Governor Murphy Announces Statewide Stay at Home Order, Closure of All Non-Essential Retail Businesses

To mitigate the impact of Coronavirus or COVID-19, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has issued Executive Orders 107 and 108, effective on March 21, 2020 at 9:00 PM. For the most up-to-date information, visit the New Jersey Governor’s office website and release here to read the specifics, including the announcement of the closing of non-essential retail businesses:

  • Gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events, are cancelled 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 brick-and-mortar operations while Executive Order 107 is in effect. Also, all recreational and entertainment businesses must close to the public, including: Casinos; Racetracks; Gyms and fitness centers; Movie theaters; Concert venues; Nightclubs; Indoor portions of retail shopping malls; and Places of public amusement. Businesses may continue any online operations.
  • Personal-care businesses that by their very nature result in noncompliance with social distancing must be closed to the public as long as the Order remains in effect. This includes: Barbershops; Hair salons; Spas; Nail and eyelash salons; Tattoo parlors; Massage parlors; Tanning salons; and 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.

Any essential retail business that remains open shall abide by social distancing practices to the extent practicable, including all reasonable efforts to keep customers six feet apart and frequent use of sanitizing products on common surfaces.

All businesses or non-profits in the State, whether closed or open to the public, must accommodate their workforce, wherever practicable, for telework or work-from-home arrangements.

If telework is impracticable, business or non-profits 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 physically present at their work site in order to perform their duties include, but are not limited to, first responders, cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, information technology maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff.

While Governor Murphy’s Executive Order directs the closure of all non-essential retail businesses to the public, it states 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.

Penalties for violations of this Executive Order may be imposed N.J.S.A. App. A:9-49 and -50, which allows for prosecution as a disorderly person in the municipality in which the violation occurs, and may result in a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 6 months.  The complete orders can be found at:

https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-107.pdf

https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-108.pdf

For access to articles and alerts from the State’s COVID- 19 Information Hub, please visit: https://covid19.nj.gov/