09.06.30 - Blue laws
 
 

Bergen County, New Jersey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One of the last remaining blue laws in the United States that covers virtually all selling is found in Bergen County. It has produced the ironic situation that one of the largest and most popular commercial shopping cores of the New York metropolitan area[34] is almost completely closed on Sunday (grocery stores are allowed to operate). Furthermore, Bergen County has significant populations of Jewish (2000 estimate of 83,700) and Muslim (2000 estimate of 6,473) residents whose observant members would not be celebrating their Sabbath on Sunday with most of their Christian neighbors.[35] The substantial Orthodox Jewish minority is placed in the position of being unable to shop either on Sunday (due to the blue laws) or on Saturday (due to religious observance).[36][37]

However, repeated attempts to lift the law have failed as voters either see keeping the law on the books as a protest against the growing trend toward increasing hours and days of commercial activity in American society or enjoy the sharply reduced traffic on major roads and highways on Sunday that is normally seen the other days of the week. In fact, a large part of the reason for maintaining the laws has been a desire for relative peace and quiet one day of the week by many Bergen County residents.[38]

This desire for relative peace is most apparent in Paramus, where most of the county's largest shopping malls are located, along the intersecting highways of Route 4 and Route 17, which are jam-packed on many Saturdays. Paramus has enacted blue laws of its own that are even more restrictive than those enforced by Bergen County,[39] banning all forms of "worldly employment" on Sundays, including white collar workers in office buildings.[38][40]

The Bergen County court system consists of a number of municipal courts handling traffic court and other minor matters, plus the Bergen County Superior Court which handles the more serious offenses.

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