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State Sen. Declan O'Scanlon (R-Little Silver). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

O’Scanlon wants a discrete reopening date

Republican senator says ‘baby steps’ towards normalcy not enough

By Nikita Biryukov, April 29 2021 1:37 pm

State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver) called for Gov. Phil Murphy to set a definite date to lift COVID-19 restrictions Thursday, urging an end to limits on businesses that have been in place for more than a year in some cases.

“Connecticut has given hard target dates in May to fully reopen. Just this morning Mayor De Blasio set July 1st for New York City to fully lift restrictions and fully reopen,” O’Scanlon said. “Yet our Governor clings to a belief that continuing to demoralize us with continued foot-dragging and talk of baby steps is somehow the right path. No, it’s not.”

Though some Republicans have long called for Murphy to ease or outright remove restrictions, O’Scanlon is among the party’s more moderate lawmakers in this sense.

The Monmouth County legislator said the length of the pandemic, coupled with the use of executive orders and directives by Murphy and members of his cabinet, had turned the state’s virus guidance into a series of needlessly complex knots.

“Understandably, this was an unprecedented year that required a good number of governmental regulations to ensure public safety,” O’Scanlon said. “However, an individual simply needs to scroll through the overwhelming list to see what a complicated mess this has become.”

Though Murphy has continued to ease virus restrictions, many are in place, and changes to COVID-19 guidance have kept the state’s limits stricter than those of its neighbors.

To that end, O’Scanlon called for a cull.

“Guidelines across the board need to be appropriately eliminated or updated now that we have the CDC advising that vaccinated individuals can forgo masks outdoors… but NJ still requires them outside of pools, in the open air, in the hot sun,” he said. “What we need is the immediate elimination of irrelevant restrictions and a clear, simple restating of those restrictions that are still pertinent.”

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