Gov. Phil Murphy has implemented a series of social distancing measures to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19/coronavirus in New Jersey. The measures will remain in place until the executive order Murphy signed on March 16 has been lifted.
Among the directives, Murphy indefinitely closed all public and private preschool, elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education, as well as all casinos, racetracks, gyms, movie theaters and performing arts centers, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
The order also mandates that all non-essential retail, recreational and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor license, are limited to offering only delivery and/or take out-services, both during daytime hours and after 8 pm.
“In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, we must take aggressive and direct social distancing action to curtail non-essential activities in the state,” Murphy said. “Our paramount priority is to ‘flatten the curve’ of new cases, so we do not overwhelm our healthcare system and overload our healthcare professionals who are on the front lines of the response.
“My administration continues to work closely with our communities, stakeholders, union representatives and business leaders to ensure we all do our part to win the fight against the novel coronavirus and emerge stronger than ever,” the governor said.
In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, Murphy’s executive order directs:
• All gatherings of persons in the state will be limited to 50 persons or fewer, with limited exceptions;
• All public, private and parochial preschool programs, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, closed on March 18 and will remain closed as long as the executive order remains in effect;
• Institutions of higher education ceased all in-person instruction beginning on March 18 and will cease such in-person instruction as long as the executive order remains in effect;
• The Commissioner of Education will continue working with each public, private and parochial schools to ensure students are able to continue their education through appropriate home instruction;
• The Secretary of Agriculture and the Commissioner of Education will take all necessary actions to ensure all students eligible for free or reduced price meals will continue to receive the services necessary to meet nutritional needs during closures;
• All casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters and performing arts centers closed to the public at 8 p.m. March 16 and will remain closed as long as the executive order remains in effect;
• All other non-essential retail, recreational and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.;
• All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor or limited brewery license, are limited to offering delivery and/or take out-services only.
“These are extraordinary times and educators throughout the state have been taking extraordinary measures to create plans for high quality home instruction, ensure food security for children who depend on free and reduced price lunch, and provide services for all special needs students,” Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet said.
“We understand the closure can be a disruption for many parents, but we know nothing is more important than the safety of the 1.4 million children we serve,” he said.
“We understand this is an unprecedented situation and we are asking institutions to be extra vigilant in protecting the health and safety of their students, faculty, staff and the entire campus community,” said Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis, secretary of higher education.
“As institutions move to remote instruction, we urge them to ensure there are appropriate accommodations in place for students with disabilities, those who may not have access to internet services and students who call their campus community home. We continue collaborating with institutions to address concerns,” Ellis said.