Worried about COVID Hotspots, Murphy Enhancing Local Government Power


At his COVID-19 briefing today at the War Memorial, Governor Phil Murphy announced that he will sign an executive order giving municipalities and counties the option of regulating the operating hours of non-essential businesses after 8 p.m.

Municipalities and counties do not have to impose additional operating hours restrictions if they don’t want to, Murphy said.

“Our approach is to act surgically within hotspot areas,” said the governor. “That means giving local officials the ability to take actions to prevent localized hotspots from becoming COVID wildfires.”

As nights progress, people let their guard down.

They congregate.

They take fewer precautions.

“We are empowering locally elected officials to address unique situations where they feel that an operating hours restriction in the evening would help stop the spread of COVID,” he explained.

“Let me be clear,” the governor added. “Other municipal or county actions – restrictions that differ from the statewide rules – are impermissible and will be invalidated. We cannot have a patchwork of rules where certain businesses are shuttered in one town and not the next.”

Murphy made his announcement as New Jersey continues to face rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.

From NJ.com today:

“Wednesday marked the third time in five days officials reported at least 3,000 additional COVID-19 cases in the state.”

Since Monday: 3,517 new cases, the governor said, bringing the total case count in the state to 266,986.

More than 400 COVID cases added today in Essex.

Eighteen deaths processed since Monday, bringing the total COVID fatality count to 14,694.

“COVID is not done for us, not by a longshot,” Murphy said. “We have to get back to using our common sense for the common good.”


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