TRENTON, N.J. – Gov. Phil Murphy has held daily briefings every day for the last several weeks announcing executive orders and providing the status of medical supplies and the latest number of cases with state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, communicable disease experts and State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan.
Meanwhile, one out of every six workers is now out of a job due to actions announced at those briefings. Assemblyman Brian Bergen is urging Murphy to include an economic adviser on his panel.
“Someone who needs an introduction at Murphy’s daily briefings is an economic expert giving us a picture of what is happening economically throughout the state,” said Bergen (R-Morris). “New Jersey’s economy has been hit unbelievably hard. While reopening might be a gradual process, we have to know how we’ve been hardest hit if we are going to make good decisions and keep people safe.”
Over 718,000 unemployment claims have been filed over four weeks, more than twice as many as jobs gained since the Great Recession, and workers are infuriated that state unemployment benefits cannot keep up as hundreds of thousands more New Jersey workers submit claims.
Bergen noted there is also a lot to learn from businesses that are deemed essential and remained open.
“Efforts to date have taught us a lot about what to do,” continued Bergen. “We have precedent now for how to do things safely in a retail environment. Essential businesses have led the way in dealing with customers safely through limiting the number of customers in the store at a time, Plexiglas between customers and employees, and touchless credit card transactions.”