Cape May County Democratic Committee Chairman Brendan Sciarra released the following statement calling on Governor Phil Murphy to allow outdoor seating and reopen small retail businesses.
“The Governor did a good job but with two-week trends for hospitalizations, use of ventilators, and intensive care units for patients down and the number of new reported cases in decline it’s time to begin safely reopening our county. The calendar is not our friend. Cape May County’s economy is largely seasonal, countless people depend exclusively on the summer season to make a living. Memorial Day has come and gone and the window to survive the winter months is getting smaller and smaller.
“As a responsible small business owner, I understood the measures that were taken such as the statewide stay-at-home order and closure of all non-essential retail businesses but over two months later frustration throughout Cape May County is at an all-time high. For instance, Walmart’s non-essential items aren’t roped off, they’ve continued selling beach chairs, toys, and sunblock during this entire crisis. Why does Walmart, Target, and other corporate giants get to flout the rules while law abiding mom and pop store owners are left to go out of business? If Walmart can continue to sell non-essential items main street should be allowed to operate as well under a “new normal” of masks, gloves, and social distancing guidelines.
“I call on the Governor to allow outdoor seating and reopen small retail businesses. Without outdoor seating the sale of mixed drinks and cocktails which was recently reinstated has become an enforcement nightmare for municipal police departments because patrons have nowhere to go. Sidewalks have become barstools. As customers wait for their dinner order, they grab a drink and congregate on the sidewalk leaving the police with the unenviable task to enforce the unenforceable. By allowing outdoor seating and reopening small retail businesses with strict social distancing guidelines we can create a safer environment for patrons and level the playing field.
“I understand the daunting challenge of balancing the public health with economic survival. Restaurant owners, retailers, and their employees are dedicated hard working citizens standing ready to be responsible stewards of the public health equipped to socially distance and will do a great job following guidelines to protect the health and safety of their customers. Corporate America is posting double digit profits. The least we can do is give main street a chance at to survive.”