Gov.Murphy stopped by the Asbury Park boardwalk near Convention Hall this morning (June 15) to chat with the Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie about the state’s reopening today.
Murphy defended his call to allow outside dining ahead of inside dining after a very public dispute with the city’s governing body last week.
The city voted to allow indoor dining along with outdoor dining, which prompted a quick rebuke and injunction from Trenton.
The city relented and told restaurant owners not to open their doors to allow dining or risk being penalized or fined.
Mayor John Moor and Councilwoman Eileen Chapman were on the boardwalk at 7 a.m. on Monday, but Moor said he would not be on air and had been interviewed by NBC on Friday.
Although Murphy said it was a big day for the state’s business owners and residents, Guthrie said many are still enraged about not being able to dine and shop, while stores like Home Depot are open for business. She said there seems to be a “disconnect” when mass protests are taking place across the state.
“Why aren’t you opening more quickly?” she asked Murphy.
“The majority of folks get it, overwhelmingly, we make the decisions, they’re not arbitrary, it’s based on facts and data,” Murphy said.
Still, Guthrie asked about plans to “pick up the pace.”
“We’er comfortable where we are, well get there, we’re just not ready yet…I don’t think we can responsibly go faster,” Murphy said.
As the second hardest hit state, Murphy also reiterated the call for mask-wearing, distancing and hand washing.
New Jersey’s virus spread rate is down but Guthrie asked about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s threat to shut down his state as residents ignore health guidelines.
“It’s on the table….I hope to God we don’t have to,” Murphy said.
He said the state is building up its testing and contact tracing.
He said if Covid-19 resurfaces, he believes there will be guidelines in place to halt the spread.
“We can surround it and drive it back into the ground,” he said. “I’m less worried about outdoor…it will come back but in spurts and with contract tracing we can we drive it back into the ground.”
Regarding the recent racial justice protests Murphy, who attended two protests with his family, said the discussion to defund police is not a black and white question.
“It’s a mosaic with lots of pieces…not words but where are you putting your money,” he said.
Murphy said his administration has been investing heavily in education, health care and social services.
“We have to deepen the relationship between law enforcement and our communities God knows we still have a long way to go,” he said.
The governor also said he met with President Trump in Bedminster on Friday and discussed, the virus and economy but the main point of discussion was the Portal North Bridge in Kearny over the Hackensack River.
He said Trump approved the project, which has been discussed since 1910 and will create 15,000 jobs in New Jersey.
“That was the bulk of our discussion,” he said.