UPDATE FROM NOVEMBER 16, 2020 COUNCIL MEETING
THE INFORMATION BELOW WAS ACKNOWLEDGED AND CONFIRMED AT THE NOVEMBER 16TH MEETING BY MAYOR MORGAN. THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT CAME WHEN I BROUGHT UP THE SUBJECT, NOT IN RESPONSE TO MY LETTER
The information below represents an update of an earlier article about the Mayor of New Providence, NJ responding to a question about outdoor dining laws enforcement.
Recent events have demonstrated there is significant confusion regarding the rules governing outdoor dining during the current health emergency. This confusion came to light at the October 26th Borough Council meeting in New Providence. During that meeting the Council passed an extension of a resolution permitting exceptions to local ordinances. The exceptions are in place to permit outdoor dining in the Borough.
Prior to the passage of the resolution, I spoke about the language contained in Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 157 (EO 157) issued June 26, 2020. I asked who was responsible for enforcement of compliance with the rules contained in the EO 157. Mayor Morgan responded he “imagined” it was the Health Department.
Following this response, I sent a letter (link below) to the Mayor and Council expressing concern about the lack of knowledge of who is responsible for enforcement of EO 157. I also made inquiries at the Health Department, Westfield regional office and the office of the Attorney General.
Those inquiries, resulted in the following:
- All executive orders issued by a Governor under declared emergencies are enforced by law enforcement.
- All state health regulations are regulated by the state Health Department and regional offices. The Health Department is not a law enforcement agency.
As of November 9, 2020, I had not received any notification of receipt or response to my concern regarding the enforcement issue. On November 10, 2020, I had a discussion with Doug Marvin, Borough Administrator regarding the above information. He indicated he had discussed the issue with Chief Theresa Gazaway and confirmed the accuracy of the enforcement process.
The information above does not mean that the New Providence police Department is going into local restaurants for the purpose of finding infractions of the Governor’s Executive Orders. It does mean that if law enforcement officials observe or are responding to information regarding infractions of laws, they will respond appropriately. That level of response is dependent on the situation the officer encounters.
This link takes you to the letter delivered to Mayor Morgan and the Council. October 28, 2020