COVID-19 Updates

To keep the public informed, the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders are providing regular updates in government services and pertinent links regarding COVID-19. The Coronavirus is a serious illness that spreads from person to person. Cape May County official are working closely with the State and Federal Government to provide the latest information to help mitigate the spread of this virus.

Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton and Freeholder Jeffrey L. Pierson, who oversees the Cape May County Department of Health want to assure everyone that the County is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in Cape May County and throughout the region. Their foremost goal is to protect the well-being of our employees and families as well as our residents and visitors and continue to provide essential services to our County.

County government will continue to operate, and all government functions will be offered with some adjustments including limited hours of operation and reduced services. Communications remain open and the public is encouraged to call or email for needed services or information.

We are all working together to keep you informed and safe.

Gerald M. Thornton, Freeholder Director
Jeffrey L. Pierson, Freeholder, liaison, Health and Human Services.

The Board of Chosen Freeholders has passed a resolution regarding COVID-19, click here to view the resolution.

Governor Murphy Announces Blood Donation Drives Are Critical to State’s Health Care Needs and Can Continue Operations

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy and Superintendent of State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan today announced an Administrative Order that permits blood donation drives to continue in order to meet the critical medical needs of New Jersey residents. In order to operate, blood drives must undertake appropriate mitigation efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including incorporating social distancing where practicable.

“Blood donation drives are a vital and essential activity that our health care systems rely on to complete surgeries, treatments, and critical care,” said Governor Murphy. “The COVID-19 outbreak threatens to disrupt our blood supply and we must continue these operations to ensure that we can meet the critical medical needs of all New Jersey residents.”

“I know so many of us feel helpless in the face of this particular crisis, so there is something you can do to help those in need. I urge you to contact Bergen Regional Community Blood Center, New Jersey Blood Services, or the American Red Cross and make an appointment to give,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “There are locations throughout the state with flexible hours to accommodate our communities.

It’s one concrete way we can all roll up our sleeves and help if you’re in good health and you’re feeling well. If you don’t feel well on the day of your scheduled appointment, please cancel your donation. But if you’re in good health and feeling well, please donate blood to help our communities.”

The Administrative Order clarifies the following:

  • Pursuant to paragraph 5 of Executive Order No. 107 (2020), in order to facilitate the continued availability of blood donation resources to meet the medical needs of New Jersey residents, blood drives are exempt from the terms and conditions of the Order regarding gatherings.
  • Blood drives may continue to operate but must undertake appropriate mitigation efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including incorporating social distancing where practicable, collecting blood only from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation, conducting temperature screens of both staff and donors before entering a blood drive, requiring the use of PPE, providing hand sanitizer to donors for use before the drive and during the donation process, and frequently sanitizing equipment and work spaces.
  • It is further clarified that nothing in Executive Order No. 107 (2020) limits, prohibits, or restricts the ability of New Jersey residents to participate in blood drives, including leaving their homes or places of residences to do so.

The order will take effect immediately.

“The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need,” says Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Blood donation is essential. During this uncertain time, we encourage individuals to keep scheduled blood donation appointments and to make new appointments for the weeks ahead to ensure a stable supply throughout this pandemic. Our sincere appreciation to the many here in New Jersey who gave blood, scheduled upcoming appointments and those who are hosting blood drives. It’s thanks to you and generous donors across the country, the American Red Cross has been able to meet immediate patient needs.”

U.S. Now #1 Worldwide For COVID-19 Cases, Domestic Travel Advisory for NY, NJ & CT

4/2/20- As of March 28,2020 the Centers for Disease Control urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.  New Jersey currently has 25,590 cases, and 537 deaths. As of April 2, 2020, Cape May County’s total has increased by 16 cases: 79-year-old female, 49-year-old male, 57-year-old female, 72-year-old male, 61-year-old male, 67-year-old male, 63-year-old female, 72-year-old female, 68-year-old male, 62-year-old female, 52-year-old male, 31-year-old female, 70-year-old female, 46-year-old male, 56-year-old female, 58-year-old male, bringing us to a total of 49 cases in the county; 13 individuals have fully recovered from COVID-19 in Cape May County. Testing is ongoing in Cape May County and New Jersey for individuals that are symptomatic and meet certain criteria in accordance to current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidance. For any medical questions please call your healthcare provider or call 211 for any general COVID-19 questions. 










































































“Cape May County officials urge individuals to stay at their primary residence. Social distancing remains the best prevention against COVID-19. Refraining from non-essential domestic travel can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help protect those around you, especially those at higher risk of serious complications,” said Kevin Thomas, Health Officer. 

If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 travel information, visit CDC COVID-19 Travel page.

