CRANFORD, NJ — Cranford will only open one of its pools this summer, a decision that the Township Committee said, in a letter, that they knew has provoked “questions and some disappointment.” They said the decision was not easy, but a responsible choice for health reasons.
State regulations for pools were announced recently. Pools can be at 50 percent capacity.
Director of Parks and Recreation Steve Robertazzi explained the reasons and rules in a letter: “Opening a municipal pool is not as simple as pulling back the cover, and with the late notice from the state and the significant additional requirements that will be in place to protect patrons and staff: many towns had decided not to reopen their pools.
Robertazzi said, “After a difficult couple of months, it goes without saying that we could all use a pool now more than ever…The pool staff, in conjunction with the Township Committee, have been working diligently to prepare for opening and in anticipation of receiving guidance from the state. That guidance finally arrived yesterday and we have spent the past 24 hours ensuring our plans are in compliance with the rules and regulations put forth by the state.”
So why the Orange Avenue Pool and not the Centennial pool?
Robertazzi said, “Orange Avenue Pool, which will cost roughly $576,500 to operate, was determined to be the best choice because it is a larger facility enabling us to accommodate the maximum number of members while meeting social distancing protocols by utilizing the entire complex. With the lack of clear and timely guidance from the State it was not financially prudent to prep both outdoor pools if they were not going to open.
“Centennial would take much longer to open, had more maintenance issues, would need more staff, cost much more money, and would provide much less space to social distance .”
But the town will extend the pool season until Sept. 27, and make other changes. Read more about them in Robertazzi’s letter, linked above.
Kidz Klub is also cancelled this season.
As for statistics, the town said that as of Friday, June 12, the town had 481 confirmed cases among residents, including one new case since the last update, and 94 fatalities, including one new fatality. Of those, 13 are “in the community” and one is in a long-term care facility, the town said Friday. (See updates below about the state’s response to long-term care facilities.)
As of Tuesday, a total of 12,727 New Jersey residents have died from the virus. Gov. Phil Murphy said that New Jersey had 470 additional coronavirus cases and 51 more deaths since the day before.
The rate is lower than Thursday, April 30, when the state reached an all-time high death rate. That day, Murphy had said that 460 New Jerseyans had been lost to the virus in 24 hours, or one person every three minutes. Murphy explained Tuesday why he believes the state still must reopen slowly to avoid another spike.
Even some people who’ve recovered from the virus have reported dealing with severe symptoms.
New studies have supported the CDC’s recommendation that mask wearing is very helpful in cutting down on (but not eliminating entirely) the spread of the virus.
Here are some Cranford coronavirus updates on testing, drive-in movies, the library, restaurants, and more:
Drive-in movies: The Cranford Movie Theater is scheduling movies on weekends. The first three sold out quickly, but click this story for a link to future dates when they are scheduled.
Expanded outdoor dining: Outdoor dining began again this week. Read about the new rules and closed streets here.
Canoeing: Cranford canoeing has reopened on the Rahway River.
A portion of Alden Street is closed on weekends to create a public plaza for outdoor dining. The street will be closed from North Union Avenue up to Municipal Parking Lot 11 (next to St. Michael’s Church) every Thursday starting at 3 p.m. through Monday at 8 a.m. See the above link about dining for more details.
Library Director Michael Maziekien and the staff will soon be back at the facility processing the 10,000 books and items that were checked out before the pandemic, the city has said. After that, pickups of new items will be available.
For a full description of the reopening process please read the latest newsletter from the Cranford Library.
A hearing about the state’s response to long-term care facilities, in which thousands have already died of coronavirus, was held Wednesday, but representative from the Governor’s Office did not attend.
New Jersey residents have become alarmed at the high number of residents who have passed away in nursing homes, rehabs, and similar facilities, and have charged that the facilities are undercounting the numbers and not adequately protecting residents and staff. The state has faced questions for weeks from the press about how they will address the problems.
There is now a state website with numbers for people at individual nursing homes.
You can report immediate issues with long term care facilities here, or if you suspect coronavirus related misconduct that should be reported to the Attorney General, here.
Gov. Phil Murphy is encouraging all residents to get tested, even if they do not have symptoms. The Union County Test Site at Kean University is open and free for all County residents. Call to confirm hours and other details. You can book an appointment online here or call 908-214-7107 or 908-373-5105.
The drive-through center is also open to first responders statewide. To find out more about testing in Union County, click here.
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This article originally appeared on the Cranford Patch