Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger and Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone issued the following statement:
When the State of New Jersey ordered our business community to shut down for a two-week quarantine period, we agreed that it was in the best interest to do so for the safety and well being of our residents, business owners and their employees. Now, ten weeks later, our small businesses remain shut down without any guidance from Trenton as to when they can reopen their doors, bring back employees and attempt to move forward in the wake of a significant loss of revenue.
The lack of preparation by the State and guidance on how our small businesses can reopen is truly disconcerting. We know our Monmouth County businesses are eager to reopen with smart social-distancing policies in place for the protection of their patrons and employees. We have been in constant communication with business owners and towns to discuss allowing businesses to utilize outdoor space for dining and retail as way to help increase the number of patrons at any given time.
When our businesses are finally permitted to reopen, we know that anything less than 50% occupancy permitted will be a fail. Our businesses need to reopen in a way that is profitable so they can pay their bills and employees. No one wants to get sick, or get others sick, and they will do everything possible to protect that from happening.
We have faith in our residents and businesses to make the right decisions when it comes to safely reopening. We have faith in our residents to continue social distancing when out in public. They’ve already proven as much while enjoying our beaches, parks and big-box retailers. It’s time the State shows the same faith in our residents to make the right decisions. It’s time the State shows support for our small businesses. As such, we urge the State and Administration to provide guidelines now to reopen our businesses.