To all LBI residents (full time or otherwise)
The Commissioners of Long Beach Township just enacted a ban on short term rentals on LBI through May 1st of this year in an attempt to reduce the influx of potentially Covid infected individuals. As most are aware bridge closures to barrier islands including the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Key West Florida are in effect. I will again remind residents that any action with regard to our bridge closure is the purview of the State of NJ. The rationale for this recent decision to restrict rentals was explained in my previous letter recognizing the limited resources that are here in the off-season.
Recent events have shown why such action is necessary as a reporter from NY who traveled to Ship Bottom is likely an index case here on LBI (there will likely be additional). While no official travel ban was in effect in early March there was ample evidence (especially to anyone involved in the crisis) that senior citizens were at an elevated risk and that NY city was an epicenter for the virus. I am not suggesting that this individual purposely infected anyone and I have great empathy at this point as she realizes what has transpired. However, her mothers care at Southern Ocean Medical Center was entirely appropriate and her call for more testing is obvious and when readily available, they will be employed. Fortunately test availability and more importantly turn around time is rapidly improving.
For those of you who are here the impact of the virus is clearly escalating in Monmouth and Northern Ocean County and it remains to be seen if a surge will affect Southern Ocean County, but it certainly seems likely. At this point we are just asking everyone (whether a year-round resident or second home owner) to respect the governors’ guidelines. That means that you should not travel to your Shore home after being exposed in Northern NJ/Philadelphia or NY. Additionally, certain groups that continue to congregate in large numbers despite the warnings place our entire society at risk and is quite a selfish act.
Finally, I would encourage all of you to reach out to an elderly neighbor or relative (by phone or from at least six feet away with a mask) as many of these individuals are suffering from severe anxiety. This is further complicated by their isolation.
The governing body will continue to make strides to maximize our community’s safety. I am intimately involved in the developments at our local hospital and within the healthcare system.
Personally, I think from a mental health perspective it is probably beneficial to get outside and walk/bike or go to the beach and no one is going to restrict those activities as long as you remember what is the new buzzword “Social Distancing. “
Be kind to one another.
Joseph Lattanzi MD