Things to consider before travel according to Centers of Disease Control: 

  • Is COVID-19 spreading in the area where you’re going?
    If COVID-19 is spreading at your destination, but not where you live, you may be more likely to get infected if you travel there than if you stay home. If you have questions about your destination, you should check your destination’s local health department website for more information.
  • Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?
    Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like coronavirus may increase in crowded settings, particularly closed-in settings with little air circulation. This may include settings such as conferences, public events (like concerts and sporting events), religious gatherings, public spaces (like movie theatres and shopping malls), and public transportation (like buses, metro, trains).
  • Are you or your travel companion(s) more likely to get severe illness if you get COVID-19?
    People at higher risk for severe disease are older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes). CDC recommends that travelers at higher risk for COVID-19 complications avoid all cruise travel and nonessential air travel.
  • Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you are told to stay home for 14 days for self-monitoring or if you get sick with COVID-19?
    If you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, you may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. If you become sick with COVID-19, you may be unable to go to work or school until you’re considered noninfectious. You will be asked to avoid contact with others (including being in public places) during this period of infectiousness.
  • Do you live with someone who is older or has a serious, chronic medical condition?
    If you get sick with COVID-19 upon your return from travel, your household contacts may be at risk of infection. Household contacts who are older adults or persons of any age with severe chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Is COVID-19 spreading where I live when I return from travel?
    Consider the risk of passing COVID-19 to others during travel, particularly if you will be in close contact with people who are older adults or have severe chronic health condition These people are at higher risk of getting very sick. If your symptoms are mild or you don’t have a fever, you may not realize you are infectious.

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolves. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at, the World Health Organization at, the New Jersey Department of Health at For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at, also like us on Facebook.

For Additional Information:

Contact: Natalie Sendler 




3/30/20—The Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders is supporting a unanimous position from the 16 municipalities in Cape May County agreed upon on Monday, March 30th.  The position taken by the mayors is strongly discouraging short-term rentals of properties in the County for the duration of Governor Phil Murphy’s executive orders, and strongly discourages non-essential visitation to their communities by visitors and property owners during the length of the pandemic.  This policy was agreed upon during a conference call involving elected and appointed officials earlier today.

“County leadership applauds our municipal leaders for taking a proactive approach as we all work together to slow the spread of Covid-19”, said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton.  “We are very supportive of this practical and reasonable approach to coping with pandemic and urge everyone to follow the directives coming from the Office of the Governor and health officials.”

The unanimous position from the 16 County municipalities that includes the two specific requests reads as follows:

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the safety and welfare of citizens of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and Connecticut.  As an effort to protect our citizens, first responders, and others who are working collectively to provide essential services to us, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has issued a series of executive orders that have the force and effect of law.  These orders, in part, identify essential service and place travel restrictions in New Jersey.

As a result of this pandemic and in an abundance of caution and concern for everyone’s safety and well-being, the mayors of the 16 municipalities in Cape May County…from Ocean City to Cape May Point…are unified with two specific requests.  First, we are strongly urging the elimination of all short-term rentals for the duration of the Governor’s executive orders, which continue indefinitely until rescinded.  This appeal is made to all realtors, online rental platforms, and individuals.  Hotels and motels are considered to be essential services and we ask that they rent only to individuals who are performing essential functions per the Governor’s executive orders, not to traditional tourists.

Our second ask is for you to remain at your primary residence and adhere to social distancing practices.  Coastal mayors have been forced to make difficult and unpopular decisions including closing playgrounds and outdoor recreational facilities; some towns have been forced to close beaches and boardwalks, and others may follow suit, simply because social distancing guidance has been ignored.  We recognize that individuals love to visit the coastal region, and want to visit their second homes for a change of scenery.  That travel is contrary to the executive orders enacted by the Governor, and contrary to the guidance from health officials to stay at home as much as possible.  Elected officials from every community may be forced to enact further restrictions if this appeal is not followed.

We understand these are unconventional requests by elected officials who every day appreciate the visitation and investment in our communities.  However, we stand together in support of this position to protect you and your families so we can all enjoy good health when this crisis has passed.

Thank you from the mayors and elected officials from Cape May, Cape May Point, West Cape May, Lower Township, Wildwood Crest, Wildwood, North Wildwood, West Wildwood, Middle Township, Stone Harbor, Avalon, Sea Isle City, Dennis Township, Woodbine, Upper Township, and Ocean City.

Cape May County Bridge Commission Implements Cashless Tolling

The Cape May County Bridge Commission announced today they will implement cashless tolling at all Ocean Drive Bridges as of 6:00 a.m., Thursday, March 26, 2020.  This will remain in effect until further notice, as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. 

 The Ocean Drive Bridges include the  Middle Thorofare, between Cape May and Wildwood Crest; Grassy Sound  Bridge, between North Wildwood and Stone Harbor; Townsend’s Inlet Bridget, between Avalon and Sea Isle City; Corson’s Inlet Bridge, between Strathmere and Ocean City; and, Ocean City - Longport Bridge, between the northern end of Ocean City and Longport. 

Vehicles with E-ZPass will continue to be charged and the process will not change. The equipment in the lane will read your E-ZPass tag, and the cost of the toll will be deducted from the balance in your account, as usual.

