TRENTON, NJ – New Jerseyans are on edge this week. Many because of the uncertainty of the 2020 presidential election and many more because of the uncertainty in the future decisions of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Governor Murphy this weekend announced 5,250 new COVID-19 cases were reported statewide. On Saturday, Murphy reported 3,207 new cases and on Sunday, he reported 2,043 more, signaling a return to April 2020 infection rates. According to Murphy, 15 New Jerseyans died of COVID-19 this weekend, bringing the state total to 14,629 deaths, nearly half of which came during the height of the pandemic across New Jersey’s senior citizen and long term care facilities.
“This pandemic is real, and these numbers are going in the wrong direction. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe,” Murphy said. “We’re still in the middle of a pandemic and need everyone to take this seriously. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands. Use common sense.”
Murphy said the virus has been spreading rapidly at indoor functions across New Jersey such as weddings, house parties and family gatherings. Murphy’s administration concluded that restaurants, gyms, bars and other businesses have not been the source of any major flareups, verified by over 2,000 paid contact tracers working statewide.
Still, many feel Murphy’s past irrational lockdown will make an ugly return any day. Stores are already beginning to sell out once again of toilet paper and paper towels as many New Jerseyans are once again stocking up on long-term essentials.
If faced with another indoor dining closure, thousands of restaurants will go out of business statewide. Many retail businesses already on their death bed will also not survive, leaving strip malls across New Jersey vacant and putting owners and workers of those businesses back on the unemployment line.
Murphy has said all measures are on the table and although he has mentioned a ‘scalpel’ approach, the governor’s comments in recent weeks regarding the ‘second wave’ of the pandemic are not reassuring for small business owners on the brink of bankruptcy and failure.
The question on many minds in New Jersey isn’t, “Will I catch COVID-19”, but “Will he shut us down?”