PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, Phillipsburg's Town Council, all Republicans, passed a resolution calling some of Governor Phil Murphy's COVID-19 executive orders an "erosion of civil liberties."
Councilman Robert Fulper, who introduced the resolution, said Phillipsburg's' small businesses, particularly bars and restaurants, are suffering.
"Why am I allowed to eat indoors at an airport even after 10 p.m.? But I can't go to a local restaurant and eat food and enjoy dinner with my family," Fulper said.
Council President Randy Piazza Jr. said he doesn't argue with the science, that masks and social distancing can prevent the spread of disease.
"I think you let the restaurants police themselves. You put out the scientifically proven data and let them adhere to the health standards that are set," Piazza said.
In a statement to 69 News, a spokesperson for Governor Murphy said "we do not comment on partisan political stunts."
A Farleigh Dickinson University survey released in October showed 60% of New Jersey residents approve of the governor's handling of the pandemic.
"Restaurant owners are telling us when we meet with them personally and privately what they feel. They [feel they] can't take that stance because they're afraid their business, that is already hurting, will hurt more if people view it as a political stunt or if they feel the businesses is being too political. These businesses are our constituents. We need to stick up for our constituents," Piazza said.
While Phillipsburg's resolution is only symbolic, and businesses will need to continue to follow state rules, town council said it feels it's on the right track as the same night the resolution was passed, the Supreme Court sided with two New Jersey religious leaders who accused Governor Murphy of violating their religious freedoms during the pandemic.