While other states, as well as New York City, announce dates of total reopening, the people of NJ are left in limbo…and wading through continued compliance with myriad of outdated rules & restrictions which are complicated at best and hopelessly indecipherable at worst. As I’ve consistently stated from the start, the administration has needlessly micro-managed and over-complicated Covid guidance, restrictions and mandates. It has dragged its feet, contrary to science and facts on the ground as well as other states’ experiences opening faster with no negative health impact, but with positive economic impacts. It’s time for an end to this madness. Connecticut has given hard target dates in May to fully reopen. Just this morning Mayor De Blasio set July 1st for New York City to fully lift restrictions and fully reopen. Yet our Governor clings to a belief that continuing to demoralize us with continued foot-dragging & talk of baby steps is somehow the right path. No, it’s not.
One need look no further than the incredible level of unworkable rules, regulations, restrictions and micro-management that the administration has imposed and incredibly continues to leave in place – with little or no adjustment as we have gained dramatic knowledge over the last year.
Since the pandemic began a little over a year ago the administration has issued nearly 140 executive orders, and that doesn’t even include the dozens of executive directives and guidelines issued by individual departments all of which amounts to probably more than 2,000 pages of micromanagement mess! Understandably, this was an unprecedented year that required a good number of governmental regulations to ensure public safety. However, an individual simply needs to scroll through the overwhelming list to see what a complicated mess this has become.
Some of the required restrictions like those for swimming pools, golf courses, and others haven’t been updated to reflect all the knowledge we’ve gained or the fact that nearly 60% of NJ’s adult population have received one or both doses of the vaccine. Add to that the number of people who have immunity and antibodies from already having the virus and we are already likely over 70% of the population with significant levels of immunity.
These restrictions haven’t been substantively changed in almost a year. And, frankly, they weren’t appropriate last summer, let alone going into our second summer given our experience, knowledge and the reality that seasonality and the vaccines are crushing Covid.
Take the operation of pools as just one of many examples. The CDC specifically states there is no evidence COVID spreads in water. We have overwhelming evidence that COVID isn’t spreading outdoors or from surface contact. Yet we’ve left in place 11 pages of ridiculous mandates – that beach clubs and associations and other pool operators are having to plan on implanting again this summer. Here are just a few examples:
- Requiring a pool ambassador
- Requiring people wear a mask on the pool deck outdoors
- Staff must monitor bathroom and locker room occupancy
- Requiring cleaning multiple times a day where the CDC suggests once
- Requiring sign-in sheets
- A 50% capacity limitation
Guidelines across the board need to be appropriately eliminated or updated now that we have the CDC advising that vaccinated individuals can forgo masks outdoors….but NJ still requires them outside of pools, in the open air, in the hot sun. What we need is the immediate elimination of irrelevant restrictions and a clear, simple restating of those restrictions that are still pertinent.