Mayor's Update - May 1, 2020

Date: May 1, 2020
 
 
 
 
Dear Friends,
 
We all took shelter as COVID-19 approached. Now the forecast calls for a beautiful weekend, and we’re anxious to get back out, back to work and back to normal. But I want to caution that this is just the eye of the storm. As we know at the shore, the second half of a hurricane can be the deadliest.
 
I have had a busy week of talks with doctors, hospital officials, the governor's office, mayors of other shore towns, the county's Recovery Initiative, public health experts and others. It’s very clear to me that we need to be patient. At this time, we are just not ready to see a dramatic increase in our population with guests traveling from near and far.
 
No decision has been made about when the beaches and boardwalk in Ocean City will reopen. The first priority right now is the health and safety of everybody in town. We also are working every day with health officials, local merchants and others to share information and establish the policies and protocols that will keep us all safe when we do reopen.
 
There are lots of ideas being discussed, and everybody is interested in seeing things open as soon as possible – for the health and sanity of us all … and to help people get back to work. But we don’t want to rush now and risk a bigger wave of infections and a midsummer shutdown.
 
I am asking you all to take personal responsibility for following all of the directives issued to slow the spread of the virus. The better we can do that, the quicker we can recover.
 
I want to thank John Flood for his generous donation of protective masks to the city team. I want to thank Scott and Mimi Post Avellino for their donation of hand sanitizer manufactured at their Pennsylvania distillery, Revivalist Botanical Gins and Resurgent Whiskeys. These are just two examples of the many people who have volunteered their time and made contributions to help all those affected by the pandemic. Much of this help is directed through OCNJ CARE. To learn more about how you can help or donate, please visit www.ocnjcare.org.
 
Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order this week that allows municipalities to extend the grace period for property tax payments due on May 1 to June 1. City Council will hold a special meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday to vote on authorizing that extension.
 
I’m told that the self-response rate for the 2020 U.S. Census in Cape May County is among the lowest in the state. A complete count is vital in determining funding and services for all members of our community. Even second homeowners should respond using the street address noting “zero” living in household on April 1.  The Census Bureau mailed requests to complete the 2020 questionnaire to all Ocean City addresses. Please take the time to submit this as soon as possible. Residents can respond online at 2020census.gov or by phone at 844-330-2020 (English) or 844-468-2020 (Spanish). More information for second homeowners is available here. More information in Spanish is available here.
 
The questionnaire will ask for the 12-digit census ID that was mailed to your Ocean City home. If you are spending the winter in a different location but live in Ocean City for the majority of the year, please use the Census ID from your Ocean City address or follow the prompt “If you do not have a census ID, click here.” It’s important that you be counted in Ocean City.
 
Our Spring Block Party would have been scheduled for tomorrow, but everybody can get a taste of Ocean City and help our local merchants by participating in the first-ever Virtual Ocean City Block Party.
 
 
Warm regards,
 
 
Jay A. Gillian
Mayor