State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) called on Gov. Phil Murphy to lift all COVID-19 restrictions by July 1, becoming the first Democrat to call for a definite end to limits imposed through executive power.
“As vaccination rates continue to rise, we should aim to fully reopen the state by July 1,” she said. “People and businesses need time and resources to plan the launch of our new normal. Setting the July date, and passing legislation I introduced to provide $300 million in additional aid to small businesses will give them the lead time and support necessary to ensure their success this summer and beyond.”
Though Republicans have long targeted Murphy’s response to the pandemic and his relative slowness in lifting virus restrictions, Democrats have, so far, largely stayed silent on the matter.
Addiego, a former Republican who joined the Democratic party in early 2019, faces a tough re-election race in the competitive eighth legislative district. Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton), a popular former Burlington County Sheriff, is running for her seat.
The senator’s target reopening date coincides with the one set by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wants the city to lift almost all capacity limits starting July 1.
Though New Jersey continues to ease its restrictions, Murphy has not provided a discrete date to lift its limit.
“Our neighboring states are moving forward and we should too. We have already seen too many businesses close for good,” Addiego said. “A July reopening will allow businesses a full summer, without capacity limitations, to get back on their feet.”
Friday’s call isn’t the first time Addiego has put herself opposite the governor. She sponsored a resolution calling for the resignation of Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks over inmate beatings at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, the state’s only women’s prison.
That move came after Stanfield announced an impeachment resolution against Hicks, whom Murphy is keeping on pending the results of an independent probe by former State Comptroller Matt Boxer.