The Sparta Township administration and police are urging residents to take advantage of an array of resources that will help them through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alert system: Residents are encouraged to sign up for an alerts system that will be used to communicate all COVID-19 related information. Register for the Honeywell /Everbridge Alert System at spartanj.org .
Senior Bus: Sparta senior citizens without COVID-19 symptoms may take the Senior Bus to medical appointments, food markets, and pharmacies. Additional sanitation precautions have been put in place. Any senior citizen who needs help getting food should call the Sparta Police Dispatch Center (non-emergency line) at 973-729-6121.
Health hotline: County residents can now contact the Division of Health COVID-19 hotline at 973-579-9488 to speak with a staff member or Medical Reserve Corps volunteer. The Hotline’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A crisis counselor is also available to speak with affected residents.
Emergency home food delivery: Those in need of emergency home food delivery should contact NORWESCAP Pathways 2 Prosperity at 973-862-6680. Callers will be asked to leave a message that will be returned from off-site. The service is being extended to those unable to leave their homes to shop for groceries for themselves.
Protection for vulnerable adults: The Sussex County Adult Protective Services continues to take referrals and investigate cases. Senior citizens or people with disabilities may call Social Services at 973-383-3600. Staff members will visit or contact the most vulnerable clients weekly.
Counseling: The NJ Mental Health Cares Help Line offers telephone counseling, emotional support, information and assistance in helping to get behavioral health services needed by you or a loved one. For assistance or more information, call the toll-free, confidential number: 1-866-202-HELP (4357).
Small business emergency assistance: The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) will launch the application for its Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program on Friday, April 3, 2020 at 9:00 am. A link to the grant program application will be posted on the State’s COVID-19 Business Information Hub. The grant program is part of a package of initiatives announced last week to support businesses and workers facing economic hardship due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Call center: Residents should contact the 24/7 call center at 1-800-962-1253 or 211 with any questions.
COVID-19 website: More information is offered at covid19.nj.gov, which includes case counts by county.
"The health and well-being of the residents within our township, as well as our staff is of paramount concern during this challenging time," says a statement from the township administration and police.
The Bunny Breakfast and all events hosted by the recreation department have been cancelled, and Sparta Municipal Court and recreation fields and facilities are now closed.
Sparta Town Hall is open and conducting business, but with restricted access to the public. Township business will be conducted by phone, email, fax and web.
The Circle of Friends Preschool will follow the schedule set by the Sparta Board of Education for its students.
All county and state parks are now closed
New Jersey's Department of State Parks, Forests and Historic Sites on April 7 ordered all state and county parks closed at the end of Tuesday, April 7, because of problems with people congregating in them.
Gov. Phil Murphy said local jurisdictions may impose tighter restrictions on municipal parks that the state order does. On Tuesday, Franklin Township decided to close its town park too. For updates on state parks and forests, visit njparksandforests.org.
Murphy said he encourages New Jersey residents to exercise as long as they do it close to home.
"Walking, jogging, or riding a bike should be done in your neighborhood or your local park," said Murphy. "Do not travel to a park in another town."
He said shore communities have reported people trying to temporarily relocate there from areas hard-hit by the coronavirus spread, but those communities can lack the health care infrastructure that a surge in patients would require.
He urged state residents to remain in their primary residences during the COVID-19 crisis.
"To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, all residents have been directed to stay at home with limited exceptions, and all gatherings of individuals have been prohibited."
Short-term rentals urged to close
New powers for New Jersey's local and county governments to restrict short-term rentals took effect Sunday night, part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Vernon Mayor Burrell said he has issued an order that restricts any “hotel, motel, guest house, or private residence, or parts thereof” in Vernon from accepting “new transient guests or seasonal tenants” after 4 p.m. on April 6 until further notice.