CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state’s first retailers allowed to resume in-person sales. Bicycle shops along with car and motorcycle dealerships are allowed to reopen for in-person sales under an administrative order that goes into effect at 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Although auto dealerships are happy to be reopening for in-person sales, one South Jersey dealership says it was a move they weren’t expecting until at least June.
Now, they’re working to make sure employees and customers can sell and shop safely.
“We weren’t sure when it would happen, right? I really thought we were going to get more notice than one day or less than a day,” said Ziad Nashed, owner of Subaru of Cherry Hill.
Starting Wednesday morning, dealerships will be able to resume in-person sales.
“I’m very happy because all of my guys are anxious to come back,” Nashed said.
The reopening caught Nashed by surprise but he and several other managers will meet Wednesday morning to discuss their reopening procedures.
“We’re not going to be open, business, as usual, tomorrow still, because I’m not prepared. That was just way too short of notice for us to do that. So tomorrow we’re going to talk about it and we’re going to figure out how many employees should come back based on the business,” Nashed said.
Nashed said the reopening comes at a great time. His sales have declined significantly since March.
“In the first two weeks, it was probably about 10% of what normal is. And I think the last five or six weeks have been maybe 30%,” Nashed said.
As New Jersey continues to reopen slowly, businesses are taking precautions.
“It’s a balance for us in terms of how many personnel to have here. It’s a balance in how many people we let come in,” Nashed said.
The Garden State reported an additional 1,055 coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 149,000. There were also another 162 COVID-19-related deaths as the death toll hit 10,586.
Gov. Murphy says as the state begins to reopen, residents must continue to social distance.
“This is no time for anyone to be spiking any footballs or patting anyone on the back,” Murphy said. “Those things wouldn’t comport with social distancing, anyway. This is a time for us to double-down. Let’s keep it up.”
CBS3’s Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.