Brielle woman starts 'happy social distancing hour' on block

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Health officials have advised everyone to stay at least 6 feet apart from one another and to stay inside of their homes when possible. But a Brielle woman decided to start a new tradition to allow her neighbors to safely and responsibly see each other during this period.

For the past four nights at 5 p.m., Katie Ohme and her husband Joe have hosted a short, well-spaced gathering with neighbors out on the curbs in front of their homes on Schoolhouse Road.

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On this particular evening, Ohme starts off the festivities by playing the song “God Bless America,” while her friends chat from a distance and maybe share a drink. Neighbor Joan Brannick keeps her tape measure on hand to make sure everyone keeps a proper distance from one another.

“Six feet is what they say. So, 6 feet. Have a nice happy hour. Get out, get some air and be with our neighborhood friends,” she Brannick says.

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Ohme calls it a “happy social distancing hour.”

“We’re just trying to stay positive throughout these crazy times, and we just want to encourage our neighbors and everyone to come outside at 5 pm. And just simply wave hello to each other and smile and let them know they’re not alone,” Ohme says.

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Neighbor John Giblin even busts out his bagpipes to provide some tunes.

“These are tough times, but it’s nice that everybody can take a moment and remember that we’re all in this together,” says neighbor Greg Mooney.

Everyone typically goes back inside after about 30 minutes, telling each other that they will see one another tomorrow – a little togetherness in this troubling time.

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