Updates from the Governor's Office
On March 31, Governor Murphy and State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan enacted Administrative Order 2020-06 amending which businesses are permitted to operate and clarifying ways in which some businesses may operate in accordance with Executive Order No. 107 as follows:
- Individual appointments to view real estate with realtors by individuals or families shall be considered essential retail business. Open houses are still considered impermissible gatherings.
- Car dealers may continue to conduct online sales or remote sales that are consistent with current law. In the event of such a sale, the car may be delivered to the purchaser or the purchaser can pick up the car curbside or in the dealership service lane.
- In accordance with the guidance released by the federal Department of Homeland Security, effective Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at 8:00 a.m., firearms retailers are permitted to operate – by appointment only and during limited hours – to conduct business which, under law, must be done in person. The NICS background check system will be up and running to process firearms purchases.
- Golf courses are considered recreational and entertainment business that must close to the public and to members associated with private golf clubs.
In addition, the Governor also announced that the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) will be issuing guidance to allow microbreweries/brewpubs to provide home delivery to their customers. Home delivery had been prevented because of a ruling issued last May – ABC decided to relax that ruling today and allow for home delivery.
President Trump Issues Mayor Disaster Declaration in Response to COVID-19 Epidemic
President Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of New Jersey. Below is a press release issued by Governor Murphy which indicates the benefits such a declaration has in receiving additional federal help.
Also below is a press release from the Governor announcing new initiatives by the NJ Economic Development Authority to support businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Executive Order 109: Governor Murphy Suspends All Elective Surgeries, Invasive Procedures to Preserve Essential Equipment and Hospital Capacity
As part of the state’s effort to preserve the capacity of the health care system to respond to COVID-19, Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 109, directing the suspension of all elective surgeries and invasive procedures performed on adults that are scheduled to take place after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27. The Governor’s Executive Order applies to all medical and dental operations that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of the patient, as determined by the patient’s physician or dentist.
“Our new reality calls for aggressive action to reduce the burden on our health care system and protect our frontline medical responders,” said Governor Murphy. “Given the dramatic shortfall in personal protective equipment we face, it’s imperative that we work with our partners in health care to strategically preserve supplies and equipment for emergency purposes only.”
In addition to the suspension outlined above, Governor Murphy’s Executive Order also requires the following:
- Protecting the capacity of hospitals: Physicians and dentists, who are planning to perform surgery or invasive procedures in their offices, must consider the potential burden of post-surgery complications on local hospitals prior to performing any operation.
- Explicit exemption for family planning and termination of pregnancies: The order provides that it shall not be interpreted in any way to limit access to family planning services, including termination of pregnancies.
- Inventory of personal protective equipment to be taken: Any business, non-hospital health care facility, or institution of higher learning in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines not required for the provision of critical health care services shall undertake an inventory of these supplies and send that information to the State by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 27. The Office of Emergency Management shall establish a process for affected entities to submit this information.
The Order requires facilities to immediately notify patients whose operations have to be suspended.
For a copy of Executive Order No. 109, please click HERE.
Executive Order No. 108
This Order clearly invalidates all county and municipal restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19 that conflict in any way with the provisions of Executive Order No. 107, which now encompasses all the emergency restrictions on individuals and businesses that have been put in place. It also says that no county or municipality may adopt or enforce any such restriction going forward. Examples of such restrictions, now impermissible, include the following:
• Any additions to or deletions from the list of retail businesses deemed essential;
• Any limit on any business’s scope of service or hours of operation;
• Any density or social distancing requirements; or
• Any general restrictions on freedom of movement, including curfews.
For a copy of Executive Order No. 108, please click HERE.
Executive Order 107: Statewide Stay at Home Order, Closure of All Non-Essential Retail Businesses
To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect the capacity of New Jersey’s health care system for the state’s most vulnerable, 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 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.
Executive Order 105: Governor Signs Executive Order on Elections
On Thursday, March 19, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 105 regarding upcoming elections against the backdrop of the State of Emergency in place because of the COVID19 pandemic. To summarize:
- All March and April elections will be moved to Tuesday, May 12. Petitions may still be filed in person if complete but going forward the petition process will be moved online. An online petition form will be set up online and the March 30 deadline will remain in place. The May elections will be conducted through Vote-By-Mail with VBM ballots automatically sent to all voters. More details are at Elections.NJ.Gov
- The June primary is not impacted, except for the petition process.
- The Governor also announced the closure of personal care businesses at 8:00 PM tonight, such as barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors and massage parlors.
Executive Order 104: Updates from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
On Monday, March 16, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 104, implementing aggressive social distancing measures to mitigate further spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey.
Governor Murphy’s directives include:
- All non-essential travel is “strongly discouraged” between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. for the foreseeable future and while this is not a curfew, everyone in New Jersey is urged to do their part to prevent spreading the illness;
- All gatherings of persons in the State of New Jersey shall be limited to 50 persons or fewer, with limited exceptions;
- All public, private, and parochial preschool programs, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, will be closed beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and remain closed as long as the Order remains in effect;
- Institutions of higher education will cease all in-person instruction beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and shall cease such in-person instruction as long as the Order remains in effect;
- The Commissioner of Education shall continue working with each public, private, and parochial school to ensure students are able to continue their education through appropriate home instruction
- The Secretary of Agriculture and the Commissioner of Education shall take all necessary actions to ensure all students eligible for free or reduced meals will continue to receive the services necessary to meet nutritional needs during closures;
- All casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters, and performing arts centers will be closed to the public beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. and remain closed as long as this Order remains in effect;
- All other non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.; and
- All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor or limited brewery license, are limited to offering delivery and/or take out-services only.