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Sunday, May 19, 2024


Recovery Initiative Task Force Works Toward Reopening County

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By Press Release

COURT HOUSE – Cape May County’s Recovery Initiative is making progress toward a plan to re-open the County. The Initiative began April 14, when the Board of Chosen Freeholders created a Business Recovery Task Force co-chaired by Freeholder Vice Director Len Desiderio and Freeholder Will Morey.
According to a release, the task force set to work oganizing leaders of various sectors of the business community, bringing in the Mayors of Cape May County’s sixteen municipalities, health sector professionals, state and federal elected officials and others. The Task Force has quickly evolved into the Cape May County-Wide Recovery Initiative.  The mission of the Recovery Initiative is to optimize and support economic recovery and the safe and thoughtful reopening of public places.
“As we are now seeing with many States across the Country engaging in the reopening process, businesses are quickly learning to innovate in order to successfully operate in the present environment,” commented Freeholder Will Morey.  “That’s what businesses do to survive.  Fact is, we can protect our most vulnerable population while adapting sufficiently to restore economic function to our communities.”
The commitment of the Cape May County business community was broad and immediate.  Local government and community leaders saw that collective action was needed to support recovery and reopening, and are pleased that yesterday New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy indicated the state is now weeks away from moving toward reopening. Business Sector members of the Recovery Initiative have already collectively committed hundreds of hours of time in collecting data, preparing mitigation protocols and contributing to the conception of a safe and systematic reopening of Cape May County.  In doing so, they have cast a wide net and have prepared an expanding list of business types that will need support and guidance as the County moves toward a reopening process.  Task Force members are assembling recommendations on protocols for social distancing, capacity management, personal protective equipment, sanitation, disinfection and employee monitoring for every sector.
“Friends in Trenton and from other counties have contacted me and asked for guidance, recognizing Cape May County has been so forward-looking and innovative.  We are coordinating with Atlantic County to advance our common interests,” said Freeholder Vice Director Len Desiderio.  “With a focus on safety for our citizens and visitors, the Recovery Initiative is quickly positioning Cape May County to be ready to reopen.” 
Task Force members are working to align consideration of the various interests of the business community with the interests of local municipalities.  Cape May County’s diverse communities bring varied perspectives and needs to the effort.
“As the Mayor of a town that is a mainland and beach community, I understand the incredible challenges ahead,” said Upper Township Mayor Rich Palombo.  “The efforts of the Recovery Initiative and its inclusion of the Mayors gives us the best chance for a reopening that minimizes spread while allowing our businesses to get back to work.  I am certain we will all come together in short order behind a smart and successful plan.”
In just two weeks, the Recovery Initiative has organized the business community, delivered a draft presentation to the Mayors, consulted with the Department of Health and Cape Regional Medical Center, discussed the effort with our state legislators, Congressman and the Governor’s Office, and collected important COVID-19-related data.
“Our beach communities have special obligations to the entire county,” said North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello.  “Our beaches and boardwalks are a major economic engine and thousands of people depend on them for their financial survival.  At the same time, we understand our opening has to provide safeguards to the very people that come here.  We are committed participants in the Recovery Initiative’s goal of a smart and safe reopening as soon possible.”
As hundreds of small businesses and their employees throughout Cape May County anxiously await the reopening, the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce is working hard to take their input and keep them informed.
“We are all experiencing extraordinary challenges,” said Vicki Clark, President of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce.  “We want to reassure the business community that a great many caring, dedicated and intelligent people are engaged in an unprecedented effort to support businesses now and to have them prepared to operate with the protocols needed for these times.”
Next steps for the Recovery Initiative include finalizing a consensus with the Mayors for a coordination of municipal services and facilities in support of the business community, and working with the health sector on protocols for maximum safety, in order to compile a comprehensive reopening strategy that will meet the requirements of State directives. Ultimately, the Initiative seeks to position the County to credibly engage the State for support of its plan.
“Together with our colleagues on the Board of Chosen Freeholders, who have entrusted us to lead this effort, as well as with our local governments and the business sector, we want the people of Cape May County to know that they should not give up hope,” said Freeholders Desiderio and Morey.  “This community is strong and supportive of each other.  Together we are charting a way forward.  The day is coming soon for our businesses, beaches, parks and playgrounds to reopen, with the Governor’s approval.  With careful consideration of healthcare data and recommendations, we can protect our people and get our businesses up and running.”

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