(Newton, NJ) Members of Sussex County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously passed a resolution at their meeting on Tuesday that established a non-interference policy with Sussex County businesses.
The resolution was modeled after Hunterdon County’s, following Gov. Phil Murphy’s enactment of his Executive Order 195, which gave counties and municipalities the authority to pile on further restrictions and set deeper curfews than Murphy had imposed in Executive Order 194, which restricted indoor operations at food and beverage establishments between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily.
“Our businesses in Sussex County are all essential and the backbone of our communities,” said Freeholder Director Sylvia Petillo, who, along with the other freeholders, emphasized how businesses within the county have already suffered greatly under the Murphy Administration’s overreaching restrictions.
Petillo encouraged residents to, whenever possible, shop locally rather than online; and order food, even if by takeout, from local eateries, to help them persevere through the restriction difficulties.
“Our businesses have suffered enough, strangled by arbitrary policies passed by these Executive Orders, with no legislative oversight,” Freeholder Deputy Director Dawn Fantasia said. “To me, every business is essential when it’s putting food on the table or the roof over your head for your family. The governor continues to pick winners and losers.”
Fantasia said Sussex County officials stand with businesses and Freeholders of Hunterdon and Warren Counties, refusing to impose greater limitations on local businesses. These three counties previously petitioned for a regional reopening, passing recommendations to Trenton, which were ignored by the Murphy Administration.
“I am so sorry, I am so sorry this is happening to our businesses,” Fantasia said about the Murphy directives. “This board is standing in solidarity to do everything we possibly can to help you fight for your rights.”
Fantasia said the 10 p.m. issue for New Year’s Eve, something brought to the attention of the board by one of the county businesses that spoke about their concerns with the restrictions, was now on her radar; and she would contact District 24 Legislators on the topic.
She also pointed out that in a tax climate index, New Jersey ranked 50 of all states, or the “bottom of the barrel,” with the state so unfriendly that large businesses have been driven from New Jersey, with small businesses now choked by the Murphy Administration edicts.
“This is a stress test for the Constitution,” Freeholder Joshua Hertzberg added.
Hertzberg said businesses know best how to operate and “when government thinks it knows better, that’s when we have problems.”
He and Freeholder Anthony Fasano agreed businesses have taken the appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of their employees and patrons.
“Now is absolutely not the time to further regulate businesses in Sussex County,” Fasano said.
Fasano said he was impressed with operation plans that he had seen several area businesses create, in response to the pandemic requirements imposed on them by the federal and state guidelines.
Fasano recommended that county businesses list their information on an interactive map, available on the Sussex County, Sussex County Chamber of Commerce and Sussex County Economic Development Partnership websites. He said residents should also visit the map as an informational resource, where they can locate details about businesses listed, including hours of operations, during the pandemic.
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