HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ - Hunterdon County Freeholder Board Director Shaun C. Van Doren and deputy director Susan J. Soloway have sent a joint letter, on the behalf of the freeholder board, to Gov. Phil Murphy calling for small businesses to be able to offer curbside pickup effective immediately.

In the letter, the freeholders state, "Currently, numerous restaurants in Hunterdon County and across the State of New Jersey are offering curbside food pickup with a great deal of success. Restaurant owners have adapted their operations for the safe pick up of food and residents have responded appropriately by maintaining social distancing and wearing masks."

“While New Jersey continues to battle against COVID-19, many small businesses have had to shutter their doors for nearly eight weeks with no clear end date in site,” Van Doren said. “Allowing small businesses to offer curbside pickup represents a safe and reasonable step forward in the reopening of New Jersey’s economy.”

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Van Doren also added, “Currently, big box retailers like Walmart and Target are selling many of the same goods and services offered by our small business community.  We believe that small businesses in our shopping centers and downtowns deserve to be treated equitably and given the chance to compete.”

The Hunterdon County Freeholder Board has heard from numerous small business owners that are rightfully concerned about their long-term economic future.

Deputy director Soloway, a liaison to the county’s economic development office stated, “Between delays in the processing of unemployment claims, to paperwork issues with the Paycheck Protection Program, small businesses owners, and their employees, have been particularly hard hit by this ongoing public health crisis.  Many small business owners have gone without income anywhere from six to eight weeks.”

Soloway also noted, “We firmly believe that with guidance from the New Jersey Department of Health, small businesses will rise to the challenge and offer a safe shopping experience for their patrons.”

Van Doren and Soloway both noted that time is not on the side of many small businesses and downtowns across New Jersey.  Both concurred that Governor Murphy must consider some reasonable measures to provide the opportunity to open for business sooner rather than later. 

“If more time is allowed to pass, ‘Out of Business’ will become the new welcoming sign of downtowns across the Garden State,” Soloway said.