New Jersey is experiencing a "big day" as restaurants start to open with limited seating outdoors and as retail stores reopen, but Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that he believes coronavirus will hit again. The state experienced the second-highest numbers of COVID-19 deaths in the country.
"My gut tells me, and I'm practicing without a license, that this will come back, but God willing it will come back in spurts that we can, with testing and contact tracing, surround it and push it back down," the Democrat governor told NBC "Today" co-anchor Savannah Guthrie during an interview from the boardwalk at Asbury Park.
On Monday, New Jersey's outdoor dining, all retail stores, and daycare centers reopened. Barbershops and hair salons will reopen next week, and "we're slowly but surely getting back on our feet," Murphy said.
As Murphy spoke to Guthrie, a heckler yelled at him about how Murphy has handled the state's reopening, including at one point calling the governor a "traitor."
Guthrie noted the man and asked Murphy about the rage people feel about businesses remaining closed.
“This guy deserves to say what he wants to say," Murphy said. “But honestly, overwhelmingly the majority of folks get it. We make the decisions; they’re not arbitrary. They’re based on facts and data.”
The unknown heckler was not charged, as he "said what he had to say and moved along,” Sgt. Lawrence Peele said, reports NJ.com.
Murphy noted that COVID-19 killed more than 12,600 people in his state and that the virus is "far more lethal" indoors than outside.
"We have to be very careful about opening things up that are inside, lack of ventilation, close proximity," said Murphy. "We'll get there. No question we'll get there. We're just not ready yet."
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