SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ — The Mayors for “Main Street” Alliance, which include 19 Republican mayors in four different counties, have laid out a plan for Gov. Phil Murphy for the swift and safe reopening of businesses within their communities that continue to struggle as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In communities across New Jersey, local businesses and Main Streets have shuttered their doors and may never fully recover. Every day that goes by brings these businesses closer to the financial cliff. While lives and the physical health of our residents is always paramount, there are many more factors to consider. The mental anguish and financial strain being experienced by so many is tangible and we see and hear about these painful struggles every day from our residents,” a letter from the mayors to Murphy stated.
The mayors went on to list steps Murphy should take “immediately” to help businesses open their doors quickly but also allows for and promotes the safety of employees and patrons. Some of their suggestions include reopening all non-essential businesses, child care facilities and allowing restaurants to open in-house dining at a limited capacity.
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“America was built on a spirit of entrepreneurship that is best represented by our small businesses across our communities. We must stand up for our businesses, our business owners, and their employees now,” said Bridgewater Mayor Matthew Moench.
Allow for More Localized Policies: Right now, the State is implementing a “one size fits all” approach to the virus, but the reality is that different communities are differently situated. Statewide policies should be flexible to allow for individual mayors and municipalities to determine what works best for their communities based on their specific circumstances.Safely Open All “Non-Essential” Businesses: We ask the State to issue clear guidance on how businesses can practice safe social distancing while having their business open. This guidance could include formulas relating to the square footage of the facility and correlating that to the number of individuals allowed into the business at any given time and updating directions on the use of PPE for both employees and patrons.Safely Open Child Care Facilities: We recommend that the State allow the reopening of day care facilities to the public and issue the related public health guidance to allow them to do so safely. Access to a family’s existing child care arrangements is critical to restarting our economy. Even parents who have the opportunity to work could be stymied with lack of child care options. In the same vein, we implore the State to issue clear guidance to operator’s of summer camps and similar businesses that will allow them to open as the school year comes to a close.Ease Restrictions on Food Service Industry: Allow restaurants to open to customers for limited in-house dining and allow restaurants, with the capability, to utilize outdoor seating for their patrons.Focus on those Residents Most at Risk: We know now that senior citizens, especially those in long terms care facilities, are the segment of the population most at risk of contracting and passing away from COVID-19. Allow municipalities to implement smart business practices to protect those senior and at-risk residents without the overreaching impacts on the rest of the community. For instance, permitting stores to open with special times for seniors as many of the supermarkets have already done, providing funding for food and safety supplies to be made available to at-risk individuals and long-term care facilities as needed.
“The Township Committee and I have been working closely with our essential local businesses for months to help support our residents on flattening the curve. We have made great strides in doing so and will continue. However, now is the time to support all our business partners so that we continue to rebuild our local economy so they may once again thrive,” Warren Township Mayor Michael “Mick” Marion said of joining the alliance.
The alliance launched last week initially began with five Somerset County Mayors including Moench, Bernards Mayor James Baldassare, Bedminster Mayor Larry Jacobs, Bernardsville Mayor Mary Jane Canose, and Far Hills Mayor Paul Vallone. Read More: 5 Somerset County Mayors Join Forces To Reopen Businesses
It has since exploded to have 19 mayors from four different counties.
This alliance consists of the following New Jersey Mayors:
Mayor Marcia Asdal, Chester Township, Morris CountyMayor James Baldassare, Bernards Township, Somerset CountyMayor Zachery Bray, Raritan Borough, Somerset CountyMayor Mary Jane Canose, Borough of Bernardsville, Somerset CountyMayor Jason Cilento, Dunellen Borough, Middlesex CountyMayor Christine Serrano Glassner, Mendham Borough, Morris CountyMayor Jeff Herb, White Township, Warren CountyMayor Janet Hoven, Chester Borough, Morris CountyMayor Larry Jacobs, Township of Bedminster, Somerset CountyMayor Jim Mengucci, Lopatcong Township, Warren CountyMayor Matthew Moench, Bridgewater Township, Somerset CountyMayor Michael “Mick” Marion, Warren Township, Somerset CountyMayor Matthew Murello, Washington Township, Morris CountyMayor Sarah Neibart, Mendham Township, Morris CountyMayor Richard Onderko, Manville Borough, Somerset CountyMayor Todd Tersigni, Phillipsburg, Warren CountyMayor Brian Tipton, Harmony Township, Warren CountyMayor Doug Tomson, Hillsborough Township, Somerset CountyMayor Paul Vallone, Far Hills Borough, Somerset County
To view the entire letter sent to Murphy read below:
Read more: NJ Coronavirus Updates: Here’s What You Need To Know