HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – Stating that that private businesses know better than government how to ensure the protection of the health of their customers and employees, while still being economically feasible, the Hunterdon County Freeholder Board this week approved a county policy not to interfere with private business operations with regard to hours of operation.
The Freeholders’ action comes in response to Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order #195 delegating authority to counties and municipalities to regulate the operating hours of non-essential businesses after 8:00 p.m.
Freeholder Board Director Shaun C. Van Doren said, “I believe this is another area where the philosophy of this Board diverges from the Governor’s. We see private business people as best positioned to make these decisions, not the government.”
Freeholder John E. Lanza, in sponsoring the resolution, said, “Businesses know their customers and know they must market health safety right now. Those presently in operation in Hunterdon County already require customers and employees to wear masks, observe social distancing, and follow health mandates as directed by the state and county Departments of Health and the CDC. They don’t need the nanny state looking over their shoulder.”
The resolution notes that the Governor’s previous orders shutting down businesses throughout the state earlier in the year and restricting their re-opening has resulted in the closing of many businesses, tens of thousands of lost jobs, and economic devastation across New Jersey.
Lanza suggested the resolution be forwarded to the Warren and Sussex County Freeholder Boards to encourage a regional approach. He noted the three counties joined forces in May to create a regional ‘Gateway to Resources for Business Re-opening’ website, providing the latest information on the best practices for commercial re-openings and that encouraged the Governor to permit regional re-openings of business.
“We learned that shutting down badly damaged the economy and put people out of work. At the time the Freeholders called on the Governor to recognize that different regions are affected differently by the corona virus spread. In delegating this authority, the Governor has recognized we were correct,” van Doren said.