NEWARK, NJ—New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered the closure of all non-essential retail businesses in the Garden State and directed all residents to stay at home until further notice to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus.
The governor’s Executive Orders issued on Saturday direct the closure of casinos and most retail businesses, with the exception of: pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries; medical supply stores; gas stations; convenience stores; ancillary stores within healthcare facilities; hardware and home improvement stores; banks and other financial institutions; laundromats and dry-cleaning services; stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years; pet stores; liquor stores; car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics; printing and office supply shops and mail and delivery stores.
The restriction, which went into effect on Saturday, also excludes construction and manufacturing and the trucking industry, according to a report in NJ Biz.
Members of the Northeast regional compact that include New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware, have also issued similar stay at home and business closure orders, although all orders are not the same. New York State for example issued a 100% workforce reduction order for most businesses that went into effect on Sunday evening.
“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 nine million residents,” said Gov. Murphy. “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.”
The order prohibits all gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events, unless otherwise authorized by the Order. When in public, individuals must practice social distancing and stay at least six feet apart whenever possible, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners.
Additionally, the order mandates that all businesses or non-profits, wherever practicable, must accommodate their workforce for telework or work-from-home arrangements. To the extent a business or non-profit has employees that cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from-home arrangements, the business or non-profit should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue, state officials noted.
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, fire fighters, other first responders, cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, IT maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff and certain administrative staff, the governor stated.
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.