New Jersey - COVID-19 Covered

New Jersey

Total Cases: 160,918 (June 2)
Tests Administered: 795,600 (June 1)
Fatalities: 11,723 (June 2)
Testing:
  • CVS Health has increased drive-thru testing sites to 45 of its stores. (May 28)
  • The State hit its goal of performing 20,000 coronavirus tests daily. (May 27)
  • The State has partnered with Walmart and Quest Diagnostics to open drive-thru testing sites at 7 Walmart stores across the State starting May 22. (May 20)
  • The Division of Consumer Affairs authorized licensed state pharmacists to administer COVID-19 tests. (May 19)
  • State Health Commissioner Persichilli issued an executive directive mandating that all long-term care facilities in the state test staff and residents by May 26. (May 12)
  • Governor Murphy has directed roughly $6 million in federal funding to Rutgers University to increase its test production. (May 12)
  • Governor Murphy announced that the testing sites at Bergen Community College and PNC Bank Arts Center will expand access to testing to asymptomatic state residents. (May 8)
  • Governor Murphy joined the governors of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts in announcing a multi-state agreement to establish a “regional supply chain for personal protective equipment, other medical equipment, and testing.” (May 3)
  • The State began testing of all inmates and Department of Corrections staff. (May 1)
  • The State is opening up testing for all NJ Transit employees in East Rutherford. (April 30)
  • A list of active testing sites in the tri-state area can be found here.

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Murphy and State Police Colonel Callahan issued an Administrative Order stipulating that construction of new religious buildings or for projects involving already existing religious facilities are considered essential construction projects. (May 2)
  • Governor Murphy and State Police Colonel Callahan announced an Administrative Order further detailing which businesses are permitted to operate. The order directs that pet grooming, pet boarding businesses, and stores that sell items for religious observation are essential to retail businesses. It also offers guidance on car dealerships and personal care facilities. (April 27)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order (EO 110) that requires all childcare centers to close on April 1, unless they are serving children of essential workers. (March 25)
  • 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:

