EO town hall meeting features Gov. Murphy

East Orange Mayor Ted Green, top left, was joined by Gov. Phil Murphy, top right, at his weekly East Orange Town Hall Forum. Shown beneath the two leaders are a sign language interpreter and important phone numbers.

EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange Mayor Ted Green again hosted his weekly town hall meeting, this time with a special guest who had previously appeared on television in the state every day. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy joined Green as the May 7 meeting’s special guest.

With topics including such subjects as the state’s progress thus far in combating the coronavirus, the unemployment surge, the budget, outdoor summer activities and what the near future may hold, the live town hall meeting drew approximately 50,000 views on Facebook.

During the live meeting, Murphy gave viewers an update concerning the virus and where New Jersey currently stands in the pandemic.

According to Murphy, as of May 7, the garden state has lost 8,801 citizens, with Essex County paying a huge price as the county with the highest number of deaths. But Murphy said that good things are happening: the number of positive tests for COVID are decreasing, as are the numbers of hospitalizations, occupied ICU beds and ventilator uses. However, fatalities are still spiking because of the people who were infected weeks ago.

This week, Murphy wanted to assure viewers how great of a job they’ve done so far in their efforts to flatten the curve.

“We’ve begun slowly but surely putting a plan in place to responsibly reopen our economy. We’re not going to rush it,” Murphy said at the May 7 town hall meeting. “We’ve got to be responsible about this, which we’ve started with county and state parks. That went pretty well. That gives us the confidence to begin to look at other steps to take. But the most important thing that folks have done, folks have taken our executive orders to heart and stayed home and wore face coverings when going out. That’s been the biggest thing we’ve done in New Jersey.

“We’ve complied like no other state in America,” he continued. “That’s allowed us to keep the curve of infections lower than it would’ve been. I want to thank everybody, and I want to ask you to continue staying at it. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we’re not out of the woods yet. I hope in a matter of weeks, we can be at some sort of a new normal. The medical data is pointing us in that direction, but we’re not there yet.”

Green agreed with Murphy, urging residents to keep at it and continue following safety precautions.

“Gov. Phil Murphy reinforced that his decisions are being made by science and data. We can all agree that everyone wants to get back to a new ‘normal,’ but we cannot rush reopening the state all at once. I appreciate the governor’s steadfastness, especially when positive coronavirus cases in East Orange and surrounding communities continue to climb,” Green said. “I also am pleased that local governments have been given latitude to make some of their own decisions about what’s best for the community. Responding to this public health crisis is definitely not one-size-fits-all.”