Measure Would Have Reimbursed Restaurants for Losses After Governor Reversed Decision to Allow Indoor Dining to Resume on July 2nd
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, Senator Anthony M. Bucco panned Governor Phil Murphy’s veto of legislation he sponsored to reimburse restaurants for losses incurred after the governor reversed his decision to allow indoor dining to resume on July 2nd.
“Based on Governor Murphy’s personal guidance, restaurants invested a significant amount of money, often on personal credit cards, to restock in anticipation of resuming indoor dining on July 2nd,” said Bucco (R-25). “When the governor reversed course at the last moment, those restaurants suffered steep losses that they could ill afford. It’s unbelievable that Governor Murphy would veto targeted relief funds to cover losses that restaurants incurred to comply with his changing executive orders. It’s a slap in the face to an industry that’s struggling to survive.”
After initially announcing that restaurants could resume indoor dining on July 2nd, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 158 to rescind his prior order and continue a complete prohibition on indoor dining.
Bucco introduced S-2704 after talking with local restaurant owners who warned that they might not survive the major expenses they incurred in anticipation of the governor’s false reopening.
The legislation sought to appropriate $30 million of the $2.4 billion of CARES Act relief funds that New Jersey received from the federal government to fund financial support for food establishments that incurred financial losses as a direct result of the E.O. 158.
While the legislation received unanimous approval in both houses of the Legislature, Governor Murphy sought to downplay his veto of S-2704 by saying that other CARES Act funds had recently been announced to support restaurants.
“I don’t think Governor Murphy truly understands the dire situation that’s facing New Jersey’s restaurant industry,” added Bucco. “We could lose nearly half of our restaurants if we don’t take action to help. They need every penny the governor has promised and more. It’s a shame he hasn’t put the billions we received through the CARES Act to better use.”
A report issued in early October by the State Auditor found that Governor Murphy had spent barely 10% of the $2.4 billion of CARES Act funds received by New Jersey through the end of September.