  • The State Department of Children and Families issued specific guidelines for childcare centers that are permitted to reopen on June 15. Guidelines include temperature checks prior to entering the center and staff will be required to wear masks with children over the age of two also encouraged to do so. (May 30)
  • Per Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 148, professional sports teams that play in the State are permitted to practice and compete in games if the coordinating league is operating. (May 26)
  • The State Department of Health and Division of Consumer Affairs has provided guidance for elective and non-urgent medical and dental procedures to resume May 26. (May 19)
  • Governor Murphy issued an administrative order to allow bike shops, car dealerships, and motorcycle dealerships to resume in-person sales beginning May 20 at 6 AM. (May 19)
  • Governor Murphy signed A3966 legislation into law. This will allow holders of certain retail consumption licenses to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages. (May 15)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order to mail every registered voter an application to vote by mail or a vote by mail ballot. (May 15)
  • Governor Murphy signed a bill into law allowing a woman giving birth to be accompanied by one other person. (May 15)
  • Governor Murphy announced that the State had assembled a team of experts to review long-term care facilities. (May 6)
  • The State granted recently graduated health care workers the ability to obtain temporary emergency licenses if they have been unable to take their licensing exams. The licensing program applies to recent graduates of accredited professional nursing, practical nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy education and training in the state, and accredited respiratory care therapy education and training within the state. (May 5)
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order which extended deadlines under existing environmental laws for the duration of the public health emergency. (May 2)
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order to ease in-person requirements for obtaining a marriage license for couples, wedding ceremonies, and working papers for minors. (May 1)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order to allow for initiative and referendum petitions, including signatures, to be submitted electronically. (April 29)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order which extends Retired Officer Carry Permits by 90 days until after the Public Health Emergency ends. (April 27)
  • New Jersey’s Supreme Court ordered that municipal courts can begin holding proceedings via phone or video starting April 27. (April 24)
  • Governor Murphy signed S2357 into law which requires hospitals to report demographic data to the State’s Department of Health. (April 22)
  • Governor Murphy announced that the State’s Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs would begin issuing temporary emergency licenses to foreign-licensed physicians. (April 17)
  • Governor Murphy signed legislation (S2374) to expand the Family Leave Act to allow employees up to twelve weeks of unpaid family leave in a two-year period. (April 14)
  • Governor Murphy joined the governors of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island in forming a multi-state council to restore the economy and put people back to work. (April 13)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order which requires NJ Transit and private carriers to adopt new restrictions including contactless pay and limiting occupancy by passengers at 50% of the state’s maximum vehicle capacity. The order also requires still operating restaurants to institute new restrictions including limiting occupancy at 10% of the state’s maximum capacity and providing employees break time for repeated handwashing, and require both workers and customers to wear face masks. (April 11)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order (EO 121) increasing the maximum weight limit on highways from 80,000 pounds to 92,000 pounds for vehicles transporting relief supplies. (April 8)
  • Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 120, postponing the state’s primary election from June 2 to July 7. (April 8)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order (EO 115) which would allow retired law enforcement officers and nurses to return to employment without affecting their retirement pensions. (April 6)
  • The federal government issued a Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey in order to provide federal funding and assistance to combat the state’s COVID 19 outbreak. (March 26)
  • Governor Murphy has ordered the closure of casinos, dine-in restaurants, theaters, gyms, indoor shopping malls, barbershops and hair salons, spas, nail and eyelash salons, tattoo parlors and social clubs. (March 19)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • The Murphy Administration announced they would be establishing a $100 million short-term rental assistance program for low and moderate-income families. (May 29)
  • Governor Murphy signed A4157 into law, which extends the deadline to file a property tax appeal to July 1. (May 28)
  • The State has created the PPE Supplier Registry to connect suppliers with potential buyers. (May 22)
  • Online grocery shopping will be available to New Jerseyans enrolled in the state SNAP program through Amazon, beginning May 27, and participating Walmarts, ShopRites, and The Fresh Grocers beginning May 28. (May 20)
  • The Department of Banking and Insurance, Department of Health, Department of Human Services, and the Department of Treasury have all taken action to increase insurance coverage so that COVID-19 testing is covered. (May 13)
  • The federal government approved the State’s plan to provide $248 million in special food assistance benefits to State children who normally receive free or reduced school meals. (May 11)
  • The State received $31,511,487 from the second round of Community Development Block Grant CARES Act funding. (May 11)
  • Governor Murphy announced two new American Red Cross plasma collection sites in Northern New Jersey. (May 9)
  • 53 New Jersey Hospitals will share $1.7 billion in aid from the federal Department of Health and Human Services. (May 2)
  • The State Human Services Commission is providing new funding to support New Jersey residents including $36 million in food assistance for State SNAP recipients, $24 million for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, $6.3 million to provide meals for seniors, and $20 million for childcare for essential employees. (May 1)
  • The State launched a non-congregate housing program for first responders using available hotels. (May 1)
  • Governor Murphy announced that the State had acquired the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System to aid healthcare workers and first responders in decontaminating personal protective equipment. (April 30)
  • The State Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that notification of eligibility for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for self-employed and independent contractors will begin April 29 and payments will begin to be disbursed on May 1. (April 29)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order which permits municipalities to extend the property tax payments deadline from May 1 to June 1. (April 28)
  • The State issued an administrative order allowing individuals without safe, permanent housing access to hotels and motels. (April 24)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order which allows renters to have their landlords use security deposits to offset or back rent. (April 24)
  • The State has expanded student loan relief within the state to include private lenders. (April 21)
  • Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank established a backstop municipal bond note program to assist state municipalities. (April 21)
  • The State’s Housing and Mortgage Financing Authority voted to suspend all rent increases for “eligible properties within its portfolio.” (April 16)
  • Governor Murphy announced that he would sign the COVID-19 Fiscal Mitigation Act (A-3918) moving the state’s income and corporate tax filing deadline to July 15. (April 13)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order forbidding cable and telecommunication companies from discontinuing service for nonpayment until 30 days after the emergency has ended. (April 13)
  • Governor Murphy announced that he would be extending his executive order, extending the grace period for individuals who are not able to pay insurance premiums due to the pandemic. (April 9)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Murphy announced that the State would be “committing $50 million in federal CARES Act funding” to support small businesses. (May 15)
  • Governor Murphy signed a bill (S2342/A3915) which allows nonprofit corporations to hold meetings via remote communication. (April 14)
  • Businesses can apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the Small Business Administration loans. These loans are offered at interest rates of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for private, nonprofit organizations, with a repayment period of up to 30 years. (March 20)
  • New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is offering assistance programs to support small and medium-sized businesses during the COVID 19 outbreak. (March 19)
  • The State Assembly passed measures aimed at supporting businesses and employees affected by COVID 19, including appropriations to allow workers to claim for lost wages, paid leave for local government employees under certain circumstances, time off from work in connection with COVID-19, and allowing remote shareholders’ meetings. Other measures have been proposed and are pending. (March 16)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • No records found as of June 1.
  • The Murphy Administration announced that horse racetracks are permitted to reopen on June 1, with no spectators in the stadiums and health guidelines in place. (May 30)
  • Governor Murphy announced that child care centers can reopen June 15, non-contact organized sports can resume June 22, and youth day camps can resume on June 22. (May 30)
  • The State is allowing “modified in-person graduation ceremonies” beginning on July 6, which are mandated to take place outdoors and must adhere to the capacity limitations in place. The State Department of Education and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education released additional guidance on May 27. (May 27)
  • The Jersey Shore reopened on May 22. (May 22)
  • Governor Murphy signed an executive order allowing the reopening of outdoor recreational activities and businesses including batting cages, golf ranges, shooting, and archery ranges, horseback riding, private tennis clubs, and community gardens. (May 18)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order permitting the reopening of charter fishing and watercraft rental businesses. (May 16)
  • Elective Surgeries were permitted to resume on May 26. (May 15)
  • Governor Murphy announced that nonessential businesses may reopen for curbside pickup starting Monday. (May 13)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order extending the public-health emergency by 30 days. (May 6)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order opening state parks, golf courses, and county parks beginning May 2. (April 29)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order establishing the Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission, a 21-member group that will advise on restarting the state’s economy. (April 28)
  • Governor Murphy announced his plan, “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health,” to reopen the state once the stay-at-home order is lifted. The plan has six underlying principles: “Demonstrate sustained reductions in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” to increase testing capacity, to establish robust contact tracing, “secure safe places and resources for isolation and quarantine,” launch a “responsible economic restart” and to “ensure New Jersey’s resiliency.” (April 27)
  • Governor Murphy and the governors of New York and Connecticut announced that marinas, boatyards, and marine manufacturers will be allowed to open for personal use as long as social distancing is maintained. (April 18)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order directing all New Jersey residents to remain home or at their place of residence unless they are obtaining essential goods or services, takeout food or beverages, seeking medical attention or other essential services, or assistance from law enforcement. (March 21)

