New Jersey restaurants can’t get a break. First, it was the total shutdown, which forced restaurants to become takeout places. Then, there was the abrupt about-face last summer when Gov. Phil Murphy decided not to open indoor dining as planned.

Now, with restaurants finally open but at 25% indoor capacity only, New Jersey restaurateurs were hoping against hope that the indoor limit would be raised from 25% to 50%. Rumors flew and hopes were high. However, Murphy announced yesterday that capacity limits will not be increased.

So now what are we going to do for New Jersey restaurants? Monday, Murphy vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have provided another $30 million for restaurant owners who were affected by his abrupt change of course in July. This would help them recoup their losses from the money they spent to prepare for an opening that never happened. Murphy defended the veto by saying that a new check from the CARES Act would provide enough money for these restaurants. But there’s never going to be enough to make up for Murphy‘s decisions regarding the COVID-19 shut downs and capacity limits.

According to article on about the veto, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, a bill sponsor, criticized the veto, saying “It is unthinkable that the governor would veto bipartisan legislation to help restaurants that passed unanimously in both houses.”

The governor claims that the goals of the bill have already been achieved and that the CARES Act money is enough. If he really cared about New Jersey businesses as he claims to, wouldn’t he give restaurants as much money as was available to them? Wouldn’t he be willing to give them the $35 million available to them from the CARES Act and then an additional $30 million from New Jersey as well? If he cared, he would.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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