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Coronavirus Update: Governor Appoints Economic Recovery Commission; Senators Push For Businesses To Reopen Responsibly; Dealers Taking Steps To Keep Everyone Safe

Apr 29, 2020

Gov. Murphy Announces Commission To Advise The Administration On Reopening the State’s Economy

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on April 28th establishing a commission that will advise his administration on New Jersey’s recovery efforts from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in huge swaths of the economy being shutdown or severely curtailed.

The Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission will consist of 21 individuals from health professionals to academics to business leaders. The Commission will be co-chaired by former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Merck CEO Ken Frazier.

Other members include former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke and Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting director for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The commission, which will remain in place for as long as necessary, will begin meeting virtually and will advise Gov. Murphy on the timing of the reopening of nonessential businesses in the state. The group is also expected to short- and long-term economic issues as well as areas such as public health, workforce issues and transportation. The Commission will also develop strategies for how the State and federal governments can support the economic recovery of the private sector and identify needs for federal support and intervention, among other things.

The formation of the Commission follows the unveiling of the Governor’s roadmap of several goals that will need to be met before determining when New Jersey can start relaxing lockdown restrictions. Other members of the commission include:

  • Evelyn McGee-Colbert, president of the board of Montclair Film
  • Tony Coscia chairman of the Amtrak board of directors
  • Jessica Gonzalez, founder and CEO of InCharged, VendX and Lux-UVC
  • Jonathan Holloway, incoming president of Rutgers University
  • Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives at Apple Inc.
  • Jeh Johnson, former U.S. secretary of Homeland Security
  • Charles Lowrey, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc.
  • Denise Morrison, founder of Denise Morrison & Associates, LLC
  • William Rodgers, chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress
  • Rev. Dr. Regena Thomas, director of the Human Rights and Community Relations Department of the American Federation of Teachers & former New Jersey secretary of state
  • Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO

Servicing as ex-officio members on the Commission are:

  • Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver
  • George Helmy, Gov. Murphy’s chief of staff
  • Judith Persichilli, State Health Commissioner
  • Matt Platkin, Gov. Murphy’s chief counsel
  • Kathleen Frangione, Gov. Murphy’s chief policy adviser


Senators Identify “Car Sales” As A Potential Sector That Could
Reopen In the Early Stages of NJ Economic Recovery

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senators Paul Sarlo, M. Teresa Ruiz, Steve Oroho, Declan O’Scanlon and Troy Singleton issued a joint statement offering Governor Murphy’s Economic Commission some potential strategic steps to guide the reopening of New Jersey’s economy.

The Senators stressed the need for advance planning to bolster the state’s economic recovery, restore jobs and businesses, and rebuild the fiscal stability of state and local government while protecting the public’s health and safety. One of the main issues to consider when developing plans for a full-scale lifting of the lockdown restrictions is identifying how low-risk businesses and industries can safely reopen sooner, rather than later. The Senators identified the following areas to consider:

  • Car Sales;
  • Construction;
  • Outdoor recreation like parks & golf courses;
  • Beach activities where social distancing can be sustained; and,
  • Elective Surgeries and other needed medical needs.

Senate President Sweeney would like to see New Jersey begin moving to allow businesses that can operate under the prevailing social distancing guidelines to submit plans and start opening.  NJ CAR has already submitted a plan to the Governor’s Office that would allow dealerships to reopen showrooms for vehicle sales “by appointment” and is awaiting feedback from the Administration.


Dealers Are Taking Steps To Keep Customers & Employees Safe

New Jersey’s neighborhood new car and truck dealerships have taken incredible steps in an extremely short amount of time to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Below are just a few things dealers are doing to keep frontline employees and customers safe.

To overcome the severe shortages of hand sanitizer, one dealership had portable handwash stations placed in front of its service department entrance.

A familiar sight in grocery stores, dealership cashier and servicewriters’ desks are now separated by clear barrier and markers on the floors with the recommended six feet of social distancing between the counter and the customer, with additional markers placed every six feet.

Dealerships are making changes to their customer waiting areas as well. Chairs are being moved six feet apart and more frequent cleaning of chairs and tables addresses customer concerns about whether they can safely wait for their vehicle. Other dealerships have assigned employees to help customers adhere to social distancing and other safety guidelines while visiting the dealership service department.
Employees are wearing face masks and gloves, utilizing them correctly and disposing of them properly. And, of course, they are washing their hands frequently and remembering not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
Essential businesses, like dealerships, are facing a “new normal” to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Dealership owners (and their employees) should continue to review all State and federal guidelines from the CDC, OSHA and EPA regarding ALL mitigation measures that medical experts say will help prevent the spread of Covid-19. This will serve their business and their customers well, as we navigate the ongoing crisis.