A behind the scenes view
Dear New Jersey NFIB Members,
After three long months, the state took a big step in the reopening this week with the start of outdoor dining, non-essential child care, and indoor retail shopping. I worked with the Alcohol Beverage Commission to make sure liquor licenses could be expanded to sidewalks and parking lots (Executive Order 150). Also, NFIB joined the broader business community to repeatedly stress to the Governor’s policy team that they needed to be reasonable and move forward on opening Main Street.
There was a certain irony that the Governor willingly allowed protests and even participated, but many businesses still could not open. When pressed into a corner, the Governor issued another Executive Order that announced the number of people allowed into buildings. (Executive Order 152)
Getting the Governor’s team to focus on reopening the personal service industry was indeed a challenge. I was on several calls arguing for that industry. Allowing for hair to be blow-dried was a battle. What was the science that said COVID could be in clean hair and be blown into air ducts? It doesn’t exist. June 22 will be a happy day for barbershops, massage spas, hair, nail and tanning salons, and tattoo parlors too as they all can reopen (Salon Rules).
NFIB also supported Senate Bill 2522 which allows municipalities to designate days when any local street, road, or sidewalk can be closed to traffic so restaurants, bars, and retail business can extend their business premises. The bill passed the Senate and is awaiting Assembly action.
Not surprisingly, the 1,021,339 unemployment claims filed between March 15 and June 6 was the largest volume NJ has ever seen in such a short period. During that 12-weeks, $6.25 billion in federal and state benefits went into the pockets of unemployed and underemployed NJ workers. Hopefully, the Department of Labor will see a significant drop in claims as small businesses begin reopening.
NFIB’s New Jersey State Director