Wearing of Outdoor Masks Required: Governor Murphy signed an executive order requiring that masks be worn outdoors when social distancing is not possible. Masks will be most necessary when walking crowded boardwalks or waiting in lines where social distancing can't be observed. The only exceptions will be individuals who are eating or drinking, those for whom wearing one endangers their health/safety, and children under the age of 2 years old. People exercising outdoors are also expected to be exempt from masking under the order.
Also, offices will be required to implement a policy that would mandate masking when employees are in frequent, close contact.
Murphy Promises MVC Improvements: On Wednesday, Governor Murphy promised to improve the experience of visitors to New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission offices as people have faced long lines and major delays since the offices reopened on Tuesday. Visitors across the state reported waiting for hours in blocks-long lines and being frustrated to extremely long delays.
“We have a backlog that has now been months in the making and we will do everything we can to make this a better situation, but it won’t be overnight,” Murphy said.
Murphy expanded the schedule of MVC offices to be open six days a week starting July 13, reversing previous plans that would keep the offices open for five days. He also exempted MVC personnel from any work furloughs, saying, “We need to have literally every hand on deck.”
Rutgers to Remain Mostly Remote for Fall Semester: Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway, announced that New Jersey’s largest state university will remain mostly remote for the fall semester, citing ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. A limited number of on-campus classes will be offered. Holloway went on to say that in-person classes remain a possibility for winter or spring 2021.
The Latest on Reopenings: Starting this past Monday, July 6, outdoor graduations, youth day camps, and in-person summer education are permitted to take place.
Also, on Monday, NJ Transit and Light Rail schedules returned to pre-coronavirus levels, joining bus and Access Link. Cash collection also began again on train and light rail Monday, though customers are encouraged to use apps or contactless payment methods where possible.
At a press briefing earlier this week, Governor Murphy warned that there may not be any new reopening announcements for a while, citing an uptick in the rate of transmission (RT) of COVID-19.
“We’re not going to be jumping the gun on a whole lot more opening up steps right now. We are where we are at now and my guess is we are going to be there for a bit…” He went on to say that “if we see these numbers, particularly the RT go down again precipitously and the spot positivity rate stay down, that will allow us to take some steps that I don’t think we are comfortable taking today.”
NJ Dept. of Labor Offers Extends Unemployment Benefits: The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that it would begin providing 20 weeks of extended unemployment this week to New Jersey workers who have exhausted their state and federal jobless benefits. The state extension kicks in after claimants exhaust up to 26 weeks of state unemployment plus 13 weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
The additional 20 weeks brings to 59 the maximum number of weeks of benefits an eligible claimant may receive at this time. Claimants will be automatically enrolled into extended benefits as their federal extension ends. They do not need to contact an agent or reapply.
Latest NJ COVID-19 Statistics: The number positive coronavirus test results in New Jersey has increased to a total of 174,039. The number of statewide coronavirus-related deaths is currently 13,476 with an additional 1,947 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.