‘The psyche of all of us has changed’ – What’s to come in a post-pandemic New Jersey

As the Garden State continues its economic reopening, many have asked when things can go back to normal.

News 12 Staff

May 19, 2020, 11:36 PM

Updated 1,433 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that starting at 6 a.m. Wednesday, car and motorcycle dealers, along with bike shops, can reopen from the coronavirus shutdown for in-person sales.
As the Garden State continues its economic reopening, many have asked when things can go back to normal. But – has COVID-19 changed New Jersey for good? Can things ever truly go back to the way they were before?
“I think that just as 9/11 changed life in some ways forever, I think this has that reality as well,” Murphy said Tuesday.
In a post-pandemic world, the balance of personal freedoms and physical safety may be at odds.
“Exactly what will be the level…that society will move towards in the future? What freedoms will be given up in order to minimize the risk of death? I can’t answer that, but clearly those are the questions that should be raised,” said New Jersey Department of Health communicable disease service medical director Edward Lifshitz.
Some New Jerseyans have criticized the governor for being too slow to reopen the state’s economy. Some small business owners have reopened their establishments, even though they are barred from operating under the executive order. But Murphy says that these rules are essential to keeping New Jersey safe from the virus.
“There’s one binding set of rules of the road, and it’s ours,” he said Tuesday. “And that has been the case and that will be the case.”
Photos: Your Coronavirus Pandemic Experience
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New Jersey’s governorship has historically been one of the most powerful in the nation. The authority a New Jersey governor has only increased under a public health emergency. As governor, Murphy has executive power under the state constitution, a Legislature controlled by fellow Democrats and he is not up for re-election again for another 18 months.
“We move as one state,” Murphy said.
But the lingering question remains – what kind of changes could be permanents in a state looking to stay safe and healthy?
“The psyche of all of us has changed. And I think it’s changed…permanently,” the governor said.
The Department of Health says that it plans to increase testing in some of the state's urban areas. The goal is to increase COVID-19 testing in Elizabeth, Trenton, Camden, Paterson, Atlantic City and Newark.


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