“Last night, New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner, Judith Persichilli, signed an order closing a gym in Bellmawr which has been operating in defiance of Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order closing nonessential businesses. The commissioner’s order will continue to maintain measures set forth to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our county and statewide.
Today, more than 5,900 of our residents have been infected with COVID-19 and tragically more than 287 have died from this insidious disease since March 1 in Camden County. As I stated earlier this week, we are experiencing a public health crisis, the likes of which has not been seen in this state since the 1918 Spanish Flu. More than 10,700 New Jersey residents have lost their lives, and the county and our towns have had to take aggressive action to save lives and break the back of this virus.
No one has been immune to the economic ramifications of this crisis, least of all our small business owners. Unfortunately, the reality of our current situation is that there cannot be a healthy economy without a healthy population. We cannot rush back to business in the interest of short-term relief, because the long-term ramifications will be crippling if we face another widespread outbreak and a return to strict stay-at-home orders and business closures.
As a community, we have to each do our part to stop the spread of this disease. The good news is that we have made real progress on this front. In Camden County, we are finally out of the 30-day range for our doubling rate and our overall growth rate continues to fall. My intention is to work with state leadership to keep these trends heading in the right direction.
We will get through this crisis, painful as it may be, but only if we go about taking our next steps the right way – following the data and the advice of our health experts. The situation in Bellmawr has not followed that path thus far and introduces a risk into our community that we cannot afford. I am hopeful that this situation can be resolved cooperatively, and that the gym will be able welcome back their patrons when, and only when, it has been deemed safe to do so by the state of New Jersey.”