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New Hope closes parking lots, removes benches to limit social distance violations

South Main Street in New Hope last Saturday

New Hope Borough announced Wednesday that it will close some public spaces to limit violations of social distance guidelines during the covid-19 public health crisis.

Crowds have descended on the downtown area during recent warm weekends, with some visitors apparently not following safety practices.

“We all want to enjoy New Hope as safely as we can,” said borough officials in a statement. “But some small groups are making that harder to do, and the borough has been forced to close some public spaces in the interest of public health. 

“Borough Police have responded to numerous calls from residents concerning gatherings at public facilities, clearly violating social-distancing guidelines that protect everyone’s health,” they continued. “As a consequence, the borough has no choice but to close some of these gathering spots.”

Parking lots at New Hope-Solebury High School and American Legion Post 79 on New Street will now be closed on weekends, as will borough-owned lots, officials said. 

The borough will also remove benches from public streets, grounds and parks.

“Many of our weekend visitors using them as places to eat takeout food and to picnic – contrary to the whole intent of the governor’s order closing restaurants for eat-in dining,” officials said. “Additionally, the borough has no way to sanitize the benches.”

Benches will be returned to their original locations when emergency declarations are lifted, officials said.

“We had hoped to keep these places open for our local community,” said New Hope Borough Emergency Management Coordinator Michael Cummings. “Unfortunately, some people are taking advantage of New Hope’s goodwill and using our public spaces for their personal tailgate parties, going so far as to promote them on social media.”

All 67 counties in Pennsylvania are under a stay-at-home-order through May 8. Freedom of travel remains, but state officials have asked the public to refrain from non-essential travel.

“It is plainly unfair when our shops and restaurants have to close to protect the public health just to see a handful of scofflaws parade around town ignoring the very same public health directives,” commented Cummings. “We can’t close the Lambertville Bridge and we can’t shut down the roads. We prefer not to issue citations, but rather provide education by instructing individuals to keep moving and practice social distancing. The quarantine can’t be lifted, allowing New Hope to return to normal, until after everyone follows the Governor’s stay-at-home order.”

“Those who choose to visit New Hope for a pleasant stroll or other outdoor exercise should be aware that there are no public restrooms available, and the public may not use the facilities in any the restaurants while the stay-at-home order is in effect,” added borough officials in their statement. “Additionally, parking has been significantly reduced during the coronavirus emergency.”


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Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • I’m interested in why conservatives maniacally prioritize right to “life” above anything else when that right impacts the lives of pregnant women, but they don’t prioritize right to life when it impacts their own ability to sit on benches?

  • Does anyone have any statistics as to how many people, if any, who live in the New Hope Borough have died? How many contacted the virus and are now recovered?
    Finally,is there any information as to how long after an infected person sneezes in an open space- on the street in a park or on a path do the particles stay in the air and how long before the particles become inert- no longer capable of infecting someone.

  • My daughter is working on the front lines at St. Mary’s hospital
    with Covid patients. Believe me, staying home for a few weeks is
    not that difficult if we can save some precious lives. The suffering is real.

    • Kudos and respect to your daughter. Maybe for the next “few weeks” free people in this country can decide whether they want to shelter at home or assume a risk (to themselves and, yes, others who choose to venture out) and get back into an open society

  • One good thing Police,Fireman and First Responders are getting the respect that they deserve after their demonization from so many. I salute them as I always have for the great work they do.Wake up America the Wuhan Virus will not defeat us if we remain sane and rationale.

    • Brenda,… sis, police are being demonized across the country when it comes to the handling and mistreatment of African Americans. One has nothing to do with the other. Also Brenda, I thought you would like to know, your racism is showing, just thought you might be embarrassed. The Wuhan virus.. really!?!…. why call it that, when diseases come from predominantly white places we just call them by their scientific name, but when they “originate” in places with majority of people of color we point our fingers and make sure those people are represented In the name of the disease. You need to wake up, you seem dizzy. I had time today.

