State Sen. Steven Oroho (R-24) believes it’s time to let all businesses reopen in New Jersey, saying that Gov. Phil Murphy’s multi-stage reopening plan is being rolled out in “an arbitrary and inconsistent fashion.”
Under Stage 2, restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining and non-essential retail stores for shopping at 50% capacity on June 15. Beauty salons and other personal care businesses welcomed back customers June 22.
Aquariums, museums, bowling alleys, batting cages, arcades, boardwalks, shooting ranges and libraries are scheduled to reopen at 25% capacity on July 2, along with indoor dining, casinos, playgrounds, water parks and amusement parks.
Allow All Business to Reopen
Gyms and fitness centers may start offering “individualized training sessions by appointment” on July 2, but must remain closed along with other indoor venues like movie theaters, concert venues and nightclubs, the governor announced during a June 24 COVID-19 media briefing.
Oroho states that as the objective of the shutdown was to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed has been accomplished, it’s now time for the governor to allow all New Jersey businesses to reopen.
“Frankly, if a business can comply with appropriate safety protocols that align with CDC guidelines, it makes no sense to deny them the ability to reopen,” the Sussex County State Senator said in a June 24 press release.
Increase Gym Availability
Gyms and fitness centers, in particular, need to reopen, the Republican senator said.
“Regular exercise is a powerful tool that can improve your physical strength, mental health, immune system, and overall well-being,” he said. “With heightened isolation and reduced physical activity being an adverse effect of the COVID shutdown, the importance of re-engaging in physical fitness cannot be understated.”
“Allowing gyms to open while ensuring social distancing, sanitation measures and safety parameters are in place will keep both patrons and employees healthy, safe, and well.”
Oroho is not alone in urging for a swifter reopening.
The New Jersey Business Coalition, a group of more than 100 business and non-profit groups across the state, believes all businesses “are deserving of the chance to show they are capable of exercising the same safety precaution protocols that are being used by other reopened businesses.”
“The thousands of Main Street and small businesses that remain closed under EO 107 can no longer withstand the loss of ongoing revenue and must be given the opportunity to reopen, as long as they can do so in a responsible manner,” the coalition said in a June 23 statement.
Indoor Spaces Harder
Stage 3—which includes expanded dining and personal care services and limited entertainment businesses—could come within weeks, not months, if New Jersey’s coronavirus outbreak continues to slow, according to the governor.
But reopening indoor spaces is “harder” especially because a second COVID-19 wave is anticipated, Murphy has said.
During Wednesday’s briefing Murphy said, “We would love to be able to open those things up. We just are not there yet. We just don’t think it’s the responsible thing to do.”