SPARTA, N.J. – While small businesses are struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic and 858,000 New Jerseyans have filed for unemployment, Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan to restart the state’s economy lacks any real action according to Assemblyman Parker Space.
 
Murphy’s “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health through Public Health” was discussed during his daily coronavirus briefing today.
 
“So once again all the governor has to say is that he has no real plan to open things up in New Jersey or restore our rights that were taken from us,” said Space (R-Sussex). “It is more like a road block than a road back.”
 
Many of New Jersey’s businesses were deemed non-essential and mandated to close or significantly cut back on operations by executive order. Hoping to hear a plan so they can start to reopen, business owners heard nothing concrete to get their operations ramped up and to get employees back on the job.
 
“The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on local businesses as customers have stayed home or because the governor has shut it down to halt the disease’s spread,” said Space. “We want to stop the spread of COVID-19, but at the same time we need to give businesses the opportunity to abide by social distancing protocols while still providing for customers, and most importantly their employees and New Jersey families. We need a solid date for a restart.”  
 
Space announced he will be signing on to the “Healthy Citizens and Healthy Business Act” legislation being drafted by Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Hunterdon) which will allow non-essential businesses to reopen providing they comply with safety protocols.
 
Under the bill, businesses would need to comply with all rules and regulations from the New Jersey Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and specific protections for those individuals who by age or underlying health conditions are in the CDC high risk category or have a member of their immediate household in the high risk category.
 
“New Jersey is one of the hardest places to survive as a small business as it is and the coronavirus is now making it near impossible. It’s hard for people to grasp what it takes to own a business that you put your heart and soul into only to have an uncertain future,” explained Space. “Our businesses should have the opportunity to follow safety guidelines in these trying times and still be allowed open. I believe it’s far safer to venture into a small business than walk through the grocery store or a big box store.”