      • Thought you might want to know sis, your selective hypersensitivity is showing. You conveniently and selectively forget about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (racist against the worlds whitest people, skiers in Colorado). Spanish flu, so-named when it was thought to have originated in Spain. German measles. Lyme disease, racist against the 2nd whitest people on earth from Connecticut

      • Guess you had time today, but not enough to type more than a letter for your name. Diseases have been named for their point of origin for many years. To distinquish this virus from all others, it is named the Wuhan virus, because like it or not, that is where it started. If you think this places blame on Chinese people, that is your racisim showing, not Brenda’s. Get the chip off your shoulder because it’s showing big time.

        • “To distinquish (sic) this virus from all others, it is named the Wuhan virus…”

          No, no it’s not. And certainly not for that reason.

          It’s named SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes is named Covid-19. Scientists did us the favor of giving them those names to distinguish them from all others. If there’s a small group of special people that can’t understand that, well…

          SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19, around the world, are what they are named – and if we need a shorthand nickname, literally everyone understands what we mean by just saying “coronavirus” or “corona”.

          The only people on the planet calling it “the Wuhan virus” or “Wuhan flu” are a group of cultists in America that mindlessly regurgitate whatever Dear Leader commands.

          And everyone outside of the cult knows exactly why.

          • Poor Cecil take off the beany Wuhan Flu it remains.Remember how we walk around Pronouns so much so I will call it Wuhan flu without a pronoun.

      • Not sure that Chinese is a race or that Chinese are “people of color” but I’ll defer your expertise on those subjects…maybe it’s just an anti-white thing, but that’s your cross to bear. Anyway I don’t think that searching for perceived racism around every corner is serving ANY positive purpose in these times.

      • I guess T stands for TDS.I really feel quite sorry for you T.One day you will grow up and be an adult.You certainly are acting like an uninformed child now.

      • I don’t care that swine flu killed 80k people. What really matters is the anti porcine nomenclature. it’s just so racist against animals of pork color.

  • Sandra, Deb, et al. –

    Can you point me to the part of the Constitution where you’re guaranteed parking lots and benches? I can’t seem to find it…

    The irony is these are the exact people that are going to be shocked that their behavior makes social distancing and quarantines necessary even longer, or worse yet – flout the common sense rules for “muh freedoms” so badly that a few weeks after things are loosened we’re right back to step one and the cycle repeats itself.

    Most of the planet is doing some form of this right this moment, whether it’s Dehli or Moscow or Paris or London or Sydney or…. you get the point.

    But leave it to some middle class/upper middle class/wealthy suburbanites to whine about benches.

    • Pay close attention to the “assemble” part, Cecil. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      • I know the Constitution well, but thanks. Now that you’ve narrowed it down, can you point me to the part where you’re guaranteed benches and parking lots?

        If you would like to assemble and protest, as we’ve seen in Harrisburg, it is allowed to happen – even when the protesters cosplay with their body armor and rifles. trying their best to look like members of ISIS.

        You have the freedom of speech (of course even that has bounds – you can’t yell fire in a theater, threaten violence, etc) – and likewise you have the right to walk around where you like. But in a time when the entire world is trying to mitigate a pandemic, your local leaders are not required to provide you seating.

        Th courts, straight up to the US Supreme Court, have always allowed for emergency measures during times of crisis provided they served the public good – and provided they are temporary and not arbitrary. That is exactly the case here.

        If you’d like to put your money where your mouth is and file a lawsuit against Wolf, I’d encourage you to. Others have tried around the country and failed miserably (Michigan most recently). It would be interesting to see where these ruling go as they climb up the court system, but in recent cases related to the current emergency (and, more importantly, historically), the case rulings are overwhelmingly not on your side.

        Your Constitutional rights are not being trampled on, regardless of what Mr. “bring the light inside the body” encourages through his Twitter addiction.

  • Wow lots of very gullible people here. Forming their opinions from 24/7 “panic porn” media. Think about it. There’s nothing to look at except CNN FOX MSNBC. Think of how they have raised their ad revenue with a captive audience of 300mm people, they’re making a killing, and they keep the eyeballs with their apocalyptic narrative. And they Can make Trump look bad with their panic porn to counter his efforts. They are all despicable, the media and every single politician. As to all you sheep…try to form your own opinion, behave as a responsible adult and not the brainless child of a news anchor or politician, and think about whether a couple eating lunch on a bench is going to kill somebody

  • this whole quarantine at home is crazy. Aside the violation of constitutional right to free association, this plan is not really affecting the virus. They talk about flattening the curve but recent reports have shown that a high percentage of people have already been infected with limited or no symptoms. Our rights are being trampled to protect a few allegedly. Where does the government get the power to lock us in our homes and prevent businesses from opening?

