Today, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 107, directing nearly all NJ residents to stay at home. All gatherings have been cancelled. All non-essential retail businesses must indefinitely close their physical stores to the public at 9:00 PM tonight.
“We don’t take these measures lightly, nor do we take this easily,” Murphy said. The Governor reiterated that while this is not a time to panic, it is also not business as usual. The Governor also announced a 50% increase in the number of confirmed Corona virus cases which is attributed to community spread and increased testing.
The list of essential businesses that can remain open include grocery stores, food banks, pharmacies, medical supply stores, gas stations, convenience stores, hardware and home improvement stores, banks, pet supply stores, laundromats and dry cleaning stores, liquor stores and medical marijuana dispensaries, stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years old, car dealerships for servicing only, auto mechanics and restaurants and bars providing take-out and delivery only.
Construction industry operations are permitted to continue.
Hospitals and health care facilities will remain open. Essential public health, safety, and social services will remain accessible.
The Executive Order directs residents to stay at home unless they are obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting with family, going to work or engaging in outdoor activity while following best practices for social distancing (See page 5 of the EO 107).
Governor Murphy also signed Executive Order 108 which makes clear that any actions by a municipal or county government that conflict with State orders are superseded by the State action.
Governor Murphy also noted that he is extensively coordinating with our neighbor states and with the New Jersey Congressional delegation. The Governor estimated the need for federal relief just for the tri-state area at $100 billion.
Last night, Governor Murphy signed the following bills into law:
S2281/A3840: requires 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;
S2283/A3843 directs the state’s Medicaid program and health benefit plans to cover coronavirus testing.
S2284/A3845 allows the Economic Development Authority to extend grants to small businesses impacted by the virus;
S2301/A3848 would prohibit employers from firing workers who need to take time off because of the coronavirus;
S2302/A3849 grants some flexibility for custodians under the state’s open records law, extending the time frame by which they have to respond to requests during a state of emergency, public health emergency or state of local disaster emergency;
S2294/A3850 allows public bodies to conduct business remotely, or using electronic means, during a period of emergency;
S2295/A3851 would extend the deadline by which local and county governments have to adopt their budgets during periods when New Jersey is in a state of emergency or public health emergency;
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 Health Commissioner the ability to waive any staffing requirements for those facilities during that period;
S2287/A3855 would require the state’s departments and agencies to put information about accessing food on public notifications relating to public health emergencies;
S2290/A3861 would allow corporations to hold shareholders’ meetings remotely, rather than in person, during a state of emergency;
S2291/A3865 would allow grocery stores to limit returns of goods purchased during the current public health state of emergency;
Yesterday. Governor Murphy, through the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, encouraged regulated entities to assist residents and businesses affected by disruptions due to COVID-19.
All NJ residents with questions or concerns about COVID-19 and resources available to them should visit: www.covid19.nj.gov
The State of NJ has established this link on COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus Information for New Jersey Businesses.