An Executive Order signed by Governor Murphy mandating bars and restaurants to suspend indoor dining between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. has been in place since the fall and continues to financially strangle the industry hit hardest by the pandemic. The 10th District Legislators, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano have released the following statement requesting that the Governor remove the 10 p.m. curfew in order to prevent these small businesses from closing their doors permanently.
“We understand it’s a balancing act to maintain a healthy community and a healthy economy for our small businesses. However, we believe the adjustments these establishments have made to ensure their patrons safety are working. Lifting the restrictions on early closing times at restaurants and bars will give small businesses some relief going forward.
“Our Governor needs to make exceptions to sustain our local economies and prevent our restaurants from closing their doors permanently. This industry has already lost so much revenue during this time and we need to give them a fighting chance for survival in the months going forward. Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, March Madness, UFC Fights are all opportunities to regain some ground. Bars and restaurants are able to accommodate patrons safely who willing to visit local establishments, whether it’s day or night. Does it make any sense to differentiate between 9:45 and 10:15?
“If the Governor mandates private businesses to close to protect the public good, then he should also reimburse these establishments for any revenue lost. Our bill, S-3060/A-4849, compensates the business owner for loss of income during a temporary partial or complete closure of the business.
“Legislation along with lifting arbitrary restrictions on these establishments is the only way to keep the lights on for an industry that has been gutted since March.”