Murphy Announces State is Suing Asbury Park Over EO Violation

With Phase 2 of New Jersey’s reopening slated to begin this Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said today that the state will be bringing a lawsuit against Asbury Park for allowing indoor dining and violating his executive order.

The Asbury Park City Council voted two days ago to allow indoor dining in restaurants and bars starting on Monday, a move that Murphy yesterday called “inconsistent with [his] executive order.”

“We have worked with the governing body of Asbury Park to try to amicably resolve the issue of their resolution regarding indoor dining,” Murphy said at today’s COVID-19 press briefing. “Unfortunately, they have not done so. We have one set of rules and they are based on one principle, and that is ensuring public health. The attorney general will be bringing a lawsuit as we speak against Asbury Park to enforce our orders.”

Asbury Park’s decision to allow indoor dining services includes restrictions, such as capacity limits and social distancing guidelines, though the city did caution that businesses should be aware that the decision could be overruled by the state.

“There is no question that this virus is multiples more lethal inside than outside, the evidence is overwhelming,” Murphy said. “There’s a method to what we are doing here. … We are taking steps in small batches so that we have some amount of controlled variables. If we took 10 steps on Monday, and we had a flare up, then it would be very hard to figure out which step had led to that flare up.”

Murphy added, “We will do whatever it takes to save any life we can.”

Stage 2 of Reopening is On Deck

As previously mentioned, stage two of New Jersey’s reopening will begin this Monday, June 15, with the reopening of non-essential retail and outdoor dining.

Murphy also announced that an administrative order will allow libraries to conduct curbside pickup also starting on Monday.

Additionally, the governor said he is signing an executive order today that will officially allow personal care services to open on June 22, including beauty salons, barber shops, cosmetology shops, day and medical spas, electrology facilities, hair braiding shops, massage parlors, nail salons, tanning salons and tattoo parlors.

He added that saunas, steam rooms or shared bathing facilities that may be a part of some facilities will not be permitted to be opened.

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs is expected to put out an administrative order that will provide guidelines that personal care businesses will need to abide by in the coming days.

The Department of Education is also releasing guidance today that will allow school districts to conduct in-person summer educational programs, including extended school year, beginning July 6.

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