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Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, and Tom Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, issued the following statement today regarding a regional approach to reopening New Jersey businesses.

“It appears that deferring to industry experts and local officials for COVID-19 reopening decisions is the proper process, except when it comes to the reopening of our businesses.

“On Monday, Governor Murphy deferred decisions on fall sports to the NJSIAA, saying that, as experts, they know best. And, last week, the governor and the state Department of Health released guidelines for school reopenings, using data from six regions to inform local decisions and deferring to local health officials and school districts as the experts because ‘no one size fits all.’

“The New Jersey Business Coalition has repeatedly called for a regional approach to the reopening of New Jersey’s economy. In doing so, the Coalition noted the DOH’s current reporting of COVID-19 cases on a county-by-county basis. It recommended that a grid of ‘safe’ vs. ‘cautious’ counties can easily be developed.

“We strongly maintain that there is no reason why the same approach embraced by the DOH for informing local educational decisions can’t be used for ending the extenuated pause on our businesses.

“In reopening our schools, the governor noted that only those schools which can certify that they can meet the state guidelines can open. This is exactly the protocol that the Business Coalition has advanced for the reopening of our businesses, as well – putting public health first.

“Advancing the continued responsible opening of New Jersey’s businesses is not about prioritizing the ability to go out to eat, as the governor has contended in his response to the Business Coalition’s regional approach.

“It is disheartening that the governor fails to acknowledge that the reopening is more critically about the return of livelihoods for thousands of our business owners. It is about saving their personal investments borne of years of sweat equity, the hundreds of thousands of jobs they provide and all they bring to the state’s economy. It’s about predictability and being able to plan – the hallmarks of any business endeavor. And it’s also about the mental health of those struggling to survive, and those who are shut in.

“If ‘data determines dates’ and ‘public health creates economic health,’ and we have improved COVID-19 numbers, but continued lagging economic numbers, we call on Governor Murphy to end the pause of reopening New Jersey businesses.

“If not statewide, then through the regional approach that has already been adopted elsewhere in the state, with input from local officials and experts in their industries.

“We look forward to sharing our data and comprehensive plan during the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee meeting on Thursday.”


8 responses to “NJBIA, State Chamber Call for Reopening of NJ Businesses”

  1. PI says:

    It’s all about competition between governors and their respective States. Each Governor wants to ‘win’ as the safest state rebounding from the Virus at any cost to its citizens and their businesses. It’s all about them! ‘Vote for me, I ran the safest state in the country’, etc, etc.

  2. Willard J. says:

    This guy is a business and personal livelihood killer. I manage a business in Clarksburg, NJ. while living in West Bend, WI.
    Our Supreme Court opened the state in May and we’re at about 8% unemployment, with many businesses moving forward, some lost of course, but not like NJ.
    Case here are low and hospitalization low for COVID19 and we’re a blocked state from NJ. If anything WI, should have blocked NJ given the cases, especially early. I hope for all of you in NJ common sense eventually prevails, you can open and we have to live with or without the virus threat…….

  3. Anthony says:

    Why should scientific data and proven models have any influence on governor Murphy’s decision. He has an agenda outside of what is best for the citizens of NJ. He could have been a hero if he actually did follow the science when we “broke the back” of this pandemic in May !! Now he not only has the Blood of Nursing Home deaths on his hands but also the lives lost from his arrogance of refusing responsible, healthy and non-vulnerable adults make a living !! Until July 4, I would have said he did a good job, starting July 5, he showed his True Colors !! Disgraceful to sacrifice Human Beings for power !!

  4. Gregory Stetzel, DC says:

    It is well past time for Murphy to realize and accept that opening gyms and restaurants is about the lives and livelihoods of the people who own and employ through those businesses and NOT about people being able to “go out for dinner”. He is completely tone deaf and needs to know how his crass and demeaning comments toward the voters and business owners of NJ reflect on him. There is no sound reasoning behind keeping indoor services closed when public transit is 100% open. I doubt that a bus or train filled to capacity at rush hour is safer than a restaurant at dinner time.

    It’s high time the business community stands up to the emperor and insists that he listen to us.

  5. Emil A Kaunitz says:

    The Governor is disadvantaged by single dimensional economic thinking. He has zero business experience and doesn’t understand that even though a business is closed, the overhead expenses continue accruing (i.e., rent, utilities, owners salary, etc.). The only business concept he understands is cash flow; in versus out and its timing. That only works for planning short term sustainment. He has no strategic plan for the long term economic survival of the state. Obtaining approval to borrow another $9.9B only kicks the can down the road so he doesn’t have to address the real issue. Unfortunately, NJ needs a governor who understands business, economics and strategic planning and can execute tactically to achieve long and short term economic goals.

  6. Doug says:

    I hope all business owners and their employees hurt by this failed Governor’s policies prevents another Democrat being elected to NJ. It’s the Democrat states that have been hurt the most and we need to get these problem-causing, do nothing, bad policy liberals out of office and replaced with conservative politicians who put this state back on its’ feet.

  7. Sam says:

    My feeling it’s not about Democrat or Republican. It’s about human life. If my customers die how do I replace them. The federal government should have stepped up a long time ago to cover our expenses while we get through this. If I die from Covid my life and business are gone. Who replaces me?

  8. Workman’s Comp claims are the single largest deterrent to reopening.

    And no one is talking about it. The risk to reopening without some vehicle to resolve potential claims against employers MUST be addressed.

    When is someone going to take up this issue with a resolve to solve it?

    George Kimmerle
    Kimmerle Group

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