TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy on Thursday was asked if he was aware of a plan by approximately 1,000 small business owners to open on June 1st regardless of his decision and he said those business owners are playing with fire.
To date, Murphy’s administration has demanded local law enforcement to enforce strict compliance with his small business lockdown. In some cases, owners are being fined, others have been threatened with losing their state license to operate. Many of the businesses in the protest include gyms, salons, and barbershops.
“Listen, salons and gyms, first of all, let me say something that the compliance has been overwhelming, not just by the individuals who have stayed home, working from home, done the face coverings, washed their hands with soap, we wouldn’t be where we are if it hadn’t been an extraordinary individual effort. But it’s also been extraordinary compliance by the business community, particularly the small business community. So for every one owner who wants to do X, there are a gazillion multiples of those who are doing Y and doing the right thing,” Murphy said. “I can’t speak to this specific group. I hope folks will understand the rationale, the intensity of the potential of infection indoors, and the steps that have to be taken. I would just say to folks, you’re playing with fire. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it. But it has to be done the right way and at the right time, and I think we’re going to, if you bear with us over the next few days, we’ll give some more guidance on that.”
The organizer of that rally, Tommy Trilivas, said today, the Murphy administration is keeping a close eye on the protest and a Facebook page run by Trivilas
“[Murphy] touched base on everything I made a video about yesterday,” Trivalis said. “Dates, explanations of why dates are not given, and when the reporter brought this group up specifically he did not have that same hostile tone he normally has because he knows we have been asking to work with him and not have to defy the order. We have made efforts to put a safety protocol together, and i really hope he understands that people are sticking to the plan of opening up on June 1 because people are not going to take a projected date that can be backed out on.”
Trivalis said business owners in New Jersey are on the brink of destruction and this weekend brings another rent check due to their landlord. Today, Murphy vetoed a bill that would provide small business owners rent relief in favor of protecting the interests of the landlords.
“People are at the end of the rope here and now its time for you to trust that we will do the right things to make a safe environment for our customers,” he added. “No one is interested in having us go in the other direction and be in a situation of having to shut down again! The ball has always been in your court Mr. Gov you are calling the shots from day one and we have all complied, we are just reacting accordingly to your next moves.”
Trivalis said his group is asking the governor for a small-business reopening opening of June 7th.