  • Right on, Mark. Selfishly whining about your “freedom” to infect others and violate public health laws would be laughable if it were so dangerous. Denying the science of distancing dooms us to continue this hardship even longer. I can’t imagine how these bleeding-heart morons would have reacted to the hardships of WWII, which dwarf this.

    • Just stay home, Bob of New Hope and if you believe the science, you won’t be infected. Do not confuse these guidelines & edicts as “laws” because they are not.

    • Lemmings….those of you who think this Corona virus is something to cry about, wear a mask , let to the government take away you rights. Lemmings, those of you who think big Parma and big media are not behind this. Now you lemmings will make it political. You lemmings follow the money.

    • Sheep! Social distancing was never intendec to reduce the number if infected just keep the load on hospitals down. I guess you deserve neither neither security nor liberty.

  • Unfortunately, the only big group that most of us see out are NHS 10th grade students, about 10 of them, hanging out as a big group in various lots, sitting right next to one another, without masks. Expected, but not appreciated.

  • What a bunch of idiots… So 2 people that live together, ride in a car together, order lunch “to go” together, then sit on a park bench to eat together – that’s a danger to others? The people that are reporting this activity have probably been quarantining themselves for years.

  • 1. As if New Hope Tourism was not down enough before the Coronavirus, why not advertise in Travel publications.. Come visit and stroll through New Hope right on the Scenic Delaware River.
    BUT.. before you pay a visit the Borough wants you to kind you will have park in another town, as we have NO public parking OR benches to sit or rest ., as we have removed them all.
    Man… oh .. Man .. I am so Glad I moved out of “ Dodge” ( meaning New Hope )
    recently… with NO intentions of ever returning again…. AMEN

  • New Hope Borough seem very happy for the building work to continue on the new hotel on South Main Street/S River Road. Vans and lorries jammed into the limited parking space around the new building, and maybe they are leaving the Legion parking space open during during the week for their benefit. A very corrupt bunch if you ask me.

    • I wonder if I take my household of 10 and go sit on blankets on the lawn beside the playhouse with out masks are the police going to arrest us all…do they have a jail cell large enough? I want my life liberty and pursuit of happiness.
      You guys/gals remember this , right.
      Are you going to let the Borough close up all business for an eternity ? As if enough businesses haven’t closed already.
      I simply can not believe that so many Americans don’t really see what is going on here. Don’t forget to get you flu shot and watch David Muir …got to bring the Bucks in!

    • As a resident of New Hope, and of Bucks County my entire life, I am glad that they are curbing tourism to the area during this time. I’m happy people find New Hope a beautiful place to visit, but it is not an open park. Many people treat the town as if it’s Disneyworld… well, sorry to say but Disney is closed for the time being. Be patient, enjoy nature and return to New Hope when the economy is open back up here.

  • I am so lucky to have lived the reality of the fact of this matter. This is not locals or people that respect the beauty of New Hope and the the treasure of that the people within are! I realize that New Hope is a “tourist” town. The fact is that some appreciate and the rest need to be I welcomed.!

  • As a resident of Bucks County and someone who patronizes New Hope, I find that this is the most inane idea I have ever heard of. So sitting on a bench out side of the Playhouse along the River with a breeze going increases someone’s chance of getting the covid? Not too many intelligent people involved in this decision. So there is a problem walking by empty store fronts….EMPTY, of which many will never open again. The Constitution of the US makes it my responsibility to stand up and shout from the streets when something is wrong. New Hope Borough you are violating my constitutional right.

    • Deb, I agree with you completely. People are following along with these “guidelines” like sheep, surrendering without a shot being fired. My favorite line from the story, ““Borough Police have responded to numerous calls from residents concerning gatherings at public facilities. . .” These residents are the same miserable people who as kids probably ran to the teacher to tattle on other kids. Inane ideas? I see people driving alone in their cars with masks! I am so tired of the lies, the hype and the panic/fear-producing media.

