NEWARK, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy has moved to shut down most businesses, ban social gatherings and require the majority of the state’s 9 million residents to work from home in what amounts to a large - but not complete - statewide lockdown.
Under Executive Order No. 107 – his so-called “Stay At Home Order” – all gatherings of people such as parties, celebrations or other social events are prohibited in Murphy's most sweeping action to promote social distancing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are a few exceptions to the order, such as obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work and engaging in outdoor activities.
The order also calls for the shutdown of all non-essential retail businesses.
Among those on the short list of “essential” businesses are grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations, hardware and home improvement stores, banks, laundromats, pet stores, liquor stores, auto repair shops and mail and delivery stores.
The non-essential business shutdown takes effect at 9 p.m. Saturday.
Owners of other non-essential businesses should instruct employees to work from home.
“There’s not a whole lot more that we could do to be honest with you because we’re basically saying unequivocally `stay at home' unless you’re part of an essential service and we really need you to keep the state functioning and to keep fighting this virus,” Murphy said.
Murphy recognized the impact the Stay At Home Order will have on the economy of the state – where tens of thousands have already applied for unemployment benefits - but said he hopes its long-range effect will be fewer deaths.
State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli confirmed at Saturday afternoon’s press conference five new deaths in the state: A Monmouth County man in his 50s, an Essex man in his 80s, a Bergen man in his 40s, a Morris woman in her 70s and a Bergen man in his 90s.
She announced 442 new positive cases of COVID-19 across the state, bringing the total to 1,327.
The death toll in New Jersey was at 16 on Saturday afternoon.
Police across the state are prepared to enforce the Stay At Home Order.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said police are prepared to issue disorderly conduct charges to those violating the Stay At Home order. And, at the urging of Attorney General Gurbir Grewel, prosecutors are prepared to prosecute cases.
“So, when the governor says we’ll take action, we’re at that point,” Callahan said. “Last week I know I talked about discretion and that being the greatest tool of law enforcement, but I think we’re beyond that now given the measures that we’ve placed.”
The major exemptions to the governor’s order are those who work in the healthcare and medical services, those that work at food banks and services for “low-income” residents, members of law enforcement, members of the media and federal officials.
“Otherwise,” Murphy said, “We want you off the roads.”
Below is the official statement from Murphy's office about the closures:
- Gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events, are canceled unless explicitly authorized by Executive Order 107. CDC guidance defines a gathering to include conferences, large meetings, parties, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies.
- Non-essential retail businesses must close storefront and/or brick-and-mortar premises operations while Executive Order 107 is in effect. And all recreational and entertainment businesses must close to the public, including:
- Gyms and fitness centers;
- Entertainment centers such as movie theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, and nightclubs; Indoor portions of retail shopping malls; and Places of public amusement. Business may continue any on-line operations.
Personal-care businesses that by their very nature result in noncompliance with social distancing must be closed to the public and remain closed as long as this Order remains in effect. This includes:
- Hair salons;
- Nail and eyelash salons;
- Tattoo parlors;
- Massage parlors;
- Tanning salons;
- Public and private social clubs.
Bars and restaurants in New Jersey must be closed for on-premise service and may provide take-out and delivery service only. Drive-throughs, take-out, delivery offered by restaurants, and other delivery services can continue to operate.
ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES - OPEN
Certain essential businesses and facilities are considered exempt from these closures:
- Grocery stores
- Medical marijuana dispensaries;
- Medical supply stores;
- Gas stations;
- Convenience stores;
- Ancillary stores within healthcare facilities;
- Hardware and home improvement stores;
- Vehicle rental locations;
- Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
- Laundromats and dry-cleaning services;
- Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years;
- Pet stores and veterinary service locations;
- Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics;
- Printing and office supply shops;
- Mail and delivery stores;
- Liquor stores.
All businesses or non-profits must accommodate their workforce for telework or work from home arrangements wherever practicable. To the extent they have employees who need to be on-site, they should operate with the minimal number of on-site employees as possible to ensure critical operations can continue. Examples of such employees include 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.
Manufacturing, industrial, logistics, ports, heavy construction, shipping, food production, food delivery, and other commercial operations may continue operating, but as explained above, they should limit staff on-site to the minimal number to ensure that essential operations can continue.
Medical facilities may continue to operate. Medical facilities include any facility where a sick or injured person is given care or treatment, such as: doctor’s offices, hospitals, dentist offices, long-term care facilities, and other medical offices.
Employees reporting to work are permitted to travel to and from their place of business.
Businesses are encouraged to give each employee a letter indicating that the employee works in an industry permitted to continue operations.
See Covid19.nj.gov for more details