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'There Will Be Blood On Our Hands': Murphy Slams Atlantic County Official Urging NJ's Reopening

Gov. Phil Murphy condemns Atlantic County Surrogate Jim Curcio for a Facebook post calling for the reopening of New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy condemns Atlantic County Surrogate Jim Curcio for a Facebook post calling for the reopening of New Jersey. Photo Credit: Jim Curcio/NJ Gov. Office of the Governor

An Atlantic County official calling for the reopening of New Jersey amid the coronavirus crisis got an earful from Gov. Phil Murphy Saturday.

Atlantic County Surrogate James Curcio published a Facebook post Friday saying officials in his county need to "sound the alarm... Trust American freedom ingenuity and the US Constitution. Untie the hands of the Private Sector so it can rescue NJ from this nightmare."

Murphy's response? "We need responsible leadership."

"If we quote-un-quote untie the system right now there will be blood on our hands," the governor said. "This is literally life and death."

Curcio did not immediately respond to Daily Voice's request for comment.

The governor saw the post during Saturday's COVID-19 press briefing, where he announced more than 4,000 New Jersey residents had died of coronavirus and more than 81,400 had been infected by the virus.

Nineteen coronavirus-related deaths had been reported as of Friday evening in Atlantic County.

New Jersey has been in a near-shutdown for nearly four weeks, however, some lawmakers are urging for the reopening of parks and golf courses.

Murphy said he's had many "constructive and polite back-and-forths" about the fate of parks and golf courses. 

"We believe strongly what we're doing on both of those fronts is what we need to do to keep people safe," the governor said, "and ultimately to keep them alive."

In Atlantic City, the largest municipality in Atlantic County, the boardwalk remains open.

Many New Jersey residents have taken to protesting for the state's reopening. A Toms River woman who helped organize a Trenton protest was charged with violating Murphy's stay-at-home order during the event.

"The minute we feel that confidence [to reopen]," Murphy said, "we will."

Until then, everyone in New Jersey must stay home, the governor said before putting his mask back on.

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