As Hoboken adapts to a new normal with COVID-19, we continue to do everything we can to facilitate a safe and gradual re-opening. I’m proud to say that through virtually every step of the way, we’ve been ahead of the curve in proactive measures such as testing, legislation to help our small businesses, shutting down our City early to combat the spread of the virus, and more.

Here are some updates that we’ve recently put out via our Nixle email alert system:

Expanding outdoors with our business recovery plan

My staff in City Hall continues to work around the clock to assist each individual business owner looking to expand outdoors, and I’m glad to share that our business recovery plan has provided a helping hand during this critical time. Over 20 business have been approved for parklets and streateries, which allow restaurants to use additional space to expand capacity given the indoor limitations. They’ve proven to be a big hit with customers, have helped facilitate a safe, socially distant experience for everyone, and beautified our neighborhood in the process.


Elysian Cafe’s new socially distant parklet

If you’re a business looking to expand outdoors, it’s not too late – please visit

Additional regulations for outdoor dining

I’m appreciative that the large majority of business owners have taken the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of both customers and employees. At the same time, we are implementing additional safety measures that addresses the overcrowding and social distancing issues at a handful of establishments. These include wearing a face mask when standing in line at an establishment, the prohibition of serving “to go” drinks to patrons standing in line waiting for entry, and more. If a business is not able to implement these regulations after repeated warnings, the establishment may have their sidewalk café or expanded sidewalk café revoked by the Office of Emergency Management.

I’m hopeful, however, that this will not be necessary as City staff continues to partner with our small businesses for a safer experience for everyone.

Thank you to salons, barber shops, and nail salons for safety measures

Hair Cult at 1124 Washington Street

Congratulations to the barbershops, salons, nail salons, and more who safely opened up with several new safety precautions including required personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, and sanitizing procedures. Pictured here is staff from Hair Cult, which is requiring temperature checks, hand washing, a plastic bag for belongings, and more.

Continued testing for anyone who needs it

COVID-19 testing continues to be available for any resident or Hoboken business employee who needs it, whether you have symptoms or not. If you think you may have been exposed for any reason, please call our Community Emergency Response Team at 201-420-5621 to book a test through our continued partnership with Riverside Medical.

Hoboken Relief Fund

I’m thankful that the Hoboken Relief Fund, co-chaired by Councilmembers and co-chairs Jen Giattino and Phil Cohen, continue to raise money to help those residents and business owners who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. If you would like to apply to be considered for funding, it’s not too late – please apply by July 3 at

The next fundraiser is on Thursday, June 25 at 7:00 pm, a virtual Hoboken Relief Fund Music Festival that will be broadcasted at We continue to welcome anyone who would like to donate to this fund to do so at

Wear a face mask and help us save lives

Over 1,000 of those who attended Hoboken’s demonstration for racial justice were tested for COVID-19. The vast majority of participants wore face masks. None of those 1,000 residents tested positive for COVID-19. It isn’t a coincidence – face masks help prevent the spread of this deadly virus, which has not disappeared. I ask all residents to please continue taking the virus seriously and wear one whenever outdoors, especially when social distancing may be difficult. We are seeing major spikes in states that have re-opened without the proper precautions, and we need to continue to be vigilant to prevent a second wave of cases in Hoboken. Wearing a mask will help save lives. Please wear one.

Please avoid travel to hot spots

If you’ve traveled to a state with a large spike in recent cases, including Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and more, it is now a requirement for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents to quarantine for 14 days. I also ask anyone who is returning from these regions to also get a COVID-19 test at least 5 days after returning, for greater testing accuracy. If you have plans to travel to these areas, please try to reschedule given the surge of cases that are being reported.


Ravi S. Bhalla