New Jersey - COVID-19 Covered

New Jersey

Total Cases: 1,139,367 (September 23)
Tests Administered: 10,999,550 (March 7)
Fatalities: 27,264 (September 23)
Testing:
  • A list of active testing sites in the tri-state area can be found here. 

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 107 identifying essential businesses, including grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, pharmacies and alternative treatment centers that dispense medicinal marijuana, medical supply stores, gas stations, convenience stores, 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 old, pet stores, liquor stores, car dealerships (but only to provide auto maintenance and repair services, and auto mechanics), office supply shops and mail and delivery stores. All other brick-and-mortar premises of non-essential retail businesses must close to the public as long as the order remains in effect. Essential businesses must, wherever possible, offer pickup services outside or by phone and are required to practice social distancing whenever possible. (March 21)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • New Jersey released official reopening guidance for businesses based on sector. Details for each sector can be found here. 
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order that provided mandatory health and safety standards to protect all New Jersey workers during the pandemic. (October 27) 
  • Governor Murphy signed legislation authorizing the extension of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission deadlines and streamlining processes during the COVID-19 pandemic. (September 10) 
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order allowing any public employee eligible for enrollment into the State Health Benefits Program to immediately enroll upon hire, rather than wait two months. Previously, the two-month waiting period was waived only for public employees hired specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (August 3) 
  • The New Jersey Labor Department announced the state would be extending unemployment benefits by 20 weeks. (July 1) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Murphy announced an additional $40 million in funding for an excluded residents fund to assist individuals negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (May 7) 
  • Governor Murphy signed a bill that would direct $10 million in federal funding to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. This funding will be distributed to seven New Jersey food banks in order to continue providing families with food assistance during the pandemic. (April 21) 
  • Governor Murphy signed a bill that would provide $10 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for child care providers throughout the state. (April 13) 
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order extending a moratorium preventing New Jersey residents from having their utilities disconnected through at least June 30. (March 4 
  • Governor Murphy outlined a $44.83 billion state spending proposal for FY2022, providing the highest level of school funding in history, delivering direct tax rebates to over 760,000 middle-class families, and providing $200 million in relief for small businesses. (February 23) 
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order extending a moratorium utility disconnections through at least March 15, 2021. The moratorium applied to all residential gas, electric, and water utilities, both public and private. The order also required all residential services disconnected after social distancing measures went into effect on March 16 to be reconnected. Additionally, $15 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund would be allocated to lowincome households to help pay off utility arrearages. (October 15) 
  • Governor Murphy announced $100 million in additional CARES Act funding to support New Jersey residents and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (October 13) 
  • Governor Murphy announced $60 million for the Local Government Emergency Fund to aid counties and municipalities that were excluded from the federal government’s direct Coronavirus Relief Fund allocation plan. (October 9) 
  • Governor Murphy signed the FY 2021 Appropriations Act into law, working together with legislative leadership to enact a revised spending plan that protected core priorities and delivered middle-class tax relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget plan also fully reestablished the millionaires tax that expired in 2010. (September 29) 
  • Governor Murphy announced plans to dedicate $250 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to additional support to children and their families, as well as for thousands of childcare providers. (August 28) 
  • Governor Murphy announced $37 million in support for 12 additional counties to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. (August 20) 
  • Governor Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Oliver announced that $25 million in CARES Act funding would be allocated to reimburse landlords whose tenants missed rent payments between April and July. (August 7) 
  • Governor Murphy signed the “New Jersey COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act” into law, which authorized the state to borrow up to $9.9 billion to address the fiscal crisis that has arisen as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. (July 16) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Murphy announced an additional $235 million in funding for small business relief to assist businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (May 7) 
  • Governor Murphy signed legislation which would provide $15 million in aid to small businesses and non-profits across the state. (April 12) 
  • Governor Murphy announced $35 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for restaurants throughout New Jersey. (April 9) 
  • Governor Murphy will allocate $15 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for arts and cultural venues in the state. (April 8) 
  • Governor Murphy signed a $100 million relief package for New Jersey small businesses. (April 1) 
  • Governor Murphy and State Treasurer Muoio announced New Jersey would follow the federal government’s lead in allowing Paycheck Protection Program loans to be tax exempt at the state level and enable recipients to deduct business expenses that were paid with the tax-exempt loan proceeds, thereby enhancing the tax benefits of the loans. (February 9) 
  • Governor Murphy announced New Jersey would expand COVID vaccine eligibility to people 65 and older within days following a change in federal guidelines. (January 13) 
  • Governor Murphy announced a comprehensive economic recovery package to support small businesses, drive sustainable economic growth, and reform our tax incentives system. The plan would specifically target historically underserved communities that had also been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 with tailored programs to combat food deserts, spur brownfields redevelopment, and support historic preservation and renewal, as well as a grant and loan program designed to bolster Main Street small businesses. (December 15) 
  • Governor Murphy announced $14 million in additional CARES Act funding to develop workforce development programs. The programs were designed to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 replenish their workforce and help jobless residents learn new skills that lead to successful reemployment. (October 21) 
  • Governor Murphy, Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, and Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson announced the administration’s proposal to provide long-term care facilities with $155 million in additional funding as they look to reopen to visitors and resume normal operations. (August 10) 
  • Governor Murphy announced a new relief program for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that would allow businesses in 64 eligible municipalities to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for lease costs. (July 23) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Governor Murphy announced the state would shut down its six mass COVID-19 vaccination sitestransitioning to about 1,800 community inoculation sites. (June 3) 
  • Governor Murphy signed legislation that lifts the state’s COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. (June 3) 
  • Governor Murphy announced that vaccinated people would no longer be required to wear masks or social distance in most indoor and outdoor settings. (May 29) 
  • Governor Murphy lifted the state’s work from home order. (May 26) 
  • New Jersey would no longer require restaurants, retail stores, gyms, churches, and other businesses to enforce social distancing between patrons or groups beginning May 28. (May 25) 
  • Governor Murphy announced he would instate the complete removal of the outdoor gathering limit on May 19. Attendees at outdoor gatherings would still be required to remain six feet apart from other groups and existing requirements regarding mask wearing would remain in place. (May 13) 
  • Governor Murphy announced capacity limits would end May 19 for retail stores, restaurants, gyms, amusement parks, salons, barber shops, offices, museums, and theaters. The general indoor gathering limit would be raised to 50 people. (May 3) 
  • Governor Murphy announced summer youth overnight and day camps could open for the 2021 season, so long as they follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols outlined in guidance issued by the New Jersey Department of Health. (April 28) 
