Monday's announcement that Governor Murphy is delaying the opening of restaurants for indoor dining is another crushing blow for the restaurants that have barely survived the state shutdown.

Reports that some restaurants in his neighborhood were packed with patrons shoulder to shoulder not wearing masks may have prompted the hissy-fit of shutting down the plans to open more for indoor dining. The governor claims it's the report of higher numbers of cases in other states that have opened up. The majority of those cases are the result of much more testing and many of the newer cases are young people who are either asymptomatic or mildly ill and don't require hospitalization.

The governor's own health commissioner, Judy Persichilli, has said publicly that we're all likely to get COVID-19. So let's shield the vulnerable and the scared in our population. The governor should focus on keeping hospitals well-staffed, well-supplied and up on the latest effective treatments and stop acting like a tyrannical autocrat.

If there were any establishments that were outside of the law, then enforce the law, but don't punish all of the hard-working owners, cooks, managers and servers who've prepared to finally try and dig out of the hole you've put them in. They've ordered food, recalled employees and made all the preparations necessary for reopening on a date you promised they could.

Let people in a free society live as free people. Let them assess the risks and act accordingly. You've said the Bill of Rights is above your pay grade and that's the most honest and accurate statement you've ever made in your public life. Your job is to lead, not to rule with an autocratic, spiteful iron fist. You've bungled this pandemic from the beginning, forcing long-term care facilities to take COVID-19 patients, because you didn't want to overwhelm the hospitals. They weren't overwhelmed but lots of older people died. Maybe they weren't useful to your political aspiration.

This postponing of restaurants opening pronouncement comes on the eve of very important weekend for New Jersey dining establishments. A weekend when we celebrate our freedom from a tyrannical king. As famous New Jersey native Yogi Berra famously once said, "It's deja vu all over again."

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

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