By Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone
With Labor Day just around the corner, I want to remind everyone that Labor Day does not mean summer is over!
We are coordinating with our shore Mayors to see which towns will be extending their beach season with additional lifeguard coverage. Their plans will be published to our “Know Before You Go “page, which can be accessed on www.visitmonmouth.com once available.
Long Branch has already announced they will be extending their beach season through September 30th. Badges will be needed and lifeguards will be on duty every day.
We are encouraging residents and visitors to continue enjoying the local businesses, beaches and restaurant offering outdoor dining beyond Labor Day. Our small businesses need our support now more than ever and we need to continue to support them. Make sure to check out our downtowns too. Many offer “pedestrian zones” with extended space for restaurant tables. Towns include Red Bank, Asbury Park and Manasquan.
As always,please remember to “Know Before You Go” and research the policies and regulations of your desired destination, before leaving your home. For more information about Shore municipalities rules and regulations, go to www.visitmonmouth.com.
Speaking of our small businesses, on behalf of the residents of Monmouth County, I am asking Governor Murphy to either permit restaurants to host indoor dining or, at least, put together a staged plan with dates on when this next phase will begin. I also ask the same for gyms and any other industry that has yet to reopen due to the State’s shutdown orders.
Our restaurant industry has suffered for nearly fifteen weeks with no solid plan on when they can resume welcoming patrons inside. While outdoor dining has helped, it is does not bring in nearly enough revenue for our restaurants to survive much longer. Not to mention, no one is going to want to dine outdoors come colder weather. This current operation is not self-sustaining.
The majority of Monmouth County residents have been socially distancing and making responsible decisions during this pandemic and the proof is in the numbers. Even with widespread testing now available, the number of positive COVID cases has significantly flattened.
It’s time the State joins Monmouth County in having faith in our restaurant industry and allows them to reopen with the proper policies in place. We’ve witnessed several other industries that require close contact reopen without incident, it’s time to give the same chance to our restaurants.
Additionally, I want to update you of the Monmouth County CARES Act Small Business Grants. I am pleased to announce that as of today, Monmouth County has processed 630 of the 2000 grant applications that have been received and dispersed over $6 million in the last three weeks.
Grant applications will continue to be processed and money will be dispersed two days a week. Our decision to control and operate the program with the assistance of an outside consulting firm, as opposed to doing what other counties have done, has proven to be very successful. My fellow Freeholders and I stand strong in our decision and will continue to support and assist our small business community.
For specific questions or concerns pertaining to the grant and the application process, please call the toll free number on the monnmouthcountycares.com website. The number is 732-375-2196, and you can call Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On a separate note, this week, my fellow Freeholders and I passed a resolution awarding a contract to Black Rock Enterprises for our 2020 resurfacing project of various county roads. Our 2020 resurfacing project totals approximately 17 centerline miles within 17 of the County’s 53 municipalities.
A preconstruction meeting will take place in the coming weeks as the contractor is gearing up to commence the work in the beginning of September. As part of that work, all the pavement striping and markings will be replaced and ADA curb ramps will be upgraded or added.
The County’s commitment to our annual resurfacing program is essential in keeping the Monmouth County roads among the best in the State of New Jersey. I will update you on the progress of this important project that has been developed to keep our roads in a state of good repair.
As always, it is a pleasure to serve as Freeholder Director. I’ll continue to advocate on behalf of residents and businesses!