  • Governor Murphy announced that, effective May 10, the outdoor gathering limit would be raised to 500 people. Outdoor capacity limits would be increased to 50 percent capacity for venues with 1,000 fixed seats or more. Capacity limits for indoor private catered events, including proms, would be increased to 50 percent capacity of the room in which the event is being held with a maximum of 250 individuals. Dance floors would be permitted to open at indoor private catered events, including proms with masking and social distancing requirements in place. (April 26) 
  • All New Jersey residents 16 years of age or older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (April 19 
  • Governor Murphy extended the state’s Public Health Emergency. (April 14) 
  • Governor Murphy announced that vaccinated individuals would no longer be required to quarantine after traveling. (April 5) 
  • Governor Murphy increased outdoor gathering limits and capacity for seated events at large venues. The general outdoor gathering limit would be increased to 200 people. College / youth sporting events would be permitted to have up to 200 spectators. Large venues would be permitted to host events at 20 percent capacity indoors and 30 percent capacity outdoors. (March 29) 
  • Food service workers and several other groups, including warehousing and logistics workers, clergy members, and postal workers, became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. (March 29) 
  • Governor Murphy announced the general outdoor gathering limit would be increased from 25 people to 50 people, and the general indoor gathering limit would be increased from 10 people to 25 people. (March 11) 
  • Governor Murphy announced that New Jersey would expand indoor dining capacity to 50 percent beginning March 19. (March 10) 
  • The New Jersey Department of Health launched a new long-term care webpage, providing a portal to identify the reopening status of facilities in the state, information on current outbreaks, frequently asked questions, and resources for residents, families, and staff. (March 2) 
  • Beginning March 15, the following categories would be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination: educators in pre-K through 12th grade settings; childcare workers in licensed and registered settings; public and local transportation workers and NJ TRANSIT workers; Motor Vehicle Commission staff; public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors; migrant farm workers; members of tribal communities; and individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters. (March 1) 
  • Governor Murphy announced religious services and celebrations could operate at 50 percent capacity, with no cap on the number of individuals permitted to attend. Large sports and entertainment venues with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or more would be permitted to host a number of patrons and members of the public equal to 10 percent of capacity indoors and 15 percent of capacity outdoors. (February 22) 
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order that extended the public health emergency in New Jersey, allowing the state to continue its vaccination efforts, prioritizing high-risk individuals, promoting adequate staffing at vaccination sites, and overseeing second dose administration. (February 17) 
  • Governor Murphy announced the launch of a community-based vaccination partnership to provide equitable access of the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved communities throughout the state, with the goal of vaccinating 15,000 residents through the end of March. (February 12) 
  • Governor Murphy announced New Jersey would return to in-person voting for the first elections of 2021. (February 8) 
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order to lift dining curfews and increase capacity in restaurants from 25 percent to 35 percent. (February 3) 
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order extending the Public Health Emergency another 30 days. (January 19) 
  • Governor Murphy and Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan announced Administrative Order 2020-25, which clarified that indoor sports practices and competitions are subject to current indoor gathering limits, which was most recently set at 10 persons. However, a practice or competition could proceed with more than 10 persons if individuals who are not necessary for the activity, such as spectators, are not present. The total number of individuals still may not exceed 25 percent of the capacity of the room in which the practice or competitions takes place, and such limit may not exceed 150 persons. (December 31) 
  • Beginning on December 28, all United customers with flights originating in the United Kingdom were required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test obtained within 72 hours of departure for incoming flights to Newark Liberty International Airport. (December 24) 
  • Governor Murphy and Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan issued an order clarifying that indoor entertainment centers where a performance was viewed or given, including movie theaters, performing arts centers, and other concert venues, could host a performance in an adjacent outdoor area with a maximum capacity equivalent to the facility’s indoor capacity permitted under a previous executive order. (December 5) 
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order that paused indoor practices and competitions for youth and adult sports from December 5 at 6:00AM through January 2, 2021. The order also lowered the outdoor gatherings limit from 150 people to 25 people, effective December 7 at 6:00AM. (November 30) 
  • New Jersey announced a new policy that required travelers and residents returning from any US state or territory beyond the immediate region (New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Delaware) to self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging for the period of time recommended by the CDC. (November 25) 
  • The New Jersey Department of Health issued health and safety guidance for the state’s long-term care facilities, which provided measures for residents who leave the facility for a holiday gathering, including a 14-day quarantine at the conclusion of their visit. The Department strongly recommended against families taking residents out of facilities for holiday events or gatherings. (November 16) 
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order that permitted municipalities and counties to impose additional restrictions on the hours of operation of non-essential retail businesses, food and beverage establishments, and recreation and entertainment businesses after 8:00PM. The order prohibited municipalities and counties from imposing restrictions that prevent dining establishments from arranging for the pickup or delivery of goods or otherwise limiting their scope of operations. (November 12) 
  • Governor Muphy signed an executive order that required all restaurants, bars, clubs, and lounges that serve food and drink to close their indoor premises by 10:00PM each day and to not open until at least 5:00AM the following day. Outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery services may continue past 10:00PM. (November 11) 
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order prohibiting interstate indoor K-12, club and league youth sports competitions. Practices, inter-team games, scrimmages, and tournaments, both contact and non-contact, would be permitted for Low, Medium, and High Risk Sports in indoor and outdoor settings for in-state teams. Indoor interstate youth sports competitions – including those operated by school-based, club and recreational programs — would be suspended across all risk levels. (November 11) 
  • Governor Murphy and Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan issued an order clarifying restrictions on professional and college athletic competitions, indoor mall services, self-service food and drink, and private tutoring facilities. (October 31) 
  • Long-term care facilities were permitted to use antigen testing and expand indoor visitation under an amended executive directive by the New Jersey Department of Health. (October 21) 
  • Governor Murphy announced the launch of New Jersey’s COVID-19 Transparency website, providing oversight and public confidence in the expenditure of federal recovery funds as the State continues to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. (October 16) 
  • Governor Murphy announced the launch of COVID-19 exposure notification mobile app that would serve as a crucial tool to supplement the effort to trace and contact individuals exposed to COVID-19. The appCOVID Alert NJwould notify users of potential COVID-19 exposure while maintaining user privacy and security. (October 1) 
  • Governor Murphy and State Police Superintendent Colonel Pat Callahan announced an administrative order clarifying that health club facilities located in hotels, motels, condominiums, cooperatives, corporate offices, and other businesses could open their indoor premises. (September 8) 
  • Governor Murphy announced indoor dining could resume at 25 percent capacity on September 4. (August 31) 
  • Governor Murphy announced that New Jersey gyms would be able to open on September 1but would be required to operate at 25 percent of indoor capacity, and must follow other safety guidelines. (August 26) 
  • Governor Murphy issued a statewide order requiring people to wear face coverings outdoors. (July 8) 

