April 1, 2020

Mayor Baraka announces four-city enforcement and sanitizing programs with mayors of Irvington, Orange and East Orange

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In a show of joint enforcement and strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Ras J. Baraka was joined by the mayors of three neighboring cities to announce four “operations” to help residents stay safe and healthy.

Mayor Baraka, Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss, Orange Mayor Dwayne D. Warren and East Orange Ted R. Green joined together into a social media announcement to introduce “Operation Lockdown,” “Operation Wipedown,” “Operation Clean Business” and “Operation Mobile Wellness Checks.”

“COVID-19 is continuing to devastate our communities,” Mayor Baraka said. “So we are going to start Operation Lockdown for the next seven days after which we will decide to continue.”

The other three operations will also be reevaluated at that time.

Mayor Baraka said while most people are respecting the state and City’s executive orders to self-isolate, enough are defiant to put the rest of the community in danger.

“We are going to stop people from traversing back and forth between these cities,” Mayor Baraka said. “These people are making all of our neighborhoods unsafe, so we are going to have the police from our individual communities patrolling the borders to keep people them from entering.”

Mayor Warren of Orange introduced the first of the other three strategies, called “Operation Wipedown,” designed to keep senior citizens safe.

“Our senior citizen centers (in all the cities) will be wiped down and sanitized, not once a day, not twice a day, but three times a day,” Mayor Warren said.  

Mayor Green announced the “Operation Clean Business” aimed at stores that remain open under the lockdown.

“We are going to insist on cleanliness in our stores,” Mayor Green said. “We want to stay on track and sanitize throughout these stores, wiping down the counters and the doors and the other surfaces that people touch, at least twice a day.”

Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss introduced Operation Mobile Wellness Checks, the fourth strategy.

“The coronavirus doesn’t know the difference between the cities,” Mayor Vauss said. “We (the mayors) collaborate all the time and we wanted to come together with this united message.”

Operation Wellness will be ongoing enforcement of social distancing “with roving patrols” to break up gatherings in front of stores, in parks and on corners, Mayor Vauss.

Mayor Vauss reiterated what Mayor Baraka said earlier about giving out summonses at first, then criminally charging repeat offenders.

“Stay home,” Mayor Baraka said. “If you come out you are not only putting your life in danger, but your family’s life in danger. And if you go to the store, you are putting the lives of the people in the store in danger. And if you get sick, you are putting the lives of the doctors and nurses who treat you in danger. Now is not the time for selfishness. Now is the time for doing what is right and taking this seriously.”  

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Here are the specific details about the four operations:

Operation Lockdown: 

• Starting today, the four municipalities will jointly enforce complete lockdowns on their communities for seven days. 

• On April 7, the cities will re-evaluate the situation. 

• Until then, non-essential and non-emergency travel is barred on the streets of these communities. 

• Joint police units will patrol borders and other points. 

• Violators will face summonses and other legal action. 

Operation Clean Business: 

• Essential businesses that are allowed to remain open must clean their premises.  

• To do so, they must frequently wipe down high touch points including doors and counters. 

• Employees and customers must practice social distancing. 

• At the close of the business day, owners are encouraged to sanitize their businesses. 

• Health inspectors will see that this is carried out.  

Operation Wipedown: 

• Owners of senior citizen centers and complexes must sanitize public areas, including high touch points such as: mailboxes, elevators, doorknobs, and countertops three times a day with disinfectant. 

• Owners must sign compliance statements, saying that they have adhered to the order. 

• Inspectors will ensure that owners adhere to these policies, collecting compliance statements. 

• If inspectors find the owners have not taken required sanitization measures, the inspectors will cite the owners for appropriate legal action. 

Operation Mobile Wellness Checks: 

• Police departments will conduct mobile patrols, making sure that people are practicing social distancing and enforcing Governor Murphy’s Executive Order.  

• Violators will be ticketed and face legal action.