Friday, March 27, 2020

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: "Help Hoboken"

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors, 
Thank you to all who quickly let me know some of the important links in this didn't work!  TGIF...
I hope that you are safe and finding sanity during these trying times.  My natural state is to look for the positive in things.  And amidst this crisis, although we are being bombarded with fear and bad news everywhere we go, one of the sources of light is seeing the many in our community who want to help others.  If you are one of them, and I am sure you are, here are a few ways you can:
More Food for More People
TO VOLUNTEER please call 555/285-6444 or email  
TO CONTRIBUTE non-perishable foods, go to or the pantry section of any other online retailer/grocer.  Unfortunately at this time, no in person contributions can be accepted.
TO DONATE, go to  
(pdf of flyer attached with embedded links)
IF YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW IS HUNGRY, please call 555/265-6555 or email to receive confidential support and request a food delivery.
In addition to the public health emergency, a big concern I have had, like I am sure many of you, is the sudden crisis that will leave many we know (and don’t know) without a reliable source of income creating housing and food insecurities.  For the past two weeks I have joined Councilmembers Ramos and Falco in working to expand Hoboken’s current network of food sources.  We have partnered with the Hoboken Community Center, led by the indomitable Toni Tomarazzo, to expand the footprint of HCC’s Food Pantry to reach more of our neighbors during this time of need.  With help from the administration and Hoboken's OEM and CERT teams, the expanded Hoboken Food Pantry was relaunched on Wednesday and already has received great support!  
With donations received we have already been able to buy 2000 lbs. of food from the Community FoodBank of NJ for delivery next week.  We have received requests already from 45 families and expect more.  But this is just week one!  Please consider volunteering, contributing or donating to help address what we think will be a continuing and growing need.  Let’s make sure no one goes hungry in Hoboken.
To Support Your Local Businesses is a site that was founded just two weeks ago to support businesses who have been devastated by this crisis.  They already have 14,000 restaurants on their site, include almost 100 from Hoboken.  Its as simple as going to the site, typing in 07030, and seeing all the Hoboken businesses.  These businesses are still operating but with new business models just to survive – takeout and delivery or mail order.  So buy a gift card for your own use or as a gift instead of cash.  Every little bit counts.  
If you have a favorite store that you do not want to see close, then do your part.  Also, if you see that one of your favorite businesses is not included, reach out to the business and tell them they can easily just add themselves here.
Give Life
At the core of any public health crisis is having a sufficient blood supply to support those in need.  There are two different blood drives next week. The first is April 2nd and 3rd at All Saints Episcopal Day School.  There are still some slots left, so click here to reserve.
The second blood drive will be one organized by the City of Hoboken on April 8th at the Multi Service Center.  Details to follow.
Hoboken and Hudson County Regional Medical
As the number of Coronavirus cases increases – as of this writing we are at 56 – the City of Hoboken’s Health Department, which like many are not adequately staffed for a public health crisis, is looking for either a public health nurse or epidemiologist to assist with the caseload.  If you are someone with this background and want to help, please email Director Leo Pellegrini at  
A COVID-19 Test Center just opened at the Hudson County Regional Hospital this past week.  Medical and non-medical volunteers are being requested.  Please contact Christina Butieb-Bianco at if you are interested in volunteering.
  • Medical volunteers to conduct testing are needed for 9AM to 6PM.  These individuals may be: perfusionists, physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, paramedics, respiratory care practitioners, medical technicians, laboratory technicians, emergency medical technicians. Fit testing and training will be provided to those who volunteer. 
  • Non-medical volunteers are being requested to assist with a call center for scheduling from 9am-9pm. This will be done at the Hudson Regional Hospital as well.  Training will be provided; volunteers need to be able to read a script, answer calls and take down non-medical information (check boxes). 
The Very Best Way to Help
No one is saying you should do this 100% if the time.  Walk your dog.  Buy food.  Exercise. But if you do, KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHERS.  Even if for some reason you are less concerned about all this, do it for and respect your neighbors, your friends, and/or the many other people around you who are concerned.  And if that isn’t enough, do it for my mom.  Or your mom.  Or your friend’s mom.  And if I still haven’t convinced you, do it for these men and women:  
To Every Single Person You See Working For You
Firemen/women, policemen/women, ambulance drivers, doctors, nurses, all healthcare workers, cashiers, delivery people, postal workers, concierges, porters and maintenance staff, building managers, trash workers, truck drivers, baristas, childcare workers, cooks, grocery store workers, dog walkers, toll workers, plumbers, electricians, government workers, fast food workers, bus drivers, transit workers, and veterinarians (my apologies for anyone I have missed).  You don’t have to think long and hard about what this would be like without them.
  • 201-420-5625 - Hotline for Hoboken seniors requesting assistance, or anyone in contact with a Hoboken senior in need.
  • 201-420-5620 - Hotline for people who want to volunteer to help seniors. 
Everyday - 9 am until 8 pm
I prepared a list for our CERT team of Hoboken’s seniors (>65) using voter data that even excluding those not registered still totals about 3,300.  Not all need help but the goal is to reach all those that do.  If you or anyone you know may need help, either have them call the Senior Hotline above or call on their behalf.  I have already called twice to help two neighbors who needed help getting groceries and prescriptions.  Super easy and our amazing Hoboken CERT team is manning the phones and providing the supportive services. 
  • Hudson County CASA (Advocates for Children in Foster Care) - Children who cannot attend school and are confined to their homes need learning materials and fun things to do. This is particularly true for foster children who have far fewer resources than middle-class kids. Please help the children served by Hudson County CASA, run by our Hoboken neighbor Bev Savage, by sending them workbooks, art supplies and games from CASA’s Amazon Wishlist to enjoy while they wait out COVID-19.
I haven’t written as much recently because there is mainly only one topic in front of us right now that is on all our minds - coronavirus.  And I don’t want to muddy the waters with even more, mostly repetitive, information.  That said, know that I am continuing to advocate for our community.  Among others ways, stressing the importance of having daily calls between the City Council and the administration, strongly advocating to keep dog parks open (while simultaneously advising neighbors to practice social distancing), requesting the City provide much needed recovery information around our positive Coronavirus cases and providing suggestions to help make our open spaces safer for people to use.  Additionally as a board member of the Hoboken Business Alliance, I have been working with the rest of our board to build the engine necessary to help our businesses and Hoboken recover from this crisis.  As this effort grows, please follow HBA on social media (FBIGTwitter) and join a social movement, #HereForHoboken, to show the power of social media and bringing the community together across 07030.  
Tackling this catastrophe is a team effort.  And by team, I mean ALL of us.  Top to bottom, left to right, and everywhere in between.  We will get through this together because it is the Hoboken way.
If you, or if you know anyone who might need anything during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and I will do my best to help. As always, please forward to anyone you think may be interested in receiving this.  Feel free to email me at or call me at 201-208-1674 to discuss what you have read or anything else that is important to you.   
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
Engage. Inform. Advocate.
“More Voices are Better”
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Councilwoman Jen Giattino: "Coronavirus Information"

