TOMS RIVER, NJ – As Governor Phil Murphy continues picking winners and losers in the COVID-19 recovery, an Ocean County Freeholder is calling on the Governor to stop playing games with peoples’ lives and businesses. The statement comes as Murphy dined outside at a restaurant many, including local police said is violating Murphy’s executive order.
“Our restaurant owners and their workers have waited long enough and have suffered the greatest economic harm during this pandemic,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who is liaison to tourism and business development. “These food establishments, with a plan in place, should be allowed to reopen for indoor dining right now.”
Vicari noted that many of the seasonal businesses in Ocean County have already sustained irreparable financial harm as a result of the state mandates that have allowed for curbside and outdoor dining only.
“For many of these businesses, they are sustained by summer visitors so they rely on 10 to 12 weeks out of the year,” Vicari said. “The state has indicated that we will not even receive reopening guidelines for these restaurants before Labor Day.
“Restaurants in North Jersey have 52 weeks out of the year that they can rely on,” he said. “It’s not just dollars and cents. Some of these restaurants are legacy businesses passed down from one generation to the next. They want to survive.”
There are 3,200 restaurants and food establishments located in Ocean County. Vicari said small businesses should be treated the same as big corporations including the large box stores, and supermarkets.
“It’s always the little guy that suffers,” he said. “This is hurting a lot of good people.”