Letter to the Editor: Where Are Our Town Officials?

Ilson Goncalves of Samba Montclair writes the following letter and adds that he will be helping to form an advisory committee and requesting a Zoom meet-up with the Montclair BID and the new township council.

This is an open letter from a restaurant owner in Montclair (Samba Montclair). Where are our town officials? Why aren’t they helping business owners in our time of need?

Everyone says “We are in this Together” but it is the small business owners that are being hit the hardest.

In many towns such as Caldwell, Red Bank, Hoboken, Jersey City and Verona, officials are helping restaurants by placing barriers curbside to allow for more space and safety for outside diners. Though my restaurant offers outside dining, I do not feel that my customers and staff are safe because of the absence of some type of barrier. Montclair is doing nothing.

I’ve been in Montclair for 16 years. It is a beautiful, thriving town with a diversity of cultures and cuisines and great community support, but the mayor and town officials have been absent. It is so sad to see how once thriving businesses have now closed their doors. All of them my neighbors. It is disgusting!

Even during these tough times, they are still issuing tickets to increase their revenue while we are trying to keep our businesses afloat. No help to the consumer or business owner by covering parking meters to offer free parking which other towns are doing.

Some suggestions I have are to put out curbside barriers, close off portions of some streets on the weekends that have multiple types of businesses that can conduct business outside safely, similar to an open market/mall-type setting while wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

Reverse this situation. Do something now!

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