Coronavirus NJ: What is closed and what is open during the shutdown?
Nearly all of New Jersey's 9 million residents should stay at home and all "nonessential" businesses in New Jersey were ordered to close indefinitely starting Saturday at 9 p.m., Gov. Phil Murphy ordered Saturday to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Gatherings of any size are banned, Murphy said.
These wide-reaching, draconian measures come as New Jersey announced 1,327 positive cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey and 16 deaths. .
Here's what we know so far:
Does anything stay open?
"Only businesses critical to our response may remain open," Murphy said.
These essential businesses include:
- Hospitals, health care facilities and stores within the facilities
- Grocery stores and liquor stores
- Farmer's markets and farms that sell directly to customers
- Food banks
- Medical supply stores
- Gas stations and convenience stores
- Banks and other financial institutions
- Pet supply stores
- Hardware and home improvement stores
- Laundromats and dry-cleaning services
- Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair and auto mechanics
- Mail and delivery stores
- Stores that principally sell supplies for children under 5 years old
- Physical therapy offices
- Restaurants and bars can offer takeout and delivery services only.
The following businesses were added to the list on March 24:
- Mobile phone retail and repair shops
- Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair
- Livestock feed stores
- Nurseries and garden centers
- Farming equipment stores.
Anything not included on this list was ordered to be closed by 9 p.m. Saturday.
When does New Jersey's ban take effect?
Saturday, March 21 at 9 p.m.
How long will this last?
Murphy did not put a time table on how long these restrictions will last, but said to expect them to continue for weeks or months. "This is not going to change anytime soon," he said.
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Will liquor stores stay open?
Yes. Restaurants, liquor stores and bars providing takeout may remain open.
What about stores that also sell groceries, like Target or Walmart?
Retailers that offer foods "comparable to what exists at a grocery store" remain open.
Can I go outside?
You can still take a walk or go run outside, buy groceries, or get takeout from a local restaurant, Murphy said.
But if you go outside, stay 6 feet away from others.
I can't be within 6 feet of my family when I go outside?
The 6-foot rule does not apply to immediate family members, caretakers, household members or romantic partners.
Can I go to the doctor?
Yes. You can also seek "essential social services" or law enforcement and emergency services. If law enforcement or a government agency tells you to leave your home, follow their orders.
Can anyone still go into work?
Certain employees that must be on-site may commute to work. That includes:
- Law enforcement officers, firefighters, 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
- Home health aids, nannies
The executive order cannot interfere with members of the media doing their jobs.
Murphy urged that companies should "go to 100% work from home when practicable."
Will construction continue?
Can I go to a friend's house or visit family?
You may visit family or people with whom you have "a close personal relationship," but parties are not allowed.
Can I use public transportation?
Only if you have no other feasible choice, Murphy's executive order says. Make sure you sit 6 feet away from other riders and "frequently use sanitizing products," his order says.
Are schools still closed?
Yes. All public, private and parochial schools from preschool to high school will be closed until further notice. The Department of Education will permit certain schools to open on a limited basis to distribute food or other "essential, non-educational services."
All universities and colleges cannot hold in-person classes. The Secretary of the Office of Higher Education can grant waivers for in-person teaching on a case-by-case basis when a "compelling rationale" exists, Murphy's order says.
What if a person or business doesn't follow the rules?
Police will charge you with disorderly conduct, Police Superintendent Pat Callahan said. Generally in New Jersey, a person with a disorderly conduct charge faces up to 364 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
What if my town issued different rules?
The governor's executive order invalidates any county or municipal rules that may conflict with Murphy's rules.
Can I see the actual executive order that Murphy signed?
The order is linked here.
Ashley Balcerzak is a reporter in the New Jersey Statehouse. For unlimited access to her work covering New Jersey’s legislature and political power structure, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.