TRENTON, NJ – COVID-19 breakouts are bound to happen. Flareups are bound to happen, but how the government reacts to those breakouts has a long-lasting impact on the entire economy of the entire estate. Until this week, Governor Murphy and his health experts have told us each day that COVID-19 outbreaks have not been reported in bars or restaurants due to indoor dining. This was determined through months of COVID-19 contact tracing, conducted by Governor Phil Murphy’s army of 2,000 plus COVID-19 contact tracers.
So what changed in the past 24 hours?
It turns out Murphy’s decision was based on a single outbreak in a single town in a single bar at the Jersey Shore, Leggetts SandBar in Manasquan. It happened back in October and while Murphy says his approach would be a scalpel approach, he instead used a sledgehammer to enforce a statewide shutdown because one bar, over the course of the nine-month-long pandemic had one “flare up” of COVID-19.
Now, the entire industry is once again going to be shut down. The actions of Murphy are a frightful one indeed. What happens when somebody finally gets COVID-19 and it traces back to a restaurant? Will that one restaurant be shut down or will the entire state be shut down?
Murphy knee-jerked on this decision.
“You know, we get reports every day and we’ll have a report of, you know, an outbreak amongst restaurant workers at a particular restaurant. Maybe it’ll be two or three cases. But actually, we had at least nine bartenders and servers got COVID in this setting, and we had to put out an alert,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichili. “And I’ll just read it to you. The New Jersey Department of Health would like to notify the public of a potential COVID-19 exposure at a Monmouth County Bar and Grill due to multiple cases linked to the establishment. And then we went on to identify anyone who visited Leggett Sandbar located at, and the address, between the dates of October 17th and October 22nd may have been exposed to COVID-19. The Monmouth County Health Department is actively investigating these cases and exposures. They conducted a site visit on October 23rd and the restaurant is cooperating.”
Persichili said that was just one example, but didn’t cite others at COVID-19 facts and data are closely guarded by the Murphy administration. Virus data has become a state secret in New Jersey and the information is not shared with the public, the media and not even with state legislators who have also been requesting access to the raw data collected by the state.