March 13, 2020 — We are currently living in a time that we never imagined. The uncertainty and fear of the effects of the COVID-19 virus has definitely made all of us rethink our daily actions and learn to adapt and be flexible to what seems to be a constantly changing flow of information. Remote learning, remote working, canceled events and travel plans all lead to an uneasy peace of mind.

As a response to the COVID-19 threat, Chester Borough office personnel and Department of Public Works will be working on a limited schedule effective Monday, March 16. The staff can access the Borough network from home, so work will continue and there will be a daily staff conference call with our Administrator Margaret Nordstrom. There will be at least one staff member on-site every day. We are implementing this plan for a couple of reasons. The first is the health and safety of our employees. If an employee were to test positive with COVID-19, we would not want the entire staff to have been exposed. The second is the fact that schools are closed. Many of our employees have school-aged children who will be home until at least April 6, if not longer. As unsettling as the current events are for adults, imagine what the disruption in a regular routine is for a child, be they 5 or 15.

We ask for your patience assistance during this time. If meeting with a member of the staff is necessary, they will schedule a time. Emails should be directed to the appropriate department for assistance. See below. For those without email, please call the Borough office at 908-879-3660 and leave a message for the desired department. You will receive a callback from a staff member. We will be working on an appointment-only basis as the building at 50 North Road will be locked for the safety of our employees. We share the building with the Chester Board of Education who will also be working remotely.

Most of the required documents are available on the website or can be provided by the respective departments electronically. Construction inspections will continue on the regular schedule. Bill payments and other correspondence can be left in the Drop Box. This box will be checked daily.

No one knows how long we will be living with the threat of the virus. All of us have to step back and reflect on that which is most important to us. From the way we shop, to the way we socialize, to the way we work and play, it’s all changing and changing rapidly. Please know that like all of you, the Borough is monitoring the situation. Both Administrator Nordstrom and I participate in conference calls on the county, state and federal level to hear the latest information from Emergency Management experts. We are fortunate to have top-notch First Responders especially the Chester Police and Chester First Aid Squad who are on the front line of medical calls. Protocols and procedures are in place utilizing disinfectants and ultraviolet lights to thoroughly clean transport vehicles after all calls.

There is no shortage of information regarding the virus in the media. Should a situation arise that effects Chester directly, the Borough will utilize reverse 911, Alert Chester and Swift Reach to disseminate the information. If you have not already done so I encourage you to sign-up for Alert Chester (Smart 911). It may be accessed on the main page of the Borough website: Updates from the Bernards Township Board of Health, who provide public health services to the Borough, are also posted on the website.

We will all get through this, as stressful as it is. I know if I’m quarantined, I’ll have no excuse to not clean a closet, do some online training, get my paperwork ready for the tax accountant, work on a jigsaw puzzle, try to keep a positive outlook, a sense of humor and a smile on my face. Should you have questions or concerns, please email me at:

Wishing you the best and wishing you good health,

Mayor Hoven

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