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors,
The number of cases in Hoboken:
We now have 56 cases. Please keep in mind, fortunately, most of these folks have recovered or are recovering.
What can you do to help:

Hoboken Food Pantry
Volunteer: 551-285-6444 or
All Saints Blood Drive April 2nd and 3rd
What I can do to help:

Please just ask. I have lots of folks reaching out wanting to volunteer in many ways. This is a first for all of us.

Acme has made each aisle oneway. Making it easy to social distance! 
Helpful Numbers and Website:

COVID-19 hotline is 201-420-5620
Seniors requesting assistance is 201-420-5625
If you or anyone you need is experiencing food insecurities call 551-285-6555 for confidential support
New Jersey programs and information, please call 2-1-1. If this matter is related to business matters, please visit
Distribution for free and reduced lunches for students click here
I am periodically updating my FB page with information.
We are a tightknit, strong community. We all need to do whatever we can to support our local businesses and restaurants. Order in if possible. Buy gift cards. If you are now working from home and can, continue using local services responsibly. If you don't need the services but can continue to pay them this could be the difference in their economic survival, so please consider doing what you can.
As always please reach out with any questions, ideas, thoughts. 
If you need something or have a concern just reach out. I am most responsive by text but email and calling work as well.
Stay Healthy!

Councilman Phil Cohen: "Coronavirus Update, Special Hours at Supermarkets, and the Latest on the Census"

Official release:

Dear Neighbors,

In these extraordinary days, I want to thank each and every one of you for your perseverance and calm, as we pull together as a community in the face of an unprecedented pandemic.

