‘Not willing to put businesses out of business a 2nd time.’ Jersey City holds off on new COVID restrictions

As many New Jersey towns begin implementing a new round of restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise, Jersey City’s mayor says that this is not the answer. Mayor Steve Fulop says that the restrictions won’t stop the spread of the virus, but could stop some local businesses for good.
“That’s what we’ve dealt with from when we started – days rainy or cold,” says Luna Restaurant owner Julian Muscio.
Dreary days are bad for businesses like Luna Restaurant, which have to rely on outdoor dining while statewide indoor dining restrictions are in place. Fulop says that he is not ready to make it more difficult for small businesses to function.
“We’re definitely seeing an uptick like everyone in the region, and we are concerned and we are watching it,” Fulop says. “But at the same time, we recognize it’s a fragile situation for our businesses here. So, added restrictions can put them out of business.”
Fulop says that Jersey City was among the first cities in the region to enforce curfews and shutdowns in March. But he says that after eight months, more is known about the virus and that the city should take a different approach.
“There’s no benefit to being early and on an island with closing things down, because ultimately it doesn’t happen only at night. It happens throughout the day. It doesn’t happen only at restaurants. You can go to the shopping center, you can go to the supermarket and get COVID all the same,” Fulop says.
And as neighboring cities such as Hoboken and Newark implement curfews and other restrictions, Fulop says that Jersey City will be different. He says that what other mayors do for their cities is their prerogative, but he says that he thinks it should take a more regional approach.
“I’m not willing to put businesses out of business a second time,” Fulop says. “We aren’t going to take that approach today. We can balance public health, which is a priority, while making sure the economy stays intact.”
The mayor says that his team will be keeping an eye on the rising COVID numbers, contact tracing data and the infection rate and may make future decisions about restrictions.