The Ocean County Health Department has been at the forefront in providing information to help keep residents safe and healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic including relaying Governor Phil Murphy's social gathering and other compliance directives.

They are not however in the business of going into the community and enforcing these directives, that authority resides with the local police departments and the Prosecutors Office and in some cases State Police.

Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Dan Regenye said that what started as a few messages here and there has now turned into a steady stream of calls and emails into the Ocean County Health Department with people asking which agency is enforcing the social distancing requirements.

"Since the orders have come in over the last week or two with the Governors Executive Orders and recommendations of Public Health related to Social Distancing and some of the gatherings taking place, we're getting a lot of inquiries in terms of enforcement," Regenye told WOBM News. "While we're the messenger and there are many others with the same message, it would really be for law enforcement, the local police department who would be the enforcement agency."

The increase of compliance related calls to the OCHD is draining some of their resources.

"We're trying to focus our resources on where some of the need is and this is definitely a need we just want to channel it to the proper source and help the residents know where to go with these questions and concerns that they have," Regenye said. "It makes it easier for them as well, they don't need to call us, that call should go to the police department but we do encourage them that if they see something to say something and bring it to the attention of the proper authorities."

Many people and groups across Ocean County have been hunkering down and staying home, but others have not and are being criminally charged for violating Governor Murphy's executive order.

Regenye says one of the reasons social distancing is so important is to prevent exposure of the virus.

"Anytime you have a group of people coming together, that's the root of exposure of most concern when people get within six-feet of each other for prolonged periods of time," Regenye said.

He said we need to everything to protect each other especially the high risk populations which are senior citizens and those with underlying medical conditions.

For more information regarding this topic or social distancing measures, visit www.ochd.org or call 732-341-9700 extension 7411.

Call the NJDOH hotline available for questions at 1-800-222-1222 or dial 2-1-1.

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