Assemblyman Brian Bergen blasted Gov. Phil Murphy for delaying the previously-announced reopening schedule for New Jersey’s restaurants, saying the governor was inconsiderate of the costs small businesses incur.
Originally scheduled for July 2, Murphy rescinded plans indefinitely to allow for indoor dining at 25% capacity. The governor cited citing health data from New Jersey as well as other states that he worried would cause a spike in coronavirus cases.
“After seeing COVID-19 spikes in other states driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining, we have decided to postpone indoor dining indefinitely,” said Murphy on June 29. “We’ve always said that we would not hesitate to hit pause if needed to safeguard public health. This is one of those times.”
Championing Small Businesses
“How can you tell restaurants that they can open, allow them to hire staff, order food, take reservations, invest in safety protocols, then rip away that permission in the eleventh hour?” asked Bergen (R-25).
The assemblyman defend small businesses across the state in his statement, saying they were among the hardest-hit businesses in the pandemic.
“Governor Murphy has demonstrated to us time and time again that he doesn’t understand small businesses and has no advisors that do,” said Bergen.
Restaurants Bill Vetoed
Bergen argued that although the closures were to be based on citizens from other states acting irresponsibly, the information was available before Murphy made the original decision.
Further, the Bergen noted the first-term Democratic governor recently vetoed legislation designed to help restaurants stay afloat amid the crisis.
“The governor obliterated their hopes by vetoing legislation that would give them financial support, then shut them down for a second time after giving them the idea to spend what little money they have left on business they don’t have,” said the Morris County representative.
Bergen previously introduced legislation designed to curb the powers of the governor, by requiring all governors seek legislative approval for executive orders that would last beyond 14 days. The legislation failed in the Assembly.