As we pass two months since Governor Murphy issued stay-at-home orders, the Governor has given little to no guidance on the reopening of businesses. Recently, Murphy allowed “nonessential” businesses to offer curbside pickup. However, numerous small businesses in Hunterdon County and across New Jersey, are still facing severe economic hardship and many are at risk of never reopening again.
Detailing an innovative way for businesses to reopen, Freeholder Director Shaun C. Van Doren and Deputy Director Susan J. Soloway sent a joint letter to Governor Murphy calling for “nonessential” retail businesses to be allowed to offer appointment-based sales effective immediately.
Freeholder Director Van Doren stated, “Allowing small businesses to offer appointment-based, retail shopping represents the next logical step forward in the reopening of New Jersey’s economy.”
Van Doren also added, “Various business relief programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program are running low on funds, and the United States Congress seems at odds over further economic relief packages.”
Deputy Director Soloway, a liaison to the County’s Economic Development Office stated, “The Hunterdon County Freeholder Board has heard from numerous small business owners that are rightfully concerned about their long-term economic future. As New Jersey’s ongoing lockdown continues, those businesses deemed as “nonessential” face an uncertain future. Appointment-based shopping offers a critical lifeline to many mom and pop businesses that are teetering on the edge of fiscal disaster.”
Soloway also noted, “There is no reason that an art gallery, specialty clothing store, pottery business, flower shop, or children’s toy store cannot offer a safe shopping experience in such a controlled environment.”
Van Doren and Soloway both noted that time is not on the side of many small businesses and downtowns across New Jersey. Both concurred that Governor Murphy must consider some reasonable measures to provide some financial relief sooner rather than later.