Teaneck, New Jersey, asks residents to self-quarantine

"Stay home if you don't have to get out," the deputy mayor told the 'Post'

George Washington Bridge between New York City and New Jersey, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR)
George Washington Bridge between New York City and New Jersey, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR)
WASHINGTON – The local municipality of Teaneck, New Jersey, called on its residents on Saturday night to self-quarantine after 18 cases of coronavirus were discovered in the town, out of the 31 cases in Bergen County. Some 39,000 people live in the New York metropolitan suburb.
Deputy Mayor Elie Katz told The Jerusalem Post that as of now, the step is not mandatory. "We are asking residents – it's not mandatory – that they self-quarantine. Which means please practice safety; stay in the house if you don't have to go out.
"Tomorrow, we will require restaurants to have takeout and delivery only. We are going to close our parks and also our municipal building," Katz added. "The basic premise is that if you're sick, we don't want to get somebody else sick. And if you're not sick, we want to make sure you stay healthy.
"People could still go out," Katz clarified. "But we're asking that you practice social distancing. As far as supermarkets, we're going to come out with guidelines. We don't want you to take a family out [with you]. We are trying to discourage public gatherings."
Ross Rothenberg, an attorney who lives in Teaneck, told the Post that the local synagogue did not hold Shabbat services. "All the rabbis and all the heads of the local yeshivas and day schools here got together on Thursday, and they asked everybody to please self-quarantine and closed all of the synagogues around the area," he told the Post. "We were already home for Shabbat, but after [Shabbat], we heard that now the municipality asked to do it [as well]," he added.
"The synagogues were closed. Right before Shabbat, the head of the local Vaad of Rabbanim [rabbinical council] sent out an email that said, 'if you have a synagogue in your house, it's against Halacha [Jewish law],'" Rothenberg said. "If you try to have ten people in your house, you're going against the Halacha."
"It was difficult not to go to synagogue on Shabbat," he continued. "However, when you receive a letter from the rabbi saying they themselves will be home – we actually had a beautiful Shabbat with the family. We tried to do everything as normal as possible. We dressed in Shabbat clothing; we said tefilah [prayer] together. And we played games throughout Shabbat. Considering everything, it was a very nice Shabbat and as normal as it could be."