BELMAR, NJ — If small businesses deemed nonessential are not allowed to open soon — and if limits on others are not loosened — Monmouth County is headed into a “dangerous situation,” according to Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone.

To ensure the survival of these businesses at this critical revenue-producing time, he is asking that the county be placed in control of its own reopening plan as the coronavirus curve continues to flatten.

“We know our county and we know what’s best for our businesses and our residents to be able to work and achieve profit, and more importantly, to be safe,” said Arnone during a press conference on May 28 — his comments directed at the Murphy administration.

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“Put it in our hands. We will work with businesses to put in a proper, safe and profitable (reopening) plan," he said. "We know our county, our mayors, our constituents. We can make it work in Monmouth County.”

In weekly talks with local chambers of commerce and its members, he said businesses are prepared to be part of the process — to open at safe capacities that will “allow them to make the necessary revenue to pay their bills and employees.”

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Later in the day, Murphy at his daily press briefing said that reopening announcements may be made tomorrow, May 29, potentially touching on more business reopenings, summer camps and swimming pools.

While trends continue in a positive direction, he said the state has been extra prudent in its plans to restart. “We’ve been on a one-way street … we don’t want to have to turn the car around," he said. 

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli confirmed that 2,797 patients are hospitalized for COVID-19  as of 10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27 — the second minor increase since Tuesday. 

The governor said the state health department will be looking for any correlation between the hospitalization increase and this past weekend — considering both Memorial Day and any reporting lags. 

Overall, hospitalizations have seen a 65 percent decrease since the state's peak of 8,084 on April 14. 

“For everybody that says open the thing up tomorrow, let’s get all the lights on, let’s get back to normal, you got 365 folks going into the hospital yesterday," Murphy said. "We have got to make sure we’re watching this like a hawk."


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