Stating that “this is no time for business as usual,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, in a press conference this afternoon, ordered everyone to stay home for the foreseeable future.
All gatherings are cancelled until further notice – no weddings, no in person services, and no parties may be held.
“Our singular goal is to make sure we get through this emergency so we can safely gather later and enjoy many more [celebrations] in the future,” he stated.
The Governor went on to urge those who have homes at the Jersey shore to not go at this time.
Most importantly, Governor Murphy ordered that as of 9pm tonight, all non-essential retail business must close indefinitely.
Only businesses critical to the pandemic response may be open to the public, he said. These include: grocery stores, medical stores, pharmacies, auto mechanics, gas stations, Convenience stores, banks, hardware stores, laundromats, printing and office supply stores, pet stores, stores for children’s needs, mail stores, as well as restaurants, liquor stores, and bars for take out.
All public health and social services government will remain available to the public. Construction sites and manufacturing operations may continue because employees can’t work from home.
Meanwhile all businesses must move employees to work from home wherever possible
The Governor noted that these rules supersede any county or municipal orders
Murphy explained the Stay at home order by saying: “life in NJ does not have to come to a complete standstill. You can still take a walk or a run but when you go out, you must continue practicing social distancing.” He reiterated that a safe distance between you and others is a minimum of six feet.
Mostly, he said, just stay home. “At a time when new cases continue to rise, we have to change our behaviors.” He said that, from January, his team has been doing everything they can to aggressively get out ahead of it.
The Governor also recognized the impact this will have on small businesses. The government remain committed to provide resources, he said.
- Employees who will be out of work should go to http://www.nj.gov/labor
- Employers who can should continue to pay employees and should look at Federal response law where they may be able to get reimbursed. The website http://www.Covid19.nj.gov will list resources for employers.
Murphy explained that they felt they had only two choices in addressing the pandemic threat: “let the virus run its course, not take the steps we are taking and ultimately play a huge life and economic price,” was the first choice, he said. But added: “Our objective is to break the back of the curve. This comes with enormous economic pain, but at the end of the day we will get through this. And because we took that [second] choice, we will save many lives and the economic pain will be a lot less consequential than if we let the virus run amok. “
He noted that he and his staff continue to have meaningful conversations with Speaker Pelosi, the New Jersey Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, and governors of states near and far in order to provide a united effort to combat the spread of the virus.
Finally, the Governor urged residents to get information from reputable media and official government sources. “We know there is a lot of disinformation on social media. Please do not feed into the disinformation campaign of others – you don’t help anyone by spreading rumors.” He said that the best place to go is www.covid19.nj.gov, which he described as a one-stop-shop for answers to frequently asked questions and to resources.
“This is a time for all of us to come together under one mission,” he said, “to flatten the curve… and break the back of the coronavirus.
“Winning this battle, and getting back life back to normal – even if we are looking at a “new normal” – will take all of us coming together as the one New Jersey family we are, and will always be.
“Let’s do this, New Jersey,” he concluded. “Let’s be smart, and let’s save lives.”
Full text of the Governor’s remarks can be found here: https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/general-public/governor-murphy-announces-statewide-stay-at-home-order-closure-of-all-non-essential-retail-businesses