State Sen. Kristin Corrado called on Gov. Phil Murphy to reopen government offices closed due to the coronavirus pandemic that serve the public, including unemployment walk-in centers.
Corrado’s request comes as Gov. Phil Murphy announced a wide-ranging reopening effort being undertaken by New Jersey in conjunction with New York and Connecticut.
“We’ve done this the right way, in partnership with our neighboring states of New York and Connecticut, and by allowing data, science, and public health to guide our decision-making,” said Murphy on May 3.
Fighting for the Unemployed
Under the rules, capacity limits for businesses will largely be replaced by six-foot distance orders. But while government offices such as New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission have been operating with in-person service, unemployment offices remain closed.
Corrado wants that changed.
“With all of the public health metrics pointing in the right direction, there’s no justification for Governor Murphy to keep government offices closed that should be open to serve the public,” said Corrado.
Corrado was following up on earlier efforts to help those contending with unemployment issues with the state’s Labor Department. Many are having difficulty proving their identities online, and open offices would help alleviate a backlog.
Citing unemployed workers who still cannot get their claims resolved online, Corrado argued it was time to reopen walk-in centers for unemployment claims.
“It’s unbelievable they still can’t walk into an unemployment center to quickly resolve whatever issues they’re having in a face-to-face conversation,” she said.
The situation was so dire, Corrado said she was working on legislation to force the centers to open.
“It seems ridiculous that we have to pass a bill to force the Murphy administration to reopen offices to serve the public, but that’s where we’re at,” added Corrado. “The governor recently suggested they may be back to work in a few months. They should be back today.”