Belleville announces cancelations and procedures in wake of Coronavirus outbreak

Mayor Michael Melham has announced several measures to ensure the safety of Belleville residents in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Senior Center on Franklin Avenue will be closed immediately and all Senior Clubs will be suspended indefinitely.  This will allow the township to bring in a specialized company to disinfect the entire building.

“These measures are being put into place to protect our seniors,” Melham said. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that those over 60 in age are among the most at-risk to contracting COVID-19. While the wellbeing of all our residents is paramount, we especially want to take every precaution to care for our seniors in Belleville.”

The Dial-A-Ride program will continue as scheduled, but the bus will be cleaned every three hours under a new protocol as a precaution.

Several other protocols will focus on the township’s municipal buildings.

For instance, all surfaces at Town Hall will be wiped down with disinfectant at least three times daily. Also, the township is bringing in a professional crew to clean and disinfect all municipal building out of concern for employees and residents who visit these buildings. Entry to Town Hall will be restricted to one entrance, whereby visitors will be directed to their destination and be asked not to loiter around.

Some events have been canceled out of an abundance of caution.

All recreation programs have been suspended for the next two weeks.

The rabies clinic scheduled for Saturday at the Fire Headquarters on Franklin Avenue has been canceled.

However, while there is no change to scheduled Council, Planning Board and Zoning Board meetings, the township encourages “social distancing.”

Township police will prioritize non-emergency calls. It may take longer to respond to some calls; the Police Department is asking that residents remain patient and cooperative.

Because this health issue is ongoing and fluid, residents are encouraged to continue to check the township website,, for further updates.

For residents without internet access, they can receive important updates by calling the Health Department at 973-450-3389.

Township officials have been in close contact with Dr. Tomko and the School District and advise all parents to check the school district website and social media regularly for updates.

According to State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Belleville. She announced today that there is one presumptive positive case in Essex County — a 66-year-old Montclair woman.

“We are advocating that our residents take the precautions universally promoted by health officials,” Melham said. “You have heard this all before: Wash your hands often, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, keep a personal distance of six feet. These are the sort of precautions we can all take during the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.”

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.