NEWARK, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy has a warning for business owners who are defying Executive Order 107 and forcing their workers to come into their offices rather than work from home.
“Let me be clear: my executive order is not a polite suggestion,” Murphy said. “It is an order. No one and I mean no one who can do their job from home should be going to work in an office. We must have 100% compliance. This is about public health and it’s about people’s lives, your employees’ lives, their families’ lives and your life.”
Murphy said during Tuesday afternoon’s press conference that he’s had employees complain directly to him that their business was violating the so-called “Stay At Home” which ordered non-essential business closed and restricted all public gatherings. It was Murphy’s most sweeping and restrictive move to implement social distancing as a defense against the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Murphy said his administration was receiving reports that some business owners have gone so far as to deem their employees “essential” to force them to report to work. Others, he said, are refusing to follow the order.
Murphy instructed residents to report employers not complying with Executive Order 107 to call 609-963-6817.
He made the comments on a day when New Jersey announced 846 new cases of COVID-19 and 17 new deaths.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichelli said the statewide total now stands at 3,675 – the second most among the 50 states.
The death toll is now up to 44.
Murphy said that many companies, including Walgreens, Verizon, Comcast, Home Depot and Apple, are contributing to the war against COVID-19. On Tuesday, he said PSE&G has donated some 50,000 masks and the 153,000 face masks and respirators donated by Prudential had already been distributed to Saint Barnabas in Livingston, Holy Name in Teaneck, Hackensack University Medical Center and Morristown Medical Center.
His phone conversation with President Donald Trump has also resulted in a pledge of 200,000 masks and 84,000 respirators from the national stockpile. The news comes one day after Trump threw his support behind having FEMA build four field hospitals across the state.
State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan said the hospitals would be erected at the Atlantic City Convention Center, the Meadowlands, the Convention Center in Edison and at an Urban Search and Rescue Facility with a location to be determined.
The nature or bed capacity at these hospitals has not been revealed by state officials.
While the state pushes to find more critical care beds for the expected surge in COVID-19 cases, Murphy said he has applied for a federal waiver that would allow for the cancelation of all student standardized testing scheduled for April.