973-558-0863. Karen Weiland at The Parent Center of South Orange Maplewood School District may be able to direct vulnerable families; call (973)762-5600 extension 1850.

What is a safe distance for joggers and bikers in the COVID19 pandemic?  

  • The CDC recommends maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from anyone while engaging in physical activity and these measures are required wherever practicable by State Executive Order and in our State, County, and Municipal parks. 
  • That said, it may be a good idea to give more thought to appropriate distancing space for exercising outside. There is one new study that looks at how air flows around bodies in motion and suggests that additional distancing may be necessary. There is also a Department of Homeland Security study that suggests ultraviolet rays could slow the virus, though not enough to wipe it out, and not as a treatment, which may impact outdoor distancing requirements. Neither study has been published in a peer-reviewed journal and so results need further confirmation. Please consider available public information as well as your own personal risk profile when making these decisions for yourself and your children.

For all the social service organizations that will be opening up, how will the village assure a testing protocol will be in place for both staff and clients?

  • There is no protocol necessary. Both staff and clients (along with the general public) may register for a test online at https://www.essexcovid.org whether they have symptoms or not. We encourage everyone to get tested, especially social service providers.

What should I do if I see other people who are not complying with safe social distancing or mask guidelines? Examples include congregating in groups, engaging in contact sports, restaurant workers without masks, etc. 

  • If you witness these or similar activities, call local police dispatch at 973.763.3000. Dispatch will determine the appropriate course of action and send a police officer or our Health Officer out to investigate. Please do not call 911 unless someone needs help right away because of an injury or an immediate danger.

May I have a copy of the PowerPoint shown at the Town Hall Meeting?

Local Businesses

Do I have to wear a mask when going into an essential business?

  • You should wear a face covering whenever you leave your home and MUST wear one when shopping at essential retail businesses, entering a restaurant or bar to pick up takeout orders, or when traveling on public transportation. For more guidance on using face coverings, refer to this article.

Is the South Orange Post Office still operating normal hours?

  • Postal Services in the United States are considered essential and are still maintaining its current hours.

Is SOPAC still open?

  • The South Orange Performing Arts Center has suspended performances through June 30 at which point a determination will be made whether additional rescheduling or cancellations will be necessary.

Are restaurants in town still open and can I order alcohol?

  • Restaurants are open for take-out, delivery and outdoor dining. You can view a full listing here. Establishments that serve liquor have a waiver to provide carry-out liquor. Check with the individual bars/restaurants for more details.

Are personal service businesses such as hair salons?

  • Hair salons, barbershops, spas and nail salons can reopen on June 22 under State guidelines. Guidelines will restrict the operations each of these establishments can offer.

What if individuals are unable to get basic and health-related products?

  • Many stores are providing delivery services or ask a friend or neighbor to bring what you need. Cathy Rowe at Two Towns for All Ages may be able to direct seniors to appropriate services; call 973-558-0863. Karen Weiland at The Parent Center of South Orange Maplewood School District may be able to direct vulnerable families; call (973)762-5600 extension 1850.

Are retail stores open? I thought they were if we maintained 6 feet?

  • Non-essential retail operations can open on June 15 in compliance with State guidelines. In-store occupancy is limited o 50% of maximum allowed capacity. Most retailers will continue offering online ordering, delivery and curbside pickup for their customers.

New Projects and Development

Have the developers of Village Hall been in contact about how they are holding up? Does it look likely that they’ll default on construction and the town might end up taking the property over?

  • The Village Hall renovation project currently underway by Landmark Hospitality is continuing to move forward in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order regarding non-essential construction projects.

What information was found regarding Seton Hall’s proposed apartment complex?

  • Seton Hall University is conceptually considering a student housing project at the corner of South Orange Avenue and Turrell Avenue. No further information has been shared with the Village at this time. At any point that Seton Hall has a proposal, it will follow the statutory guidelines through Municipal Land Use Laws and the community will be notified.

Parking

Is the Parking Authority enforcing parking rules?

  • The Parking Authority will continue communication with residents through phone and e-mail. The department encourages residents to utilize their online services. Jitney service is suspended for both commuters and seniors.  All curbside meter parking is adjusted to courtesy enforcement until further notice.  All pay station lots and garages will be lightly enforced.  All prohibited and ADA parking rules will be enforced.  All permit renewal grace periods are extended until further notice.

What’s happening with the Jitney and I read that there is “light enforcement on parking”, what does that mean?

  • Jitney services are suspended until further notice. Light and courtesy enforcement means that the Parking Authority and police department are doing their best to accommodate local businesses who are adjusting to pick-up and curbside delivery. If your meter expired for a few minutes, don’t expect a ticket. This does not mean you can speed, parking in handicap spots or park overnight.

Police & Enforcement

Is the Police Department open and functioning normally?

  • Effective immediately, the South Orange Police Department is restricting in-person contact for the purpose of obtaining reports, copies of incidents, motor vehicle accident reports, etc.  They ask that you contact our Record Bureau at 973-763-3000 extensions 7782 or 7786 for assistance. They will make every effort to accommodate your request via mail, email, or fax.

What’s happening with the Jitney and I read that there is “light enforcement on parking”, what does that mean?

  • Jitney services are suspended until further notice. Light and courtesy enforcement means that the Parking Authority and police department are doing their best to accommodate local businesses who are adjusting to pick-up and curbside delivery. If your meter expired for a few minutes, don’t expect a ticket. This does not mean you can speed, park in handicap spots or park overnight.

Public Works - Trash, Landscaping & Roads

Is the Public Works Recycling Center open?

