NJ Gov. Phil Murphy Orders Residents to Stay Home, Non-Essential Businesses to Close by 9 p.m. Saturday

by Carolyn Parisi
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NJ Governor Phil Murphy announced Saturday afternoon that effective 9 p.m., all residents should stay home and all non-essential businesses should close their doors (scroll down for list of essential businesses).

Murphy took the step, which he had hinted at for several days, as coronavirus cases in the state climbed to more than 1,300 with 16 new deaths. There were 442 new cases announced on Saturday.

The move comes after several other states including New York and California have taken similar steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee provided further details in an email to residents on March 21:

Governor Murphy’s Stay at Home Order

Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 107 directing all residents to stay at home until further notice. The order provides for certain exceptions, such as obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work, or engaging in outdoor activities. 

In an effort to strengthen the existing social distancing measures in place, the order also 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.

Governor Murphy’s Executive Order further directs the closure of all non-essential retail businesses to the public, with the exceptions of:

  • Grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store;
  • 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;
  • Mail and delivery stores.

Nothing in the Order shall limit 1) the provision of health care or medical services; 2) access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; 3) the operations of the media; 4) law enforcement agencies, or 5) the operations of the federal government.

The Governor’s order also mandates that all businesses or non-profits, wherever practical, 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. 

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 Order continues existing bans on recreational and entertainment businesses, requirements that all restaurants operate by delivery and takeout only.

The orders shall take effect tonight, Saturday, March 21 at 9:00 p.m.

Finally, a new website has been created that is devoted to the pandemic: covid19.nj.gov/

See Murphy’s announcement on Twitter here:

For a list of essential businesses allowed to stay open and more detailed information, see this link.

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