Ravi Bhalla has once again hit the small businesses of Hoboken with a sucker punch.
After making bars and restaurants jump through hoops all summer and fall with new rules and regulations, it finally looked like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
It wasn’t ideal, but with the New Jersey regulations it appeared bars and restaurants would be able to continue outdoor seating through the winter and continue at 25% capacity indoors. Fine. Restaurants were ready to head into a tough winter with these parameters in mind.
Already in the hole, bar and restaurant owners through Hoboken purchased outdoor equipment to meet the demands of both the city and the state.
Investing in outdoor igloos, TV’s, heating lamps, etc. Equipment that is extremely costly.
Now, after many of these small business owners were already in debt, Ravi Bhalla has shown how little he really cares about their survival with one final curb stomp.
An executive order signed by Mayor Ravi Bhalla earlier this week forced a midnight curfew on all bars and restaurants in Hoboken.
Simply a huge slap in the face to all bar and restaurant owners who spent money they didn’t have to try to survive this winter just to find out that Ravi Bhalla would once again switch the rules on them.
“Higher volumes of music combined with alcohol, makes it likely people talk louder and release more respiratory droplets, making transmission much more likely if someone has COVID-19.” – Hudson County View
Ravi is out of his mind with this one. And understandably, bar owners are in an uproar.
Cork City sent out the following e-mail to their customer base:
This of course comes after Ravi tried to make a money grab at the people of Hoboken by enforcing a mandatory outdoor mask policy at all times. Complete with a $350 fine. As expected, this absurdity was shot down by all angles as even the police station told them they did not feel comfortable enforcing that.
Things like that make you wonder if Ravi Bhalla is just looking to find more rules people can break so the city can collect more fines. Hoboken parking is known to be purposefully confusing, these cash grabs by Hoboken city hall are suspected by some to be a means of collecting enough funds to fix the city’s flooding and sewage issues.
Last month the city was reporting that Hoboken had a total of 772 cases. Not deaths. Hoboken has been largely unaffected by Covid-19 fatalities.
Ravi Bhalla either does not realize what he is putting these businesses through, or he just does not care.
Hoboken has the most bars per capita of any city in America. If the city is going to be shut down, then they need to be given aid to get through this. So do their employees.
Instead, Ravi has chosen to slowly let them die out with no aid (his last “stimulus” was a joke, each bar was given less than 1 months rent). And then also implementing rules that are impossible to follow without going out of business.
Hoboken council and the mayor need to understand just how crucial these bars and restaurants are to the economy of the city. At a certain point, Ravi may become more harmful to Hoboken than Covid itself.
These half measures will just slowly drive Hoboken businesses into bankruptcy and if Ravi doesn’t make a real decision here, Hoboken could end up looking like a ghost town next summer.