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Over 100 Leading Businesses Blast Murphy's EO As It Unfairly Hurts Restaurant Owners

The New Jersey Business Coalition, a group of more than 100 leading business and nonprofit groups throughout the state, issued the following statement following Gov. Phil Murphy's signing of Executive Order 158, temporarily pausing the resumption of indoor Screen Shot 2020-03-21 at 19.19.25dining in New Jersey.

"New Jersey business owners have said from the beginning of this crisis that they always put the health, safety and welfare of their workforce and their patrons first. The reopening of indoor dining at New Jersey restaurants is no exception.

"While we respect the fact that other states are seeing a surge in COVID numbers, such a comparison, along with the concern of so-called "knuckleheads" not following the rules, is simply not a basis to pull back on New Jersey restaurant owners who are committed to doing the right thing. 

"In response to the Governor's original notice that indoor dining could commence on July 2 at 25% capacity, New Jersey restaurant owners made plans. We should recognize they invested in interior changes to their facilities, notified staff they can come back to work and spent considerable dollars to purchase food and beverages in order to meet the demands of the customers they were ready to serve.
"Many restaurant owners have not generated the revenue to pay for these startup expenses over the past 15 weeks, and therefore, dug deep into their own personal pockets to restart their business.
"Respectfully, we ask: Who is going to reimburse these lost costs? Food, now at premium prices, has a very short shelf life. Additionally, how many times will restaurant owners be asked to train up a workforce only to send them back to unemployment? 

"On top of all this, the Governor vetoed a bill this week that would have established an emergency loan program for qualified small hospitality businesses, using federal funds. Now, as a ripple effect, we see some of our Atlantic City casinos refusing this weekend to open due to this pause. This represents another blow to our tourism industry and New Jersey's overall economy, which relies on casino revenues to fund important state programs.

"These businesses were willing to face insurmountable odds of surviving, while operating safely at 25% capacity. They know the losses that continue to rack up and they were, and are, ready to follow the rules and demand that their patrons do the same.
"As of earlier this month, between 20-23% of New Jersey restaurants that are shuttered will not reopen. With this false start, that number will undoubtedly escalate.

"We urge Governor Murphy not to pull back on those businesses that are able and willing to reopen safely because of bad actors. If some are not in compliance, enforce the order and hold them accountable. For the rest, let them open, as originally planned."
African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, Inc.
American Camp Association NY/NJ
New Jersey Camps Government Affairs Project
American Council of Engineering Companies of New Jersey
American Physical Therapy Association of New Jersey
Bernards Township Regional Chamber of Commerce
Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce
Cape May County Chamber of Commerce
Capital Region Minority Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia
Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey
Chemistry Council of NJ
Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey
Downtown New Jersey
Early Childhood Education Advocates
Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce
Fuel Merchants Associates of NJ
Garden State Pharmacy Owners, Inc
Global Business Alliance
Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce
Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce
Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce
Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce
Hoboken Chamber of Commerce
Home Health Services Association of New Jersey
Hudson County Chamber of Commerce
Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce
Insurance Council of New Jersey
Jersey Shore Partnership
Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce
Marine Trades Association of New Jersey
Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce
Meadowlands Chamber
Monmouth Ocean Development Council
Morris County Chamber of Commerce
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
Newark Regional Business Partnership
New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons
New Jersey Bankers Association
New Jersey Business & Industry Association
New Jersey Campground Owners and Outdoor Lodging Association
New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers
New Jersey Concrete and Aggregate Association
New Jersey Dental Association
New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association
New Jersey Hotel and Lodging Industry Association
New Jersey Independent Electrical Contractors Association
New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce
New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc.
New Jersey Motor Truck Association
New Jersey Pharmacists Association
New Jersey Podiatric Medical Society
New Jersey Realtors
New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association
New Jersey Retail Merchants Association
New Jersey Salon and Spa Coalition
New Jersey Self Insurers Association
New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants
New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce
New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce
New Jersey Tourism & Industry Association
New Jersey Utilities Association
New Jersey Warehousemen & Movers Association
North Jersey Jewish Business Alliance
Ocean City Chamber of Commerce
Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce
Recreational Fishing Alliance
Salem County Chamber of Commerce
Somerset County Business Partnership
Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce
Sussex County Chamber of Commerce
The United Boatmen of N.J.
Union Township Chamber of Commerce