Random reader email sums up views of many — and shows why Murphy should be worried

By Tom Bergeron
Central Jersey | May 28, 2020 at 1:06 pm

As we approach the fourth month of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Jersey, some of the expected stresses are starting to show.

Support for Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive orders appear to be starting to soften — and not just by politicos looking to score points or business owners and rally organizers trying to push their agendas.

More and more, everyday citizens are openly questioning what’s going on — based on their own observations.

This e-mail, from a Central Jersey resident, may sum up the feelings of many.

The e-mail:

I am a regular reader of your daily emails.

I went to Home Depot, West Long Branch, for the first time yesterday, and it looked like Macy’s at Christmas. The shoppers were certainly not contractors. The Ulta Beauty store across the parking lot was shut, as I’m sure buying a pipe fitting is much less dangerous than buying cosmetics.

We were supportive of the initial shutdown to flatten the curve and slow the spread; asked and done! However, most of the closures now appear arbitrary, without data and science to support them.

The big stores are doing well, with others being crushed. A children’s clothing store is certainly not going to bring all (its items) to the curb.

If you want the state budget to recover, OPEN UP. If I’m vulnerable, I will choose to stay away.

Let’s have a new sign: No Shoes, No Shirts, No Masks, No Service … simple.

How many more citizens feels this way? The governor has to be wondering.

Murphy made a number of strong moves early. Despite the fact that New Jersey has the second-most cases in the country, the feeling is that Murphy’s moves have kept the state’s numbers lower than they could have been.

He repeated the rationale for his decisions again Wednesday:

“Public health creates economic health; data determines dates,” he said.

That may no longer be enough.

This could be one email — one outlier. But it certainly doesn’t feel that way.

Murphy, at his daily briefing Thursday, promised some more information on reopenings Friday. He hedged on how much detail.

“We will begin, I think, with a fair amount of specificity in some cases and, in other cases, directionally, pointing folks as to where we think we can be reasonably headed, particularly over the next 2-3 weeks,” he said.

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