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New Jersey GOP Rails Against Gov. Phil Murphy’s New COVID-19 Restrictions

Not long after Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled a new set of time restrictions for the Garden State’s businesses going into effect today, New Jersey Republicans hit back at what they saw as overbearing regulations.

The restrictions starting Nov. 12 will include a ban on indoor dining between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. at New Jersey restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and casinos.

“What makes it any more dangerous to eat indoors at 10 p.m. than at 7 p.m.?” asked Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-25). “I would pay to see the data.”

Regional Approach

Calling the action “blanket rulemaking,” Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-26) urged the governor to adopt a regional approach when managing the second wave of COVID-19 restrictions.

“The governor needs to use a scalpel not a shotgun,” she said.

DeCroce noted the uptick of cases were primarily concentrated in six counties—Essex, Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic, and Union counties all had in excess of 20,000 cases. Meanwhile Morris County only had about half of that and even fewer were reported in Sussex and Warren counties.

A Call for Common Sense by GOP Senators

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-26) questioned the logic of Murphy’s decision, asking whether diners were more susceptible to the virus later in the evening. He called the restrictions “unjustified,” arguing similar moves crippled the state’s economy earlier in 2020.

Pennacchio asked whether there was science and data to back the decision up, and argued the decision should be made with the input of the health commissioner and legislature

“We can’t let this happen again. Decisions that impact New Jersey residents’ freedoms, health, and financial security must be rooted firmly in fact, not panic,” Pennacchio said.

Hurting Small Businesses

State Sen. Kirstin Corrado (R-40) argued the move was a slap in the face to small business owners already struggling under the 25% capacity limit.

“This irrational decision by Governor Murphy will impact our restaurant industry in the worst possible way,” she said.

“However, blanket restrictions—such as the ones that Governor Murphy put into effect—are clearly not the right approach. When there’s no evidence that indoor dining results in increased risk, the governor’s order will cause unnecessary harm to restaurants and bars that are already struggling to survive.”

More Aid Needed

Additionally, DeCroce called for Murphy to immediately release $450 million of federal CARES Act funds to support small businesses and not use the money to prop up the state budget.

“Through no fault of their own, many small businesses were forced to close their doors or curtail their business. If there is federal money to help those businesses that are hanging on, the state has an obligation to help them,” said DeCroce. “The governor should be throwing small businesses a lifeline, not an anchor.”

The governor recently announced an additional $60 million in small business aid to replenish a grant program that had funding for fewer than half of the 22,000 applicants. With the additional aid from the CARES Act, 13,000 New Jersey businesses that applied for the latest round of grants to help them through the pandemic will now receive aid from the state’s Economic Development Authority.


  1. Of course they rail against mask wearing. They are no longer the GOP. They are now officially the DCP—the Death Cult Party.

  2. Thank you Gov. Murphy for doing your best to protect the citizens of NJ. Please do not listen to those who are questioning your decisions, they just don’t care about our lives. Everyone I speak to think you are doing a great job and we ALL appreciate at that you have done. So, please do not let the haters have an impact on your solid decisions. I am very grateful for you and your team.

  3. An outright cessation of dining at 7 pm seems pointless. What isn’t pointless is finding a way to manage the public risk of evening-long alcohol consumption and the lack of self control and self awareness that comes with inebriation.

    Dining can continue (ad nauseum) without increasing risk. However, it would seem prudent to halt the public consumption of alcohol by 7 pm, regardless whether it’s indoors or out, especially in high-density areas.

    A response needs to be rational and targeted. The planned response seems to be neither.

  4. If the GOP had followed the guidelines of the medical/scientific community from the outset, we would not be in the position that we are in now. Put on your mask, socially distance & wash your hands.

  5. I went to a local restaurant for takeout (Blackjack Mulligans-Hawthorne) and found the place full to capacity, minus 2 tables which had just been cleared. No-one had a mask on except for “most” of the staff. I mean it was standing room only with loud conversation and some game in the back (darts?). I called the next day and spoke to a very nice manager who told me that he was unaware of any such circumstance and would relay the complaint to higher up’s. I know he wasn’t telling the truth because someone else had seen the same thing only week or so prior. Around the same time another local dining establishment (Bottarga) held a large gathering so much so that the parking spilled to the shopping center across the street. While I can’t definitively state that there was a connection, 2 of the attendees contracted Covid19 and had to be hospitalized shortly thereafter. There are other examples to drive home my point but I think you get the idea.
    I write these things to illustrate that without leadership at every level, putting aside the R and D designation, we will suffer even more. My mayor’s response ( I called his office.) to such examples was to say that if you encounter such circumstances and feel uncomfortable you should just leave. The absurdity of such an attitude is beyond belief in so many ways. If you aren’t proactive locally don’t complain when someone is at the state level.

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