Volume 11/Issue 9 - Friday, March 20, 2020
  • Latest COVID-19 Updates--COVID-19 Testing Site in Bergen County, Closure of Personal Care Businesses, Request for Federal Block Grants & Senate Passage of COVID-19 Response Bills 
  • COVID-19 Resources

As this emergency situation is changing by the hour, we strive to continue to provide information and updates regarding the State's response to COVID-19.

As always, if you have any specific questions or issues, please reach out.

LATEST UPDATES

Beginning today, a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site is open at Bergen Community College in Paramus. The testing center will be open seven days per week, from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

In order to be eligible for testing, individuals must be current New Jersey residents and experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness. Priority will be given to symptomatic individuals experiencing cough, fever and shortness of breath.

Effective 8:00 PM last night (Thursday), Governor Murphy ordered the closing of ‘personal care’ businesses unable to comply with social distancing guidelines (hair/nail salons, barbershops, nightclubs, tattoo parlors, etc.)

Governor Murphy also announced that he is working with the Governors of Pennsylvania and New York to press the federal government for a multi-state disaster relief block grants for public health and worker assistance.

Yesterday, the State Senate passed the twenty four (24) Corona virus-related bills which are now on the Governor’s desk:

Healthcare, food and housing

S2283/A3843 would direct the state’s Medicaid program and health benefit plans to cover coronavirus testing. Murphy took similar action last week, advising plans to cover coronavirus testing as well as emergency room, urgent care and office visits. Murphy's guidance applies to any health plan available through the state’s individual, small and large group marketplaces.

S2286/A3854 would allow licensed health care facilities to collect swabs during the period covered by Murphy’s public health state of emergency and grants the Health Commissioner the ability to waive staffing requirements for those facilities.

S2287/A3855 would require the state’s departments and agencies to put information about accessing food on public notifications relating to public health emergencies.

S2297/A3856 would allow for a one-time, $10 million appropriation to set up a fund to support health care facilities and residential facilities, including nursing homes and long-term care facilities, to support cleaning and sanitation efforts intended to stem the spread of the virus.

S2275/A3857 would allocate $15 million from the state Department of Agriculture for New Jersey food banks, long one of Speaker Coughlin’s core issues.

S2288/A3858 would unlock supplemental temporary assistance for those enrolled in WorkFirst NJ, the state’s welfare program. Under the bill, the state Department of Human Services commissioner would be able to issue additional payments during public health emergencies, should they consider it necessary.

S-2289/A3860 would allow out-of-state health care providers to offer care using telemedicine or telehealth platforms for coronavirus infections or Covid-19. The provider would be able to bill for those services, so long as the fees are “reasonable and consistent with the ordinary fees typically charged for that service.”

Business, labor and employment

S2300/A3841 would extend income tax filing and corporate business tax filing deadlines by 90 days, matching the Federal extension.

S2284/A3845 would extend grants to small businesses impacted by the virus.

S2293/A3846 would create a $20 million fund to compensate workers for lost wages as a result of the pandemic.

S2301/A3848 would prohibit employers from firing workers who need to take time off because of the coronavirus.

S2290/A3861 would allow corporations to hold shareholders’ meetings remotely, rather than in person, during a state of emergency.

S2298/A3862 would allow licensing boards to expedite their processes for certain individuals during states of emergency.

S2299/A3864 would let notaries conduct business on a remote basis.

S2291/A3865 would allow grocery stores to limit returns of goods purchased during the current public health state of emergency.

Education

S2292/A3813 would grant schools the ability to use virtual instruction tools to meet the minimum 180-day threshold required by the state for funding.

S2281/A3840 would require schools to provide school meals and meal vouchers to students entitled to free and reduced lunches for as long as facilities are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

S2282/A3842 would create a new grant program, called “Bridging the Digital Divide in Schools”, to pay for laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots and other tech products for low-income families whose children are relying on virtual instruction.

Governor Murphy already signed S2276/A3859 which grants him the authority to prohibit the enforcement of eviction notices and foreclosure sales of residential properties during public health emergencies.

COVID-19 RESOURCES

The State of NJ has established this link on COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus Information for New Jersey Businesses.

To anyone who has medical questions, Governor Murphy has established a 24-hour public hotline at 1-800-222-1222 (if you are using an out-of-state cell phone, you should instead call 1-800-962-1253) with trained professionals to answer inquiries about COVID-19.