The Garden State’s Assembly Democrats and GOP both called for a regional approach to instituting COVID-19 restrictions as a second surge appeared growing in the state.
In the Assembly, a bill sponsored by Assemblymen Gordon Johnson (D-37), John Burzichelli (D-3), and Joe Danielsen (D-17) would require the Governor to work with the Department of Health in ranking risk for counties and municipalities passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Meanwhile, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-26) called for a regional approach to containing the disease, arguing the state needed to better support businesses that could operate safely.
Democrats Call for Better Data, Info
Under the Democrat-sponsored Assembly bill (A-4910), a plan would be established to better understand the number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, where they were located, and what risks were present because of the virus.
Each county and municipality would be ranked as high, medium, or low risk. Categorization would take a variety of data points into account, including total new cases, hospital capacity figures, positivity rates, and other factors.
“Uniform closures are not always the way to go in a situation as complex as this,” said Johnson. “Broad, sweeping measures can do more harm than good by restricting or shuttering businesses in low-risk areas that could continue to safely operate even though a similar business elsewhere in the state cannot.”
A Scalpel, not a Shotgun
DeCroce argued the state should not engage in blanket rulemaking, and pointed out that Essex, Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic, and Union counties represented the bulk of COVID-19 infections at the time Gov. Phil Murphy announced new restrictions on certain businesses in the state.
“A more nuanced approach to dealing with the coronavirus is needed,” said DeCroce. “We need to work with the facts and with the emerging science, rather than issuing blanket orders that severely impact people’s lives and livelihoods.”
In addition, DeCroce called upon the governor to release $450 million in federal CARES Act funding to support small businesses across the state.