S2478 (Sweeney) S2479 (Sweeney)
The Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey (CCSNJ) would like to voice our opposition to S2478 (Sweeney) and S2479 (Sweeney). These bills would require casinos operating in State to establish sanitization procedures and require the New Jersey Department of Health to establish sanitization guidelines for hotels operating in State, respectively. The CCSNJ is concerned about the safety of employees and guests, however there must be a balance between the how safety precautions are implemented and the business model being able to operate efficiently.
As currently written, S2478 (Sweeney) would make it cost prohibitive for casinos to reopen. The casino industry has already had its own set of challenges as it relates to reopening. According to the Spring 2020 edition of The South Jersey Economic Review released by Stockton University on April 21, the economic output lost during the shutdown is only a part of the problem. Deemed the “COVID-19 drag” the gaming and hospitality industries are going to have an elongated operational strain due to the need for spacing and capacity issues.
S2479 (Sweeney) requires the Commissioner of Health to issue protocols for the sanitization of each hotel in the State. It is important that Businesses have the proper tools to mitigate the looming economic crisis a result of COVID-19 and the CCSNJ is concerned this legislation would place additional burdens on the hotel/motel industry already struggling during this pandemic.
As always, the CCSNJ opposes any employer mandate that removes the ability for a business to make the best overall business decision for their company – and, unfortunately S2478 (Sweeney) and S2479 (Sweeney) does just that. The CCSNJ is concerned with legislating a casino or hotel reopening, believing instead that the decision should be made by the casino owners and operators who know their industry best and have the health and safety of all casino employees at top of mind.
It is for these reasons, the CCSNJ opposes S2478 (Sweeney) and S2479 (Sweeney).