TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Nonessential businesses, shuttered because of the coronavirus outbreak will open Monday for curbside pickup, as will nonessential construction.
Curbside pickup at businesses and nonessential construction started at 6 a.m. under an executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy.
For Madison Ramirez and her Meraki Market shop in Haddonfield, it's clear that change is needed.
"You guys knocked on the door, it was kind of embarrassing. I was literally just crying," she said. "We're making no money."
For Michele Grimes and her Beauty Trenz hair solon in Collingswood, it means her first income since early March.
"Now people that know if they need a product or an accessory they can come here," she said.
Last week Murphy said the state's COVID-19 trends are headed in the right direction, leading him to relax the nearly two-month-old business shutdown.
Murphy has been under increasing pressure, including from fellow Democrats in the Legislature, to restart businesses, and the state treasury reported last Wednesday that April revenue collections were down 60% compared with last year.
But Murphy said it was the declining figures and not the bleeding state budget that led him to reopen some businesses.
"We want to be quick, but we've got to be right," he said.
He added: "This is a step in a positive direction for all those retailers who were deemed to be nonessential. I think it's a responsible one. We just don't want people congregating. I just don't know how else to say it."
Gatherings by vehicle, as long as people keep social distanced, along with drive-in movies and church services are permitted, Murphy said, clarifying his March stay-at-home executive order.
Tom Bracken, the head of the state Chamber of Commerce said it's too early to know whether the governor's timing was right. He called the reopening of some business a "step in the right direction."
"He's the CEO of New Jersey, and he has made a decision on what will drive openings based on the data. I think anybody could disagree or agree with what he's done," Bracken said. "I think the real test of that will be how quickly we get up and running, how quickly the plan that's being worked on now will be implemented and how quickly we can get back to some sense of normal."
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.
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