Vehicles without E-ZPass can drive through the toll plaza and equipment installed in the lane will capture a photograph of the license plate and an invoice for the cost of the toll will be mailed to the registered owner.  The rate billed will be the regular cash toll rate; no additional administrative fees will be charged if invoice is paid within 30 days.

Motorists are reminded to continue through the lane without stopping while obeying the 5 m.p.h. posted speed limit.

Cash customers who do not want to be billed can open an E-ZPass account by calling the New Jersey E-ZPass Customer Service Center at 888-AUTO-TOLL (888-288-6865) or by visiting


The Cape May County Freeholder Board had a Special Meeting on Sunday to discuss what to do within the County regarding the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Some new changes include the Cape May County Park and Zoo and all the Cape May County Libraries Branches are closed to the public beginning on March 17. Also, Fare Free Transportation will only provide medical trips for dialysis, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and infusion therapy (life-saving treatments). They will also provide in-county shopping. The only out of county trips will be for Northfield Dialysis. All non-essential trips have been cancelled i.e. hair appointments, library, visitation, etc. This service reduction will go into effect Tuesday March 17 and remain until further notice. The Cape May County Freeholder Board also supports the decision by Governor Phil Murphy to restrict bars and restaurants to take out and delivery services only during daytime hours.

The Board of Chosen Freeholders along with Cape May County Health Officer, Kevin Thomas highly recommend that all businesses limit employee and public interaction by restricting the number of customers to no more than 10 at a time. Social distancing measures will help minimize the potential spread of Covid-19 in our community.

Cape May County Government business will also be doing its part to limit social interaction by continuing to restrict travel for County employees, limiting interaction with the public for employees when it’s possible by pushing for teleconferences or online communications.

“All of the decisions made by the Freeholder Board are made with the ultimate safety of our residents at heart,” said Freeholder Jeffrey Pierson, liaison to Health and Human Services. “The County wants to take the lead role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and to protect those who are most vulnerable in our County.”

The Governor has recommended a curfew statewide from 8 P.M. to 5 A.M. All County employees are considered essential personnel and should be allowed to travel during those times if it is for work purposes.

The Freeholder Board also recommends Centers for Disease Control Guidelines for cleaning at businesses that remain open. It is recommended and requested that all businesses implement and strictly adhere to the CDC Guidelines for stringent workplace sanitizing and disinfecting, “social distancing” and, to every extent possible, limit public interactions within confined spaces.

“Cape May County has a significant elderly population and those individuals are at high risk,” said Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. “We have to do everything possible to limit the spread of the virus to ensure their safety. We are also taking these actions to protect our employees and the public through this event.”

List of cancellations and interruption of government services:

  • Crest Haven Nursing home has restricted all visitors from entering their facility.
  • A travel ban for employees going outside of the county has been enacted, effective 3/10.
  • All public events scheduled in which the public would be attending are suspended, effective March 16.
  • County employees are restricted from attending meetings with the public.
  • The Cape May County Parks & Zoo is closed until further notice.
  • All Cape May County Senior Centers are closed until further notice, effective March 16.
  • All Election Board Polling Classes have been canceled until further notice.
  • Cape May County Heath Care Resource Day scheduled on April 4 has been canceled.
  • The Cape May County Library branches are closed, and all events are canceled until further notice.
  • Reporting requirements have been suspended for all participants in the Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP) through March 31, 2020.
  • All US Coast Guard recruits confined to base and no graduation ceremony
  • The Surrogates Office will be closed to the public. It will remain open and fully staffed with completion of necessary services over the telephone, Internet, and regular mail.

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread

  1. Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
  1. If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
  1. If your children are sick, keep them at home. Do not send them to school. Contact your medical provider.
  1. If someone in your household has tested positive for the coronavirus, keep the entire household at home. Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Contact your medical provider.
  1. If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.
  1. If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lung or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.
  1. Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that you do your part to stop the spread of the coronavirus:
    1. Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.
    2. If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employers should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.
    3. Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
    4. Avoid eating or drinking in bars, restaurants, and food courts – use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options.
    5. Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
    6. Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
  1. Practice good hygiene:
    1. Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
    2. Avoid touching your face.
    3. Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
    4. Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.

* School operations can accelerate the spread of the coronavirus. Governors of states with evidence of community transmission should close schools in affected and surrounding areas. Governors should close schools in communities that are near areas of community transmission, even if those areas are in neighboring states. In addition, state and local officials should close schools where coronavirus has been identified in the population associated with the school. States and localities that close schools need to address childcare needs of critical responders, as well as the nutritional needs of children.

** Older people are particularly at risk from the coronavirus. All states should follow Federal guidance and halt social visits to nursing homes and retirement and long-term care facilities.

*** In states with evidence of community transmission, bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms, and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be closed.

The Cape May County Department of Health’s COVID-19 Informational Brochure can be viewed here.

For general questions about COVID-19, call the NJ COVID-19 & Poison Center Public Hotline at 1-800-962-1253 or 1-800-222-1222.

This page was updated on 3/25/20.