TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — First, it was the Jersey Shore and now more. On Monday, nonessential retailers were able to start selling again with curbside pickups, as more businesses in New Jersey strive to reopen.
“Getting ourselves to a new normal is never easy, nor is it ever quick,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Taking several steps to reopen New Jersey, Murphy unveiled a three-stage process that takes the state from maximum restrictions to what he calls “the new normal.”
Murphy says we are currently in stage one of three, relaxing restrictions on low-risk activities.
That included opening beaches this past weekend, which he said went well other than not enough people were wearing face masks and were standing too close on some boardwalks.
Another part of stage one began Monday morning with nonessential retailers allowed to do curbside sales.
“It’s very exciting to be talking to people again,” said Julie Beddingfield, owner of Inkwood Books in Haddonfield.
Shops like Inkwood Books had more than a dozen customers scheduled for pickups Monday and Beddingfield says the calls keep coming.
“So to be able to just talk to a mom and find out what her 8-year-old likes to read and make that connection and say, ‘I have this book and I’ll put it out on the cart,’ that’s huge because that’s really what we do,” Beddingfield said.
While curbside sales could help thousands of mom-and-pop stores generate much-needed revenue, some say it’s not enough.
Leaders from Atlantic County sent Gov. Murphy a letter on behalf of shore businesses that aren’t designed for curbside pickup.
“We urge you to provide them the same opportunities by reopening retail businesses in time for the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to the summer season. Their futures may depend on these next few months. Without the ability to capitalize on Memorial Day business, their already uphill battle becomes far more daunting,” the letter read.
“Like each of you, I am anxious to get to stage two, but to do that, we will need to see continued improvement in the data,” Murphy said. “And we need you to keep doing what you have been doing so, so well.”
Murphy says some of the hardest activities to safeguard against the coronavirus are things that take place indoors and involved sitting still, like dining or attending worship services.
He says these are some of the topics his advisory councils are working on now.