NJ Governor Murphy announced at a news conference yesterday an executive order requiring all non-essential businesses and businesses that are not exempt from the order (See the list below) to be closed to the public effective from Saturday, 3/21/20 at 9pm. Murphy announced, and comes following similar state closures in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California and other states in recent days.
Here are the key points of Executive Order No. 107:
- All workers in non-essential businesses across New Jersey are required to stay home in an effort to combat the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic..
- Murphy issues stay-at-home order for all residents not involved in essential services
- All public gatherings are canceled, governor says, as state’s case total surpassed 1,327 confirmed cases
- All New Jersey residents should stay at home until further notice, Gov. Phil Murphy announced during his daily briefing Saturday.
- All non-essential retail stores to close indefinitely, starting at 9 p.m. Saturday. Only businesses critical to response may stay open. (See the list below)
- All gatherings are canceled until further notice.
“We must flatten the curve and make sure our residents are practicing social distancing,” Murphy said.
The order should not be confused with a mandatory shelter in place. It is not that. In fact, the order provides for certain exceptions, such as obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work or engaging in outdoor activities.
Murphy also said residents can still go for a walk and go outside — and he encouraged exercise. But he said he is ordering everyone to continue practicing social distancing.
He said the order is an effort to strengthen the existing social distancing measures in place, and prohibits all gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations or other social events, unless otherwise authorized by the executive order. When in public, individuals must practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet apart whenever possible, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members or romantic partners.
“From Day One, we’ve made a commitment to be guided by the facts and take any action necessary to protect the health and safety of New Jersey’s 9 million residents,” Murphy said. “We know the virus spreads through person-to person contact, and the best way to prevent further exposure is to limit our public interactions to only the most essential purposes. This is a time for us all to come together in one mission to ‘flatten the curve’ and slow — and eventually halt — the spread of Coronavirus.”
Businesses that are currently exempt from the order:
- Grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store.
- Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries.
- Medical supply stores.
- Gas stations.
- Convenience stores.
- Ancillary stores within health care facilities.
- Hardware and home improvement stores.
- Banks and other financial institutions.
- Laundromats and dry-cleaning services.
- Stores that principally sell supplies for children under 5 years old.
- Pet stores.
- Liquor stores.
- Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics.
- Printing and office supply shops.
- Mail and delivery stores.
The following operations would remain unchanged as they are considered essential:
- The provision of health care or medical services;
- Access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks;
- The operations of the media;
- Law enforcement agencies; or
- The operations of the federal government.
Also exempt from the order are all construction and manufacturing companies.
Additionally, the order mandates that all businesses or nonprofits, wherever practicable, must accommodate their workforce to be able to work-from-home. To the extent a business or nonprofit has employees that cannot perform their functions while working from home, the business or nonprofit should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue.
Examples of employees who need to be present at their work site in order to perform their job duties include, but are not limited to, law enforcement officers, firefighters, other first responders, cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, information technology maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff.
The order continues existing bans on recreational and entertainment businesses, requirements that all restaurants operate by delivery and takeout only, and the directive that all pre-K, elementary and secondary schools close and all institutions of higher education cease in-person instruction.
Murphy said the more severe social restrictions are necessary as the state faces the daunting task of containing the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. New Jersey is being hit hard by the global pandemic, as it has the fourth-highest number of confirmed cases of any states.
On Saturday, Murphy announced the state has 442 more cases, bringing the state total to 1,327 — the first time it has eclipsed the 1,000 mark. There were five additional fatalities, increasing the total to 16.
Murphy said that the current number is low and is expected to go much higher as the virus spreads and more tests are completed.
“These numbers, as we’ve said all along, are going to go up,” Murphy said.
The state’s first FEMA-assisted testing center was open for a second straight day at Bergen Community College, where it hoped to collect another 350 specimens. It will be open again on Sunday — and every day after.
The state’s second Federal Emergency Management Agency-assisted testing center, at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, will open Monday at 8am.
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