Montclair COVID-19 Cases Climbing, Mayor Announces COVID-19 Task Force

COVID-19 cases are rising at a frightening rate in New Jersey – 14,566 cases in the last four days, bringing the state total number of cases to 281,493.

New Jersey Gov. Murphy, who retightened restrictions on indoor and outdoor gathering in the state, said Monday that Sunday and Saturday’s numbers are the first- and second-highest daily counts recorded in the state since the first confirmed case when the pandemic hit New Jersey on March 4th, 257 days ago.

Locally in Montclair, the number of COVID-19 cases are climbing dangerously and the curve is going in the wrong direction, as this chart created by resident Michael Schreiber illustrates. Montclair Public Schools announced Wednesday that all schools would remain on remote instruction, citing risk of community spread and rising COVID-19 cases in the township. Many residents have voiced their concerns on social media, calling for more information on how the virus is spreading in the community and more response from the Mayor and township officials.

COVID-19 chart by Michael Schreiber

Gov. Murphy is allowing local municipalities to regulate the operating hours of non-essential businesses after 8:00 p.m. as a way to reduce community spread. Mayor Sean Spiller told Baristanet on Friday that he was “confident that this additional potential tool will be utilized as appropriate to continue to protect against this virus.”

On Monday, Mayor Sean Spiller and the Township of Montclair announced the formation of the Mayor’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.

The Mayor’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force will be charged with working alongside community stakeholders and liaisons from all levels of government to identify and implement innovative solutions to help Montclair residents, small businesses and nonprofits get back on their feet.

David Pascrell

The 22-member Mayor’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force will be co-chaired by Montclair residents David Pascrell and Shante Palmer.

Pascrell is an attorney and co-chair of the Government and Regulatory Affairs department at Gibbons P.C. Palmer is the Director of Government Relations at Montclair State University.

Shante Palmer

“I am honored Mayor Spiller has asked me to serve on the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. I look forward to working with the Mayor, fellow task force members and residents to help jumpstart our recovery in Montclair,” said Pascrell.

“The Mayor’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force will bring to bear the enormous talent, spirit and creativity of our community as we continue to combat the most pressing public health and economic crises of our time,” saidPalmer.

Mayor Sean M. Spiller said the ongoing and unprecedented nature of the Coronavirus pandemic led him to the creation of a specialized task force that will add to actions already taken including the awarding of $150,000 in small business grants, a $60,000 grant to Toni’s Kitchen to help meet demand, parking fee suspensions, deferral of property tax payments, an extensive contact tracing program administered by the Montclair Department of Health and Human Services, increased testing capacity in partnership with Essex County, and a new partnership with Governor Murphy’s office to provide more pre and post-holiday testing.

“The Coronavirus has upended virtually every aspect of our society. In the face of this unprecedented challenge, Montclair has answered with the compassion, ingenuity and resilience our township is known for. The COVID-19 Task Force will be laser-focused on identifying need in our community, cultivating public/private partnerships, and reviewing the whole-of-government response to the Coronavirus pandemic to help Montclair robustly address this and prepare for future public health crises.”

The Mayor’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, November 17th via Zoom.

About the Mayor’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force

Shante Palmer, Co-Chair

David Pascrell, Co-Chair

Small Business
Lead – Raj Amin (Founder/Managing Director Teem Ventures)

Lynette Brubaker (Founder/CEO LHB Group)

Jonathan Echeverry (Owner Paper Plane Coffee Company)

Eliot Mosby (Owner Montclair Diner)

Maureen Parker


Lead – Ed Remsen (Former Mayor of Montclair)

Anne Mernin (Executive Director Toni’s Kitchen)

Jeff Plaut (Partner Global Strategy Group)

Albert Pelham (President Montclair NAACP)

Rev. Ann Ralosky (First Congregational Church)

Maureen Parker

Community Stakeholders

Lead – Roger Terry (Former Montclair Deputy Chief of Police)

David Placek (Managing Partner BDP Holdings, LLC)

Reginald Jenkins, Jr. (Partner Chasan, Lamparello, Mallon & Cappuzzo)

Don Zief (Former Montclair Third Ward Councilor)


Deb Cornavaca (Deputy Chief of Staff – Governor Murphy)

Ira Karasick & Brian P. Scantlebury (Montclair Township Representatives)

Damen Cooper (Montclair Public Schools Representative)

Jason Gleason (Montclair Business Improvement District)

Zina Floyd (South End) & Paul Giordano (Upper Montclair) (Business District Leaders)

Representatives from Rep. Payne & Rep. Sherrill’s Offices

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  1. Only 4.5 months late. And still too little. Other nearby towns had serious advisory groups in place in the spring. Certainly by the time this new Council took office – July 1.

    Pro-active leadership is not Mayor Spiller’s strong-suit. Look how long it took him to work with the BID, while local businesses were dying here — just to start to help them with double parking easing and sidewalk pick-ups? Right in the middle of the first wave of pandemic.

    Does he really think a photo op smiling on Church Street covers all that up? Sorry. All retail business owners know this new Council moved like snails. With returning hold-overs focused only on their re-election in the spring. They did doing nothing on this during the election campaign. When it was really needed. Then whined when people criticized them. But no one is fooled now by a $150,000 grant hand-out. It’s a pittance when spread out for all businesses. There were millions out there for community relief. We’ve done nothing to try and get our piece of that. Other towns moved months ago.

    Today, here’s the usual parade of politico names for a window dressing Commission. And still no real directive and mandate. It’s all too little..too late. And the Mayor and Council are directly responsible.

  2. And no one noted from the Senior Citizen Community. They missed that one like the town continues to miss seniors as a low cost, but economically beneficial constituency here that still gets little help planning for their needs.

  3. Is it just me? It looks like Mayor Spiller advisory committee’s purpose is getting Jeff Plaut’s expertise pro bono. I am surprised at the makeup of the other 15 members. I personally would have taken 15 people off Montclair’s streets. Then the 9 members who are just conduits (designated liaisons) would be of value. Totally weird.

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