N.J. Statehouse (Courtesy: WHYY)
N.J. Statehouse (Courtesy: WHYY)

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Saturday afternoon implementing what is described as a “stay at home” order to all parts of the state.

To “mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect the capacity of New Jersey’s health care system for the state’s most vulnerable,” 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.

“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 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.”

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.

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. ”

Yesterday, Murphy signed an order barring employers from taking job actions against those who call out sick due to coronavirus concerns.

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.

A separate executive order invalidates any county or municipal restrictions that “will or might conflict” with the order. For example, the Ocean County Library announced Friday that it planned to reopen April 6. The library system, in response to the new order, said it would remain closed.