Governor Phil Murphy is expected to sign a very dangerous executive order into law today that will give local municipalities and counties the ability to impose business curfews. In addition to his order earlier this week that shuts down the New Jersey bar industry and slapped a 10 pm curfew on restaurants and banquet facilities, the new executive order will give towns the power to enact further restrictions that will create a hodge-podge patchwork of laws as you travel from town to town.
The new executive order will allow individual towns to shut down non-essential businesses after 8:00 pm.
“Today, I will be signing an Executive Order giving municipalities and counties the option, it is an option, to regulate the operating hours of non-essential businesses after 8:00 p.m,” Murphy said, “Municipalities and counties do not have to impose additional operating hours restrictions if they do not wish to do so. As we have been noting, our approach to the second wave is to act surgically within hotspot areas, and that means giving local officials the ability to take actions to prevent localized hotspots from becoming COVID wildfires.”
Murphy, for the first time in his tenure has declared “home rule” shall rue the day across the Garden state. Murphy also doubled down on his bar ban saying state COVID-19 data suggests the virus spread faster at night as people congregate and let their guard down…or maybe it was just some people telling a story. It’s not clear, because Murphy didn’t provide actual data to support his decision yet.
“We have received numerous reports that as the night progresses, people begin to congregate, let their guard down and take fewer precautions,” Murphy said. “Again, we know this is not true everywhere, so we are empowering local officials, elected officials locally, to address unique situations where they feel that an operating hours restriction in the evening would help their efforts to stop the spread of COVID.”
Murphy then kinda, sorta, went back on what he said earlier, making the issue even more confusing.
“However, let me be clear: other municipal or county actions such as restrictions on essential businesses, full business closures, or restrictions on gatherings or capacity that differ from the statewide rules are impermissible and will be invalidated,” Murphy said. “We simply cannot have a patchwork of rules where certain businesses are entirely shuttered in one town but not the next, by the way, especially in New Jersey, the densest state in America. That would lead to individuals traveling to different communities and potentially further spreading COVID.”
Businesses that are deemed essential include health care facilities, gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies.