TRENTON - Assemblyman Ryan Peters called on Governor Phil Murphy to immediately open up New Jersey’s indoor dining with capacity restrictions, on Monday.
The 8th District legislator cited a rate of transmission comparison with surrounding states that have all allowed indoor dining without seeing an increase in the Coronavirus rate.
“New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Maryland have all allowed indoor dining for more than a month now. Their rates of transmissions were all similar or the same as our state’s, and they’ve all gone down since allowing indoor dining at limited capacity,” Peters said.
“First, we were told to flatten the curve. Then we were told that data determines dates. Now that both of those arguments would agree with indoor dining, the governor has shifted to governing based off of numbers from states that are thousands of miles away and a shoddy Chinese case study,” he continued. “I am pleading with Governor Murphy to look at the data and use it. There is empirical evidence from all of our neighbors that show we can do this.”
Indoor dining was scheduled to reopen at 25-percent capacity on July 2, but Governor Murphy reversed his decision and ordered the hospitality industry to stay closed just three days before opening. The reversal costs restaurant and hospitality owners millions of dollars in purchases made to gear up for reopening. A new date for reopening has yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, New Jersey has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation and surveys have shown the amount of restaurants that believe they will close for good is continuing to rise.
“It’s purely hypothetical that Coronavirus cases will go up and the transmission rate will rise if indoor dining is opened at limited capacity with strict protective measures. However, it is extremely real that thousands of people will lose their businesses and even more will lose their jobs if we continue to be the strictest reopening state in the nation,” Peters said.
“Our hospitality industry is in a war of attrition right now. They are collapsing one-by-one all around us. There is no more time for a wait-and-see approach. Reopening is now or never,” he continued.