Mayor Andre Sayegh has announced a series of precautionary steps – reduction of business hours at government offices, closure of the Paterson Museum and the Riverside Vets, a senior recreation facility – to blunt the potential spread of the new coronavirus.
Sayegh said business hours at municipal offices — City Hall, economic development, recreation, and other offices — will be limited to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Offices at 155 Market Street, 125 Ellison Street, 133 Ellison Street, and 111 Broadway will be open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Presently, employees work from 8:30 to 4:30. Business administrator Kathleen Long said 300 employees — excluding fire, police, public works, and health division employees — will be affected. She said all employees will be paid for the full day.
Long said majority of the City Hall employees will be working remotely from home. Those employees will be working from 8:30 to 4:30, she said. She said the Paterson Museum and the Riverside Vets will close for the next two weeks. All recreation events and public library programs have been suspended, according to the mayor’s executive order. The public library will remain open on rotating hours.
Sayegh said the limited hours will be in effect from Mar. 16 through 27. Municipal officials will determine whether to extend operating the government with limited hours after the two weeks.
“You should be cautious, but remain calm,” said Sayegh at City Hall on Friday morning. Key members of his staff, who flanked him at the press conference, were spread out, keeping safe distance from each other.
Health officer Paul Persaud said the Division of Health is prepared for potential spread of Covid-19.
“We’ve been preparing for a public health event like this,” said Persaud. His team had dealt with the Hepatitis A and Meningitis scares in Paterson last year.
Public safety director Jerry Speziale and fire chief Brian McDermott said first responders have taken precautionary measures.
Speziale said dispatchers are asking people such things as their travel history. McDermott said firefighters and EMS employees have been trained in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to protect themselves. He said firefighters are also using infrared thermometer to check people’s temperatures when responding to calls.
McDermott said firefighters responded to eight persons under investigation for the new coronavirus on Friday. He said all eight cases were unfounded.
“We continue to be vigilant,” said the fire chief.
Passaic County has a single confirmed case of Covid-19, according to state health officials. Paterson has had no positive cases. An emergency room doctor in St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center tested presumptive positive for the new coronavirus last week; however, he is a resident of Teaneck.
Email: [email protected]