      • Sandra, completely agree about the snoops and tattlers in New Hope. As well some of the police are corrupt as hell and are probably paid by the tattlers to take some action. I knew one resident whose wife was slightly injured in a skiing accident while he was away on business. Upon his return someone called the police when they went to eat downtown. The cop tried to force his wife into a false confession that he had beaten her. She stood her ground and vehemently denied it. He screamed at her that she was lying. Finally the creep left.

    • Screw your constitutional rights when you and your ilk may be infecting other people. You are violating the constitutional rights of people who have a brain and want to stay safe. What happened to people like you who don’t care about the safety of others? God forbid someone like you gets the virus and our local hospitals have to take care of you because of your stupidity and the rights that you think you deserve

      • Calm down Mark and return to your bomb shelter. Next year at this time you will see how utterly ridiculous two thirds of this lockdown are proven incorrect. In 2017 60,000 died from flu alone and 60 million yes 60 million were infected.

      • Mark. I don’t agree with what you said and don’t think name calling and nasty comments are a very good way to respond. This is a whole new world now. People are being told to support local businesses and to practice social distancing. Very mixed messages. I for one would not wish anyone the virus. And we certainly didn’t wish it or cause it. I agree people need to follow safety but they also have the need to get out. Maybe the rule should be only so many people in town and some people from the community should step up and help make sure it happens. If everyone wore a mask and had sanitation with them and followed their part this would be a better and safer world right now. Panic is so wide spread now and I get it but any adult should be able to understand and follow directions but we all know that doesn’t happen.

      • Dear Mark, do you hear yourself? “Screw my constitutional rights?” Then you refer to our “stupidity and the rights that you think you deserve.” You have been well and truly brainwashed. Two months ago would you ever have imagined you’d say things like this? Stay in your house, don’t venture outside, then you won’t have to worry about any of this. This is government over-reach plain and simple.

      • Mark:
        Where does it say that people have a constitutional right to stay safe? It doesn’t exist. You can imagine one, or make up one but there is no guarantee of safety in the USA. it’s a trade off we make to be free. If you want the other, try Nazi Germany, of fascist Italy or Spain of 90 years ago.

    • By “expressing your Constitutional rights,” you are potentially prolonging the agony for the rest of us. The social distancing guidelines are in place for a reason. Those who abide by them should have their rights and their safety protected as well.

      There were reports last week that the problem on S. Main St. in New Hope was more than just “sitting on a bench.” There were crowds of people, many not wearing their face masks, and there were fist fights breaking out in the crowds. People were peeing in the parking lots because of the restroom closures.

      This becomes a major problem for the public works officials and the police officials.

      The sooner we abide by the state’s rules and guidelines, the faster we can re-open. EVERYONE wants that – not just the ones who march for their “freedom.”

      • so Jane Adope:
        do your rights take precedent over mine? Where is it written that your rights for health security rise above my rights for free association. Free association is written into the constitution. It says nothing about the right of government to force us out of public. If you’re afraid for your health, stay inside. If I’m not afraid, I should be able to go outside and associate with others like me.

    • “New Hope Borough you are violating my constitutional right.” Hahaha… which amendment is being violated? The right to a park bench? The right to paid parking? Get a grip people. Your constitutional rights are not being violated because your not allowed to walk around a town. Leave it to middle class Americans to think that having to stay home on the weekends is some great miscarriage of justice. What a joke.

      • The right of free assembly…the 1st Amendment. It’s kind of an important thing. The 5th Amendment guarantees the govt wont bar you from earning a living without due process. There’s also the 2nd Amendment, which, for better or worse, is being infringed. There’s also another document that talks about Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, which is about taking personal responsibility and being free from government tyranny. So the only joke, assuming you are an adult, is the quality of your junior high school education

    • We have some TDS in the comment section. Looks like poor little Mark watches to much CNN. He thinks the Constitution is optional.

      Dear Mark – please stay inside your home for the next few months so your derangement doesn’t spread.

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