New Jersey's 1st Legislative District

Senator Michael Testa

District 1

South Jersey Legislators Call for Refocus on County-Specific Approach to Handle Second Wave

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Senator Michael Testa, Assemblyman Erik Simonsen, and Assemblyman Antwan McClellan (all R-1) are pushing Governor Phil Murphy to consider a regional approach to managing a second wave of COVID-19, should a resurgence hit New Jersey.

Testa, Simonsen & McClellan are pushing Gov. Murphy to consider a regional approach to managing a second wave of COVID-19, should a resurgence hit New Jersey. (SenateNJ.com)

“The one-size-fits-all restrictions that Governor Murphy has employed since March across New Jersey have done more harm than good to areas that haven’t been hit as hard by COVID-19,” said Testa. “Even though Cape May and Cumberland counties have fared well due to the proactive steps our residents have taken to mitigate the virus, our small businesses still have suffered under the governor’s blanket mandates. Implementing a more targeted approach as we have advised would help communities to respond locally to resurgences of the coronavirus without impacting the entire New Jersey economy and efforts to get people back to work.”

The legislators noted that Cape May County has lower rates of COVID-19 than other areas of New Jersey.

“There is no scientific reason or data that suggest counties with low-infection rates should face the same economically destructive rules as places with high-infection rates,” said Simonsen. “There should have been a more localized approach from the beginning. The economic consequences in South Jersey are already too large, and with tourism decreasing there is less cause for concern for people’s health and greater cause for concern of their ability to put a roof over their family’s head and food on the table.”

In response to the statewide COVID-19 shutdown in March, many counties throughout New Jersey, including Cape May, proposed localized reopening plans that could be safely implemented as local cases declined.

“Other states have successfully employed a regional approach in response to COVID-19,” said McClellan. “They aren’t across the country either, those states are right next door. It is time for Governor Murphy to stop being stubborn and arbitrary. The people of South Jersey aren’t knuckleheads. We are capable of taking care of ourselves and our communities. If another surge happens, we will be prepared and take all precautions.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently discouraged the use of lockdowns as a primary method for stopping the spread of the coronavirus

“Gov. Murphy missed the mark in the Spring of 2020 when he let Cape May County’s safe, thoughtful, and comprehensive reopening plan fall to the wayside,” added Testa. “Health experts from WHO said it and I’m simply repeating it – we must stop using broad lockdowns as the predominant method to stop COVID from spreading. Employing a more thoughtful regional approach to managing the coronavirus risk will protect both lives and livelihoods.”

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