Coronavirus Update
As of March 26, Hoboken, unfortunately, has 56 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. Some have completely recovered, a few are hospitalized, and the remainder are self-quarantined at their homes. 
Hoboken has been in the vanguard of our country’s fight against this novel Coronavirus. The City closed bars and restaurants and imposed a 10 pm to 5 am curfew on March 14th, days before Governor Murphy took similar State-wide action. On March 17, the City closed all non-essential businesses as well as all playgrounds, schools, movie theaters, daycares, and recreation centers. Hoboken has also limited public meetings to five people or fewer and has been pushing for a policy of social distancing. You can read more about this here. The Director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute was so impressed with Mayor Bhalla’s leadership that Dr. Ashish Jha stated on CNN “I think Hoboken probably is the model we all need to move towards now.” You can read more about this here.
These steps were put in place by the City of Hoboken to protect our healthcare system, by attempting to“flatten the curve” of expected new cases. See here πŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΌ
The City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) established hotlines for COVID-19 general information and for our seniors. The COVID-19 hotline is 201-420-5620 and the Senior Hotline is 201-420-5625 open 7 days a week from 9 am until 8 pm. Both hotlines are staffed by helpful volunteers waiting for your call. You can read more about it here.
On March 16th Mayor Bhalla sent a request to our Congressional representatives for federal aid for our struggling small businesses and their employees. You can view the letter here. It was great to see Hoboken’s and Hudson County’s Democratic and Republican Chairs join Mayor Bhalla requesting federal aid for our local businesses and their employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic because addressing the economic fallout from this national emergency is a non-partisan issue. You can read more about it here
To help small businesses in Hoboken, the City has partnered with Help Main Street to compile a central list of Hoboken businesses with online gift cards. It’s an easy way to purchase multiple gift cards to lend a hand to our small business owners and employees. Visit the site here!
Donating Hand Sanitizer to the Housing Authority
As so many Hoboken residents have done, I, too, have looked for opportunities to help our neighbors. Recently, I was fortunate to acquire a 200-ounce lot of hand sanitizer. I left the lot with my friends at Fox Hills Gardens at the Hoboken Housing Authority’s office. Working with Director Recko and the HHA staff, the hand sanitizer was distributed in Fox Hill and other HHA buildings to better protect our most vulnerable neighbors.

Hoboken Supermarkets and Walgreens Help Our Seniors
Shop-Rite, Kings, and ACME
Our Hoboken supermarkets are now providing special hours for the vulnerable in our community. Shop-Rite, Acme, Trader Joe’s, and Kings supermarkets are all taking steps to help our Seniors (65+), pregnant, immunocompromised, and disabled members of our community, setting morning hours for exclusive access. You can view their hours in the chart below. 

Trader Joe’s and Walgreens
Monday I spoke with the manager at Trader Joe’s, and he confirmed that every day, from 9-10 am, there will be a separate line outside the store for Seniors, disabled, immunocompromised, and pregnant customers. The store will not be closed to other customers, but our vulnerable neighbors will have priority from 9 am to 10 am. 
Additional Trader Joe’s COVID-19 policies include:
 - 50 person occupancy in store
 - Hand sanitizer at entrance and exit
 - Only half the store’s registers are open, leaving spacing between registers. 
Walgreens’ manager confirmed to me that Walgreens now has Senior hours every Tuesday morning from 8 am - 9 am.
Thanks to Hoboken’s supermarkets and Walgreens for stepping up and working to better serve our community at this extraordinary time

Filling out the Census!
Hoboken residents should have received notices about their Census forms in the mail. In order to be eligible for critical funding for our schools, roads, housing initiatives, non-profits, and so much more, it is critical that all Hoboken residents complete the 2020 Census. It takes less than ten minutes to fill out the questionnaire online but creates a big impact on the community. In order to get the funding we will need from our state and federal government in response to COVID-19, Medicaid, Medicare and more, we must be counted. You can see more about the importance of completing the Census here

March’s Coffee with Cohen
Thanks to our hosts at Tosti Cafe, and the 5th Ward residents and business owners who stopped by and joined my Coffee with Cohen event March 2nd. Special thanks to Jay Geldziler from Assemblyman Raj Mukerji’s Office, Councilwoman Emily Jabbour and my daughter Madeline for stopping by.  I enjoyed answering questions and discussing our response to the Coronavirus, the status of NY Waterway negotiations, the NJ Transit railyard development and historic preservation, Hoboken’s Hospital, our City budget, and sunken boats in Weehawken Cove over coffee and yummy croissants.

Announcing April’s Coffee with Cohen, the Home Edition!
In our new era of self-isolation and social distancing, I am pleased to announce that my next constituent meeting will be Coffee with Cohen, the home edition!
This will be a Facebook Live Chat. Bring your coffee, set up your phone or laptop, and we will live chat together. Mark your calendars, for the first Monday of the Month, April 6 at noon, where we will share your questions and comments, from your home. You can rsvp and see details here! 
Are You a Public Health Nurse or an Epidemiologist? Hoboken Needs Your Help. 
The City of Hoboken is looking for volunteer public health nurses and epidemiologists to assist with managing COVID-19 data issues.  Please email Director Pellegrini at with the subject line “public health nurses and epidemiologists” if you can assist. 
If you want to reach out, or I can ever be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me at 
Thanks, and best wishes to you and your family.  
Stay safe everyone!

Phil Cohen
5th Ward Councilman
City of Hoboken, New Jersey
(862) 234-9053
P.S. You can learn more about me and my ideas for Hoboken on my website,