  • The Department of Public Works reopened on reopened on Tuesday, June 9th with restrictions in place to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Facility Hours as of June 9th: Tuesdays and Thursdays 7:30am-3:30pm and Saturdays 8am-12pm. The facility will be closed to residents on Saturday, June 27th as the Container Day event is being held by appointment only (at this time all appointment slots have been filled). The following policies are in place for access to the facility once it reopens:
    • Residents are required to wear a face mask while using the facility
    • Maintain a socially responsible distance of six feet from other visitors
    • Residents should be able to remove and dispose of items from vehicles without employee assistance
    • If it is necessary at peak times traffic flow will be limite
    • Standard policies remain enforced

Is there still trash and recycling pick-up?

  • Curbside recycling services are provided through a Village contract with a private company. Garbage pickup is a contract between the resident and a private company. At present, the Village has not been notified of any changes to these regular services and schedules. Any changes to services will be posted on the Village website and disseminated via the Village’s SO Alert emergency notification system.

What’s the best way to know when recycling is?

  • You can check the posted schedule or download the Recycle Coach app available for free in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Recreation and Parks

Will recreation programs run normally?

Are municipal recreation facilities open? Playgrounds, tennis, basketball?

  • South Orange parks are open for passive and no-contact recreation. Tennis courts are open and rules are currently posted. Playgrounds, basketball and the pool remain closed.

 Is the South Mountain Reservation Open? I see people there.

  • State and County parks are open. Face coverings are required in all County and local parks.

What is the current plan for the opening of the town pool? Has the timing for purchasing a recreation badge been adjusted?

  • The State of New Jersey issued Executive Order No. 153 allowing pools to open and has issued guidelines that need to be adhered to. The Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs is finalizing our social distancing plan and plan to open the town pool on July 6th.  We will provide updated guidelines shortly.

Has there been any discussion about how youth programs will be addressed such as spring/summer baseball, swim team, Baird camp, etc?

  • Baseball: We have been working with the coaches regarding baseball and will make a final decision in the coming weeks.  The decision will be based on social distancing policies.   
  • Soccer: New Jersey Youth Soccer (NJYS) has canceled Youth Soccer. 
  • Baird Camp: Under the guidelines of the State of New Jersey Executive Order No. 149, camps are allowed to open on July 6, 2020. The Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs is finalizing our social distancing plan and we will provide updated guidelines shortly.
  • Swim Team: Under the guidelines of the State of New Jersey Executive Order No. 153, the swim team has not been allowed.

The Baird seems like it’s been shut for almost a year with no progress on construction. What’s happening and how will budget cuts affect the work and re-opening date?

  • The Baird Center project went out for public bid just as the virus lockdown started and now we are a little stuck as a result. The team is trying to find a way to push through this basic problem of bidders being able to visit the building to inspect it themselves. We want them to see it first hand so we get more accurate bids but we also can not violate social distancing protocols. Pete Travers has created a virtual tour that has been made available to bidders (it’s pretty cool to see) but it can not provide much of the nitty-gritty detail that bidders need. The good news is we have had many bidders show interest so we think the market will be favorable for us, the trick is getting them the detail they need to properly and fairly bid the project. Peter Travers may have more recent detail on the status of that process as he was going to coordinate walkthroughs.  We won’t have a detailed sense of what the schedule impact will be until we select a bidder and they develop a schedule specific to their crews.

South Orange Public Library

Is the library open?

  • The library is actively preparing for the stages of re-opening. Governor Murphy has stated that the re-opening of public libraries, ordered closed in Executive Order 107, will be considered in the state’s Phase Two plans.  Once that order is amended, the first service to be opened will be making hard copy materials for available for pickup. The second phase will be the gradual re-opening of the building, with restrictions as necessary, following best practices and state-wide directives. We will follow all recommended guidelines and are actively monitoring health guidelines and developing protocols.In the meantime, rest assured that preparation is well underway – and that online resources will always be available and online programming will continue. Our priority in all stages is the safety and health of staff and public and the extension of library services. The library appreciates the support of the Village, the Administrator and Village departments for their close cooperation. The Library continues to offer phone hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10am-3pm and Tuesday and Thursday from 10am-8pm, and to answer any question via email librarian@sopl.org. Wifi is available 24/7 outside of the library building. There are books and other online resources also available 24/7 and a schedule of online programs of all sorts available from the library website www.sopl.org. We look forward to seeing you soon.

What is happening with the planned library renovation?

  • The team of Library Board members, Village Trustee liaison, Library, and Administration staff led by our architects H3 are currently completing the application for the NJ state library.  We are applying for a 12.7 Million grant that would fund improvements to our existing library along with enhancements to the historic Connett Library. If approved by the State Library, this construction would ultimately be funded by a combination of state, local, and private funding. The application will be submitted in June 2020 to the State Library, and we anticipate being notified in October of 2020.  If we are approved, we will start the multi-year process of planning and construction. For more detailed information, please visit the Public Library project summary page, the South Orange Library website or the SOPL Foundation website.

Transportation

What’s happening with the Jitney and I read that there is “light enforcement on parking”, what does that mean?

  • Jitney services are suspended until further notice. Light and courtesy enforcement means that the Parking Authority and police department are doing their best to accommodate local businesses who are adjusting to pick-up and curbside delivery. If your meter expired for a few minutes, don’t expect a ticket. This does not mean you can speed, parking in handicap spots or park overnight.

Is NJ Transit still running a regular schedule to NYC and Hoboken?

  • NJ Transit is still running its trains with “enhanced” schedules.  The schedule can be found here.

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In addition, residents have the option to subscribe to non-emergency notifications relating to various Village services and issues, including parking issues, recreation sports, classes and activities, and weather alerts.

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