- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2020

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says The Garden State can expect to be dealing with coronavirus shutdown rules for a long time.

The Democrat told citizens that pandemic orders would be in place “until a proven vaccine is widely available.” The announcement comes weeks after residents were told the shutdown would be in effect long enough to flatten the curve of infections.  

“Our goal is to protect our workforce,” he wrote Monday while detailing different phases the state would take in its return to normality. “Sixty percent of our workforce is engaged in a significant amount of contact to co-workers and the public. We’re putting a premium on ensuring workplace safeguards that will protect you, your co-workers, and your customers and clients. Until a proven vaccine is widely available, we cannot firmly enter the ‘new normal,’ when life will once again return to all our workplaces, downtowns, and main streets.”

The pronouncement also comes less than a week since Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy created a viral video on ever-changing litmus tests for reopening the economy offered by U.S. officials. 

“We’ve done exactly what you said — now you’re changing the rules?” he asked May 13. “You can’t stay closed indefinitely. … How the [expletive] is that going to work? We’re staying inside until there’s a cure — when did that become the game? Who said we’re getting a cure?”

Mr. Murphy’s response on Monday for Americans who agree with Mr. Portnoy is to have patience.

“This isn’t going to be quick,” the governor tweeted. “We’re going to move deliberately based on data. We have to move forward based on the facts. Together, we’ll get to the end of this journey stronger and fairer than ever.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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