Reckless Murphy: Bar Shutdown Will Just Move the Party to the Home, Increasing Spread of COVID-19

TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy once again didn’t think things through.  For weeks, the Governor has told us that COVID-19 spreads more rapidly inside homes that don’t have the same quality HVAC systems as bars, restaurants, night clubs and banquet halls.  To combat the disease, instead of offering young New Jersey adults more opportunities to congregate outside the home, he is forcing them back inside their homes where the virus is going to be spread more easily.

Let’s face it, we were all in our twenties at one time and we all know nothing is going to keep a man or woman in their 20’s in their home on a Friday or Saturday night.  Most young adults don’t even leave to go out until about 9 p.m. and that’s on the early side.   When Phil Murphy shut down bar service statewide because of an outbreak in 1 bar since the reopening, what he’s doing is sending these kids elsewhere.  They’re not going to sit home and isolate, they’re going to host their own parties in their own homes, apartments and dorms.

There’s no “ok, well, I guess that’s that” for a twenty-something who wants to have a good time on a weekend after working all week or busting their asses in college.

This move by Murphy is reckless because now, it sends these kids to the one place Murphy doesn’t want them, in a confined space in a small home.  At least in bars, there’s moderation…there’s an alcohol gatekeeper, the bartenders, the bouncers, security, etc to ensure social distancing and making sure people aren’t drinking too much or getting out of hand.

All of that goes away the day Murphy shuts down bars and forces 10 p.m. closures at restaurants.  These kids aren’t old boomers like Murphy…they aren’t going to crawl up and die in their rooms because Phil Murphy shut down their favorite weekend hot spot.

What Murphy should have done was see why one bar became a superspreader and figure out how to prevent it in other bars.   Perhaps their HVAC air circulation was to blame, maybe not enforcing social distancing?  Maybe the bartenders didn’t follow the advice of the CDC, washing hands, cleaning surfaces, or maybe…it just happened because that’s how viruses work and it might happen again…or it might not.  A few people getting COVID-19 in one bar is not enough data and evidence to support shutting down the entire industry.