MORRIS COUNTY — Governor Phil Murphy’s decision to open restaurants this week at 25 percent capacity isn’t enough to help the restaurants and catering halls that didn’t close for good during the pandemic says Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce. She called for more help and relief from the Economic Development Authority.
“The prolonged shutdown of restaurants has driven many out of business and severely hurt others that are barely surviving,” said DeCroce (R-Morris). “The governor’s restriction on indoor dining will not allow restaurant owners to make a profit or recover lost revenue from having their doors locked to customers.”
DeCroce the prime sponsors of a bill (A4413), which passed both houses of the legislature unanimously last week, that appropriates $30 million to the state Economic Development Authority from the over $2 billion left in CARES Act block grants. The aid would be used to support establishments affected by the shutdown, particularly those that spent money to reopen on July 2 before Murphy reversed his decision by Executive Order No. 158.
“I don’t think the governor understands the extent of the economic and psychological misery his shutdown of the restaurant industry has caused,” said DeCroce. “His indiscriminate edicts hurt not just restaurant owners but staff, and those businesses that supply restaurants with food, linens, and equipment. The shutdown has rippled through the economy in ways the governor doesn’t realize.”
The restaurant industry affects more than 348,000 jobs in New Jersey, according to the National Restaurant Association. Murphy has not signed the bill.