Curfews:

  • No official order has been issued, however Governor Murphy has “strongly suggested” that residents should not leave their homes between 8 PM and 5 AM. (March 24)

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Governor Murphy stated that he believes he will be able to increase the limit on indoor gatherings for indoor religious services for the weekend of June 12. (May 29)
  • Governor Murphy announced that the limit on outdoor gatherings has been expanded from 10 people to 25 people, as long as social distancing is still in effect. (May 22)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order to place specified low-risk inmates on temporary home confinement or granted parole through an expedited process. (April 10)
  • Governor Murphy issued an executive order which has ended all non-essential construction indefinitely, limited the number of customers within stores, and patrons, as well as employees, will be required to wear face-coverings. (April 8)

Delivery Services:

  • All restaurants and bars are permitted to operate their normal business hours but are limited to offering only food delivery and take-out services in accordance with their existing liquor licenses. (March 21)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • Governor Murphy announced that schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year. (May 2)
  • A full list of current school closures in the New York tri-state area can be found here.

State Higher Education:

  • $68.8 million in federal CARES funds will be available to State public colleges and universities. (May 22)
  • Governor Murphy signed legislation (S2356/A3946) into law, which instructs the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to exclude the Spring 2020 semester when considering a student’s total lifetime eligibility for state financial aid programs. (May 15)
  • All institutions of higher education have ceased in-person instruction beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (March 16)

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com