Chaparro: Pulling together in crisis

By Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro

I want to thank the residents of Hudson County and those all throughout New Jersey who are diligently self-isolating to stem the spread of the coronavirus. To the New Jerseyans in the medical field, those working in grocery stores, law enforcement, public safety, on mass transit, in bodegas, and delivery people, the work you are doing is critical to ensure those in our communities continue to have access to medical care, food and other necessities. No matter how big or small the job, if you’re out there serving the public you are a testament to what community stands for and I applaud you.

My hope is that in a few weeks we will look back and see that our collective efforts to stay home and restrict contact with others paid off. That said, I strongly remind those who are still not taking this seriously to do so. Even if you feel well, you could pass it on to someone else more vulnerable. Now is not the time to act selfishly or to put those around you at risk; now is the time to do your part and be a good neighbor by staying home.

For residents who are now finding themselves out of work due to the outbreak, there are resources and benefits available to you. Details on those and eligibility can be found at nj.gov/labor/worker-protections/earnedsick/covid.shtml. If you are seeking to file for unemployment, visit myunemployment.nj.gov or call 201-601-4100, 732-761-2020 or 856-507-2340.

If the governor signs a bill I sponsor (A-3846), individuals temporarily out of work will also be able to seek relief under the Temporary Lost Wage Unemployment Program it creates. This would allow persons to claim for lost wages during the coronavirus outbreak and for employers to pay workers ordered to quarantine their wages. This and other bills that are part of the Assembly’s response to the coronavirus will provide much needed, comprehensive relief during this difficult time.

And again, if you are sick, isolate yourself from others and call your doctor before heading to a medical care center. This will help medical staff prepare for your visit. Remember to also follow CDC guidelines, washing your hands frequently, disinfecting touch points throughout your home and keeping a good six-foot distance from others; it could save lives.

If you have questions you can call 2-1-1 or New Jersey’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-962-1253. To sign up for updates text “NJCOVID” to 898-211 or visit www.nj.gov/health.

If you are a constituent and would like to get in touch with me, email aswchaparro@njleg.org. Alternatively, you can reach out to Assemblyman Raj Mukherji at asmmukherji@njleg.org or state Sen. Brian Stack at senstack@njleg.org. I know anyone from our legislative team will be happy to assist you.

For Hoboken-specific updates please call:

  • General Hotline: 201-420-5620
  • Senior Assistance Hotline: 201-420-5625

I know the restrictions on travel are a disruption to daily life and can be tough, but together we will get through this. And when we all do our part, we will come out the other side of this stronger for it.

This letter to the editor was published by the Jersey Journal on March 20, 2020: https://www.nj.com/opinion/2020/03/pulling-together-in-crisis-pass-the-word-not-the-virus-bayonne-must-do-better-to-stop-virus-spread-letters.html