Fed up and losing money, small business owners are getting defiant over shutdown

Some small business owners across New Jersey say that they are sick and tired of losing money during the COVID-19 pandemic and are now reopening their businesses.

News 12 Staff

May 19, 2020, 10:20 PM

Updated 1,428 days ago

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Some small business owners across New Jersey say that they are sick and tired of losing money during the COVID-19 pandemic and are now reopening their businesses.
Gov. Phil Murphy ordered thousands of small businesses deemed “nonessential” to shut down back in March as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. This has caused an extreme loss of revenue, with some businesses having to shut down permanently.
Many owners say that it is taking too long for New Jersey’s economy to reopen and they say that they have no choice but to defy the governor’s orders.
One owner is George Verdis, who will open his Parsippany hair salon on June 1.
“We are going to open. We will be ready for business. We are going to take on clients. And it’s on them whether they want to come into our salon,” says Verdis, who owns Brick and Mirror Beauty Bar.
Verdis is not alone. The owners of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr were cited on Monday and again on Tuesday for opening back up. Fines can range up to $2,000.
The owner of Newell Strength in Hillsborough also reopened on Monday. Police gave him a summons to appear in court on June 9.
And the owner of Denville-based Brushed Tanning opened on Friday and so far, has not been cited by police. Her business is booked solid with customers.
Many business owners say that the line between essential and nonessential has been blurred.
“The governor made it very apparent that [hair salons are] not essential, yet dog groomers are essential,” says Verdis.
Kyle Newell says that the business owners are rejecting the concept of essential versus nonessential.
“We drive by Lowes and liquor stores every day and parking lots are filled. And there are lines and mobs of people touching everything in sight,” he says.
The owners also say that because Murphy is using executive orders as opposed to legislative action, the shutdowns and stay-at-home orders are unconstitutional.
Photos: Your Coronavirus Pandemic Experience
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But after announcing Tuesday that another 162 New Jerseyans have died from COVID-19, the governor says that he wants to keep people safe. He says that people would be too close together inside of salons or gyms.
“We are not there on gyms. Let me be unequivocal about that. If we were there, we’d be telling you. It’s indoors, it’s a lot of physical activity in close proximity,” Murphy said.
The owners say that they will deal with the consequence of their actions. They say that they plan to stay open until police physically lock their doors.


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