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • The New Jersey Department of Health issued modified rules and guidelines to provide more freedom to parents, teachers, and students. The updated guidance can be found here. 
  • Governor Murphy announced all schools would be required to provide full-time, in-person instruction beginning Fall 2021. (May 17) 
  • Governor Murphy, along with the governors of Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusettsannounced an extension of the suspension of interstate youth hockey competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey leagues through at least January 31. (December 30) 
  • Governor Murphy announced that ten additional school districts would receive Preschool Education Aid totaling $10M in the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget to implement or expand quality early childhood education programs in their communities starting February 1, 2021. (December 21) 
  • Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education announced a $2.5 million grant to implement, scale-up, and enhance evidence-based interventions that accelerate students’ academic progress and reduce learning loss among New Jersey students that has resulted from school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (December 10) 
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order postponing all special school elections to March 2021. (November 25) 
  • Governor Murphy announced an administrative order clarifying that athletes, coaches, referees, trainers, and other individuals necessary to the performance of an outdoor high school sporting event are not included in the total number of individuals present at the gathering for purposes of the limit on outdoor gatherings. (November 21) 
  • Applications became open for the COVID-19 childcare tuition assistance program created by the Murphy administration to help families with childcare costs as schools opened for remote learning. (September 21) 
  • Governor Murphy announced $100 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund aid to ensure schools could reopen safely. (August 26) 

State Higher Education:

  • A list of New Jersey universities and colleges planning to reopen in the fall can be found here. 
  • Governor Murphy and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education announced that the State will award $150 million in federal CARES Act funds to New Jersey’s public and private colleges and universities to help offset costs incurred as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (August 14) 

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