TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce is pushing Gov. Phil Murphy to consider a regional approach to managing the second wave of Covid-19 as he begins implementing new restrictions for the first time in months.
“Blanket rulemaking is not the appropriate response,” said DeCroce (R-Morris). “The governor needs to use a scalpel not a shotgun.”
At a Monday briefing on the virus, Murphy said that restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges and casinos will no longer be able to serve food or alcohol indoors between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
DeCroce says the governor’s latest approach to an uptick of cases fails to take into consideration that the virus is concentrated in six counties.
Essex, Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties all have in excess of 20,000 cases, while Morris County, which DeCroce represents, has approximately half that.
Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon in the northwest region of the state and Cumberland, Cape May and Salem in south all have fewer than 2,000 cases.
“A more nuanced approach to dealing with the coronavirus is needed,” said DeCroce. “We need to work with the facts and with the emerging science, rather than issuing blanket orders that severely impact people’s lives and livelihoods.”
DeCroce noted that Dr. Anthony Fauci told the American Medical Association earlier Monday that a vaccine and new treatments may be on their way even before 2020 ends.
DeCroce also called for Murphy to immediately release $450 million of federal CARES Act funds to support small businesses and not use the money to prop up the state budget.
“Through no fault of their own, many small businesses were forced to close their doors or curtail their business. If there is federal money to help those businesses that are hanging on, the state has an obligation to help them,” said DeCroce.
“The governor should be throwing small businesses a lifeline, not an anchor,” she added.
“State officials need to start thinking about what our community landscape is going to look like, and what our state economy is going to look like when we pull out of the pandemic. We don’t want to leave behind a barren wasteland of closed businesses and broken dreams,” said DeCroce.