Hills community prepares for reopened retail, dining June 15


By Jared Mitovich

The Shoppes at DePiero Farm in Montvale, where many Hills students and families go to eat and shop, has seen its dining and retail closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During this quarantine, my family has been feeling tired when it comes to everything that is going on in the world. Since we own a business, it has definitely taken a toll on us,” said freshman Preet Patel.

Since [my family] own[s] a business, it has definitely taken a toll on us.

— Preet Patel

Many families in Montvale have been affected not only physically but financially and emotionally by Covid-19 and the current quarantine. People have lost their jobs or been furloughed. The financial consequences have had a trickle-down effect as one industry affects another and businesses both big and small are forced to make very tough decisions in order to stay afloat.  

“I feel as if we all want the same result. We want this quarantine to come to end and life to return to normal. Times have been crazy recently,” said junior Sam Schatzberg.

Aware of these concerns, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has been working on plans to safely reopen New Jersey communities such as Montvale. The state is already in the midst of the first stage of this plan, citing a decrease in hospitalizations and a large increase in testing. The next step –– Stage Two, as Murphy calls it –– would be to allow certain businesses and activities to reopen, which Murphy has said would begin on June 15.

“I miss going shopping with friends and eating out at restaurants. Staying at home with not much to do has proved to be very draining,” stated freshman Nicole Ensmann.

During Stage Two, retail locations will be open to the community as well as limited outdoor and indoor dining, limited personal care, libraries and museums, child care centers, and summer school. Summer camps also have a chance of returning with social distancing in mind.

“Everyone that I’ve talked to seems to have completely different opinions on this situation. Many Hills students would like the reopening to happen because they want to go back to school in a ‘normal’ way starting this fall,” continued Patel.

It is clear that people have mixed opinions and feelings about this time; to paraphrase, we are all in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat. Individual opinions about the coronavirus, the quarantine, and reopening are largely based on an individual’s personal experiences and the lens through which they view the world. Everyone’s experience is different. 

Safety is definitely important when going about something such as this, but I believe that returning to a sense of normalcy is even more crucial.

— Nicole Ensmann

“Safety is definitely important when going about something such as this, but I believe that returning to a sense of normalcy is even more crucial. Our local businesses are suffering because of this time of quarantine,” continued Ensmann.

Murphy is pushing to reopen but understands that it must be done very cautiously. Public spaces such as restaurants, bars, and clothing stores must have a maximum capacity for the number of people that are allowed in at a time. Protective masks are important, but sometimes, these safety precautions prove to be unhelpful. Overall, his goal is to see the economy open as swiftly and safely as possible.

“With everything that is going on in the world today, I know that it is important that we all do our part to keep each other safe. Although I would like to see our community recover from Covid-19, I also know that our state is doing the best that it possibly can,” said freshman Isabella Gudin.

It is more important than ever that we have empathy and compassion for one another. This will all be behind us one day, and how we handle things will greatly determine how we move forward. The Montvale community will no doubt emerge stronger as a result of how we are handling all of this. At the end of the day, everyone wants the same thing. Everyone wants this to be over.