COVID-19 Update from Mayor Manzo – 3/31/2020

Mayor Lou Manzo provides regular updates on the COVID-19 crisis. This is the 3/31 update.

Dear Residents & Business Owners:

Let me start with a correction regarding a recent update about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act (CARES Act). In deciphering all the criteria of eligibility, benefit amounts and exclusions, I made an error in the example I quoted. It’s best to repeat the basics here as I point to the error. The Act includes:

  • Eligibility is based on your 2018 Tax Return (or 2019, if already filed). All individuals earning less than $75,000 (Single Filer) or $150,000 (Joint Filer) will receive a $1200 check
  • That amount is reduced by $5 for every additional $100 earned and phases out to zero at $99,000 (Single) and $198,000 (Joint). Example: A Single Filer earning $80,000 would get a $950 check. ($5,000 earned over $75,000, divided by $100 = 50 X $5 = $250 decrease from $1200. Hence the $950 check)

Both those bullet points are totally accurate. Here’s where I made the mistake:

  • A $500 check for each dependent child (4 max) is included in the package. Example: A Married couple (Joint filer) earning under $150,000 with 4 children would receive a $3400 check ($1200 each plus $500 for each child).

Well that math doesn’t add up, does it? The total family benefit in my example should be $4400, not $3400 ($1200 for each parent and $500 for each child). I mistakenly cut ‘n pasted from an example that was a family of 4 (only 2 kids). Sorry. I boast of being a “numbers guy”, so I wince when I make a math mistake.


As of yesterday (March 30th), statewide there have been 16,636 positive tests for the COVID-19 virus, 25,224 negative tests and 198 deaths. In Gloucester County, there have been 89 positive tests, 627 negative tests and 1 death. Here in Harrison, we still have had only 3 positive tests. Our County Call yesterday included discussion about some of the economic aspects of recent actions at the federal and state levels. As the CARES Act is implemented, we will be provided guidance from the County Department of Economic Development which we will convey to you through these updates. Look for that information in the coming days.


The U.S. Department of Labor is rolling out The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.These provisions are effective on April 1, 2020. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will continue to provide compliance assistance to employers and employees on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA. The DOL has provided a summary of the key provisions.

Also, on the economic front, on Saturday Governor Murphy announced the initiation of programs intended to provide mortgage payment relief and additional financial protection for New Jersey residents facing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19. This includes more than 40 banks, credit unions and mortgage servicers agreeing to offer 90-day Grace Periods for mortgage-holders suffering a financial hardship because of the virus. More institutions are expected to follow suit in the coming days. For details and a list of lenders included, read the Press Release.


As we continue to stress the need to avoid contact with others and stay away from gatherings except as required (ie grocery stores, pharmacies, MD/Vet appts, etc.), we recognize the need for some exercise. These sentiments have been expressed at both the national and state level by our elected leaders. To that end, and now that we have an understanding of social distancing ingrained in our minds, we are making an adjustment to the use of our parks. 

Starting tomorrow, April 1st, the paths at both William Wilt and Ella Harris Parks will be open for use from 6 AM to 8 PM. All other aspects of the parks remain completely off limits. This includes all fields, courts, playsets and restrooms. Those restrictions remain in place until further notice. So, walk or bike or drive to a park and get some fresh air (that isn’t your own backyard, lol) and take a walk or run on the path. Stick to the 6-foot rule as you pass others and PLEASE do not stop and gather to talk on the path. Obviously, couples or families habituating the same house can enjoy a walk together. 

Our Harrison Team has been working diligently on several other initiatives that I will be rolling out to you in the coming days as we settle into this “temporary normal.” I reject accepting it as a “new normal” since that term implies it would be permanent. This will pass but all of us at the township will do everything possible to make this temporary way of life more bearable. 

Stay vigilant and take care of each other as we remain Harrison Strong.

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor