N.J. legislator will introduce bill to reopen non-essential businesses

TRENTON, N.J. – As protests percolate in state capitals around the country, one New Jersey legislator is preparing legislation to reopen New Jersey’s non-essential businesses… with restrictions. 

“We need to make decisions based on science and common sense and not fear mongering,” said Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Hunterdon) on Monday. “If we do not immediately begin to re-start our economy the economic toll of Governor’s Murphy’s never ending no risk approach will be more devastating on the health and welfare of New Jersey residents than the coronavirus.”

Assemblyman Peterson’s “Healthy Citizens and Healthy Business Act” will be introduced on May 4th. The Northwest New Jersey legislator says it’s based on the vetoed Pennsylvania Senate bill permitting closed businesses to reopen provided they can meet certain COVID-19 mitigation criteria including implimenting protections for officw workers and those individuals or households indentified as falling into a CDC high risk category.

Erik Peterson

“Those who do qualify for unemployment are dealing with significant lags in the state’s antiquated system and those who don’t qualify are facing dire economic uncertainties,” said Peterson. “Families and entrepreneurs are facing life altering financial consequences because of Murphy’s misplaced drastic and draconian measures. Where have the days gone when the Democratic Party leaders believed the only thing to ‘fear was fear itself’?”

“We have to prevent businesses in this state from dying from the governor’s misplaced policies and use science and facts to allow businesses to reopen. Our response to the coronavirus outbreak must include a reopening strategy that is considered sooner rather than later,” added Peterson. “My legislation is safe, smart and gets us moving in the right direction.”

New Jersey’s COVID-19 unemployment claims hit 718,000 as of April 11th.

Notwithstanding the economic carnage, Democrat Governor Phil Murphy is likely to veto Peterson’s bill even if the Republican’s proposal made it through the Democrat-controlled legislature; Murphy has warned that New Jersey’s draconian social-distancing regulations could continue into June or even July.