October 20, 2021

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Gov. Murphy Announces NJ ‘Stay-At-Home’ Order Due To Coronavirus

This article originally appeared on the Moorestown Patch

NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy issued a “stay-at-home” order on Saturday, and announced that five additional people have died, raising the state’s coronavirus death toll to 16. He also announced 442 additional positive tests in New Jersey, raising the state’s total to 1,327. (you can watch his press conference here, below).

“It’s no time to panic. But it’s no time for business as usual,” he said.

The orders took effect on Saturday at 9 p.m.

Murphy said he doesn’t know when everything will reopen, including schools. It won’t be next week, he said. The stay-at-home order could be in effect for weeks, he added, or it could be months.

Murphy also announced the launch of the New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub, a new website available at covid19.nj.gov.

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.

The order also prohibits all gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events. 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, he said.

“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.

This does not limit:

  • The provision of health care or medical services;

  • Access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks;

  • The operations of the media;

  • Law enforcement agencies, or

  • The operations of the federal government.

Additionally, the order mandates that all businesses or non-profits, wherever practicable, must accommodate their workforce for telework or work-from-home arrangements, Murphy said.

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, he said.

Examples of employees who need to be present at their work site in order to perform their job duties include:

  • Law enforcement officers

  • Firefighters and other first responders

  • Cashiers or store clerks

  • Construction workers

  • Utility workers

  • Repair workers

  • Warehouse workers

  • Lab researchers

  • IT maintenance workers

  • Janitorial and custodial staff

  • Certain administrative staff.

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.

Murphy also invalidated any county or municipal restriction that in any way will or might conflict with the state’s rules.

The orders came as Murphy signed 16 bills into law, all intended to help New Jersey fight and deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Read more: Read more: NJ Gov. Phil Murphy Signs 16 Coronavirus Bills Into Law

Murphy also announced on Saturday the indefinite closure of all municipal, county and state public libraries in addition to all libraries and computer labs at public and private colleges and universities.

“New Jersey will continue to be proactive in our approach to identify and enact measures to promote social distancing,” said Murphy. “While many of these facilities are an important part of the fabric of our communities, it’s critical that we take this opportunity to slow the spread of coronavirus seriously.”

That order took effect at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced the five deaths, saying three of the five were in either long-term care or rehabilitation facilities:

  • A Monmouth County man in his 50s

  • An Essex County man in his 80

  • A Bergen County man in is 40s

  • A Morris County woman in her 70s

  • A Bergen County man in his 90s

Persichilli also provided a county-by-county breakdown of the cases:

  • Atlantic 1

  • Bergen 113

  • Burlington 4

  • Camden 3

  • Cape May 1

  • Essex 34

  • Gloucester 3

  • Hudson 31

  • Hunterdon 3

  • Mercer 8

  • Middlesex 40

  • Monmouth 39

  • Morris 28

  • Ocean 13

  • Passaic 17

  • Somerset 7

  • Sussex 3

  • Union 38

  • Warren 2

Five more counties also will be getting coronavirus testing sites. Read more: Coronavirus Drive-Through Testing Sites To Open In 5 NJ Counties

The update also comes as the number of cases continues to rise in New Jersey. Read more: NJ Coronavirus Updates: Here’s What You Need To Know

Here are 10 resources for you and your family to utilize as you navigate through the outbreak: Unemployment, Tests, Food: 10 NJ Resources In Coronavirus Crisis

Watch Murphy here:

New Jersey Coronavirus Updates: Don’t miss local and statewide announcements about novel coronavirus precautions. Sign up for Patch alerts and daily newsletters.

Here’s what else you should know:

  • State health officials said they believe the virus is “community-spread” in New Jersey. “Community-spread indicates that the coronavirus is amongst us,” Persichilli announced. Read more: Coronavirus May Be ‘Community-Spread’ In NJ

  • On Monday, March 16, Murphy announced he planned to shut down all schools on Tuesday, March 17. Read more: NJ Schools Will Close Due To Coronavirus Outbreak: Gov. Murphy

  • Murphy also imposed new statewide restrictions on Monday, March 16, shutting restaurants, casinos, bars and gyms. He also discouraged non-essential travel in the evening, saying people should stay at home. Read more: NJ Coronavirus: Bars, Restaurants, Theaters To Shut

  • Murphy issued an executive order on Thursday, March 19 to ensure voters can exercise their right to vote without risking their health and safety. Read more: Coronavirus Alters NJ Election Procedure, Moves Election Dates

  • Murphy also announced that all personal care businesses –including salons, barbers, health clubs and tattoo parlors – will be ordered to close at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. Read more: Gov. Phil Murphy: NJ Barbers, Salons, Spas Must Close

  • The first person in New Jersey to die of the coronavirus was reported on Tuesday, March 10. Read more: First NJ Coronavirus Death, 4 New Cases: Governor

  • New Jersey’s courts suspended all new jury trials until further notice, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said on Thursday, March 12. Read more: Coronavirus Throws Monkey Wrench Into New Jersey Court System

  • State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced on Saturday, March 14 that municipal court sessions will be suspended for two weeks, beginning Monday, March 16, to mitigate public exposure to COVID-19 coronavirus.

  • The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission said it’s closing its offices for two weeks. Read more: New Jersey MVC Shuts Down Because Of Coronavirus

  • A new report from ProPublica says New Jersey hospitals would be hard pressed to meet demand – even in a best-case scenario – if the coronavirus outbreak surges. Read more: NJ Hospitals Lack Beds For Coronavirus Surge: Report

  • Murphy said on Tuesday, March 17 that he’s closing all indoor malls and amusement parks and centers. Read more: Gov. Murphy: NJ Malls Closing Due To Coronavirus, 89 New Cases

  • Four members of the same New Jersey family died from the coronavirus, according to March 19 reports. Read more: 4 In Same Family, Including 3 In NJ, Die Of Coronavirus: Reports

  • More than 50 retail chains, meanwhile, have temporarily shuttered in response to the ongoing new coronavirus outbreak. Read more: New Jersey Coronavirus: IKEA, Gap Among Growing Store Closures

How It Spreads

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.

While the best way to prevent illness is to avoid virus exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention always recommends taking preventive actions to contain the spread of viruses. This includes:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

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