Dear Governor Murphy,
As legislators serving Jersey Shore communities from Sandy Hook to Cape May, we write to you on behalf of the families we represent who depend on summer tourism for their livelihoods.
The hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans who earn the bulk of their annual income from Memorial Day to Labor Day need a detailed plan for reopening the Jersey Shore in some capacity to preserve their economic well-being. If we fail to act, all of those workers, their families, and tens of thousands of our cherished small businesses face financial ruin. Our state’s $45 billion tourism economy would be decimated.
With that in mind, we watched with great interest yesterday as you unveiled a roadmap for restarting New Jersey. We know this has not been an easy process, and we support the hard work of your administration. While we are glad that the much anticipated broad strokes for reopening the Garden State have been revealed, we believe we must go further with the preparation of an operational plan with specifics for the Jersey Shore, which should be shared before Memorial Day.
Such a plan may be developed through the newly formed Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission that you announced as part of the reopening process. Further, to ensure that the interests of our tourism industry are considered, we recommend that a small business owner from the Jersey Shore and a representative of Atlantic City casinos be included as members of the commission.
Additionally, we are mindful that there exists a wonderful variety of communities along our coast that have vastly different capabilities for supporting the needs of visitors. Some may be more capable than others in implementing social distancing measures, and there are disparities in public health infrastructure that will need to be considered. The commission would be well advised to consult with the mayors in these communities that have this important local knowledge. It also should consider the reopening of parks and other open spaces that people will want to access after weeks of isolation.
As New Jersey moves toward lifting or easing stay-at-home orders and restrictions on business operations, we share your belief that reopening must be undertaken in a safe, sustainable manner. While we are concerned by some of the images from other places around the nation that have not effectively planned or communicated reopening guidelines with the public, we believe our joint efforts can lead to better outcomes in New Jersey. That’s why it’s so imperative that we begin work on this plan starting today.
There are few better places to be than the Jersey Shore in summertime. People return year after year because our beaches, boardwalks, and coastal communities are refreshing for the mind, body, and soul.
Let’s give our Shore communities and the visitors they depend upon a plan with some hope for this summer.
Sen. Robert Singer
Deputy Minority Leader
Sen. Chris Brown
Deputy Conference Leader
Sen. Michael Testa
1st Legislative District
Sen. Declan O’Scanlon
13th Legislative District