Reopening of Indoor Dining Paused: Governor Murphy announced that indoor dining will no longer resume on Thursday. The governor had planned to loosen restrictions for later this week but due to COVID-19 spikes in other states, driven in part by indoor dining, has decided to postpone indoor dining indefinitely.
Monday marked the beginning of Phase 2 of reopening, with indoor shopping malls opening to strict social distancing guidelines and limited capacity to 50% and Motor Vehicle Commission inspections restarting for the first time in months. Casinos are still set to reopen on July 2 and outdoor graduations can take place starting on July 6.
Legislature sends $7.7 Billion 3-Month Budget to Murphy’s Desk: On Monday, the state legislature passed a $7.7 billion spending bill for the next three months, after state officials moved the budget deadline from June 30 to September 30.
This spending plan that would cover New Jersey’s finances through the end of September. It would largely preserve what the governor’s office initially proposed in May, while also boosting the state’s surplus and increasing funding for some priorities, including higher education. That’s because the proposal has a more optimistic revenue forecast than what was initially forecast.
Revenue projections are dire as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and this spending plan defers payments on some big items from September to October, like a quarterly pension payment. It also eliminates some spending that was planned through June, including for programs such as property tax relief for seniors. The state had put most of these spending items in reserve in March.
State Workers Furlough Plan: Governor Murphy and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) reached an agreement last week to prevent layoffs and save the state $100 million through employee furloughs. Under the agreement, CWA state workers will be furloughed an average of 10 days between June 29th and July 31st of this year, an additionally take two unpaid holidays in late 2020 and early 2021. Furloughed employees will qualify for unemployment benefits and an extra $600 per week in CARES Act benefits. The agreement covers all 40,000 state employees represented by the CWA, except for some frontline workers such as those handling unemployment claims.
Governor and Legislative Leaders Agree to School Health Plan Overhaul: Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Governor Phil Murphy hashed out a deal on Friday to overhaul health plans offered to New Jersey educators, potentially realizing hundreds of millions of dollars in annual savings for taxpayers. As per the pending legislation, the state would create a new health plan, known as the New Jersey educators Health Plan that would replace most of the current policies under the New Jersey Schools Employees’ Health Benefits Program. On Monday, the legislation passed both houses and is now on the governor’s desk.
Latest NJ COVID-19 Statistics: The number positive coronavirus test results in New Jersey has increased to a total of 171,272. The number of statewide coronavirus-related deaths is currently 13,138, with an additional 1,854 probable deaths from COVID-19.
All NJ residents with questions or concerns about COVID-19 and resources available to them should visit: www.covid19.nj.gov
Jobs and Assistance in NJ: An online portal is available to provide information to impacted small business owners. The portal includes information on Executive Orders, regulations impacting small businesses and access to financial assistance from the US Small Business Administration (SBA).
Testing Sites: Click here to get updated information and locations of public testing sites.