There’s been a lot of squabbling about what should and should not be reopened in New Jersey. Some people think it’s safe to open everything up again and others are still very cautious. But I’ve been very vocal about the fact that Gov. Murphy‘s decision to announce he would re-open indoor dining, and then shutter it just days before that was set to happen, is not only nonsensical but also just downright mean.

After a little tantrum he had while witnessing people out and about on a recent Jersey Shore weekend, he made the decision that we are too irresponsible to eat inside restaurants. But people can easily eat indoors safely while following all of his COVID-19 orders. Murphy refuses to reveal exactly which data he consulted to make the decision to backpedal on indoor restaurant dining, but the fact remains that many, if not most, small New Jersey restaurants will not survive a summer without offering patrons indoor dining.

If you think Murphy cares about your small business you are woefully misinformed. But you know who does? Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, along with other legislators who have been outspoken about their disagreement with Murphy on many of these COVID-19-related executive orders. And Bramnick, not one to mince words, is trying to do something about it by posting an online petition to urge Murphy to change his decision.

Knowing Murphy as we all do now, this is most likely an exercise in futility. We know it’s his way or the highway. There is nothing that can change his mind once he makes it. His decisions are firm and final and no amount of logic or reasoning will get him to change those. It’s about MurphyPower, not about protecting New Jerseyans. I think Bramnick knows this, but I also think that he needs to take some kind of stand.

It’s difficult for somebody like Jon, who who has his heart in the right place (which very few politicians in New Jersey do), to just stand there and watch the state crumbling around him. His petition bemoans all of the sad facts that we know: That restaurants retrofitted their facilities to accommodate outdoor diners, got excited about moving indoors, then retrofitted again to meet new restrictions, purchased food and supplies and advertised and got ready for the big day, which never came — or more accurately, came and went.

The petition’s plea reads: “Restaurants have now been prohibited from offering indoor dining for over 15 weeks. Many of these small, independent eateries that are the bedrock of our communities will not survive. Other businesses in New Jersey have been allowed to reopen at reduced capacity with safeguards in place. Restaurants should be no different.”

While I have little hope that what New Jerseyans want and need will resonate with Emperor Governor Murphy, I’ll still provide a link to the petition here anyway and urge you to sign it. If for no other reason than to show your support for these hapless New Jersey business owners whose survival is, quite literally, at the governor’s mercy.

Taking Care of Business: Wednesday at 7 p.m., Eric Scott leads a discussion on how to support businesses — and how they can keep you safe as they reopen in the pandemic. Listen on New Jersey 101.5 FM, the NJ 101.5 app or, and join the discussion in real time at

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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