Please note that, in light of Governor Murphy's recent "stay at home" order in New Jersey due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McLaughlin & Nardi, LLC's attorneys and staff are working remotely at this time. However, we are still ready, willing, and able to address all of your individual and business legal needs. Please contact us by phone at (973) 890-0004 or email at info@esqnj.com. We are committed to providing the same high level of legal services that our clients have come to expect over the years. Thank you.

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Summary of New Jersey Governor Murphy’s New Order Concerning Restrictions on Businesses and People

 

The Order

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order Number 107, which further tightened restrictions on people and businesses in response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.  This Executive Order superseded all previous Executive Orders on Coronavirus responses.

For businesses, one thing to realize is that the only businesses required to close are the brick and mortar operations of non-essential retail business.  Other businesses – ie., all businesses which are not non-essential retail businesses – may remain open, albeit with some limitations.

The order is far from a “lockdown” or “shelter in place.”  However, it does significantly changes the way we all live our day to day lives.  In all aspects, though, it is important to maintain social distancing.  However, it does not stop most people and businesses in New Jersey from pursuing their livelihoods.

Below is a summary of the restrictions in Governor Murphy’s new Executive Order.

People

  • New Jersey residents are required to remain home unless:
    • obtaining goods or services from essential retail businesses (see below), including obtaining takeout food or beverages from restaurants, other dining establishments, or food courts;
    • seeking medical attention, essential social services, or assistance from law enforcement or emergency services;
    • visiting family or other people with whom the resident has a close personal relationship, such as those for whom the individual is a caretaker or romantic partner;
    • reporting to or performing their jobs;
    • walking, running, operating a wheelchair, or engaging in outdoor activities with immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners while social distancing practices with others, including staying six feet apart;
    • for an educational, religious, or political reason;
    • leaving because of a reasonable fear for health or safety;
    • leaving at the direction of law enforcement or other government agency.
  • Thus, the order is far from a total lockdown, or shelter in place. However, when in public, people must practice social distancing and stay six feet apart whenever practicable, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners.
  • Public transportation is discouraged and should not be used unless there is no other feasible choice. Social distancing practices must be observed, including trying to stay at least six feet away from others and frequently use sanitizing products.
  • Gatherings such as parties or other social events are cancelled, unless otherwise specifically exempted by the Governor’s Executive Order.
  • The Superintendent of the State Police may also provide clarifying regulations.

Retail Businesses

  • The brick-and-mortar premises of all non-essential retail businesses must close.
  • Essential retail businesses may remain open during their normal business hours. However, they must, wherever practicable, provide pickup services outside or adjacent to their stores for goods ordered in advance online or by phone.
  • Additionally, online and telephonic delivery services are permitted to the extent authorized under existing law.
  • Essential retail businesses excluded (ie., those that can stay open) include the following, which may be supplemented by the Superintendent of the State Police. If they remain open, they must practice social distancing.
    • Grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores;
    • Pharmacies and alternative medicinal 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 old;
    • Pet stores;
    • Liquor stores;
    • Auto mechanics and car dealership maintenance and repair departments
    • printing and office supply shops;
    • mail and delivery stores.

Restaurants, Bars, Etc.

  • All restaurants, cafeterias, dining establishments, food courts, bars, and all other licensed retail alcoholic beverage establishments are permitted to operate their normal business hours, but may only offer food delivery and/or take-out services in accordance with their existing liquor licenses. The on-premises consumption of alcohol is prohibited. Liquor sold must be in original containers.

Recreational and Entertainment Businesses.

  • All recreational and entertainment businesses, including but not limited to the following list, must close to the public. This includes but is not limited to the following:
    • Casino gaming floors, including retail sports wagering lounges, and casino concert and entertainment venues. (Licensed online sports and casino gaming services may continue to be offered.)
    • Racetracks, stabling facilities and retail sports wagering lounges. (Online sports wagering services may continue.)
    • Gyms and fitness centers and classes.
    • Entertainment centers, including movie theaters, performing arts centers, other concert venues, and nightclubs.
    • The indoor portions of retail shopping malls must close. (Restaurants and other stores located within shopping malls that have their own external entrances open to the public, separate from the general mall entrance, may remain open for takeout or food delivery. All entrances and exits to the common area portions of retail shopping malls must remain closed. This means that restaurants in strip malls whose doors open to the street or parking lot may open for take out or delivery.)
    • All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, family and children’s attractions.
    • Personal care services that, by their very nature, result in noncompliance with social distancing guidelines, including
      • cosmetology shops;
      • barber shops;
      • beauty salons;
      • hair braiding shops;
      • nail salons;
      • electrology facilities;
      • spas, including day spas and medical spas, at which solely elective and cosmetic medical procedures are performed;
      • massage parlors, tanning salons, tattoo parlors
      • public and private social clubs, such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Knights of Columbus, and any other social clubs associated with community service organizations. (Excluding health facilities that provide medically necessary or therapeutic services.)
      • All public, school and college libraries, and college computer labs.

All Other Businesses and Non-Profits

  • All businesses or non-profits, whether closed or open to the public, must accommodate their workforce, wherever practicable, for telework or work-from-home arrangements. This means working from home or alternative locations closer to home through the use of technology that equips the individual to access necessary materials.
  • Business or non-profit whose staff cannot work from home and telecommute should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue.
    • Examples include but are not limited to law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and other first responders, cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, information technology maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff

Schools and Colleges.

  • All public, private, and parochial preschool program premises, and elementary and secondary schools, charter and renaissance schools, are closed to students until further order.
  • In person teaching at colleges, universities and other institutions of higher education are prohibited until further notice, although the Secretary of the Office of Higher Education shall have may grant waivers for in-person instruction on a case-by-case basis where a compelling rationale
  • Provisions will be made for students whose primary residence is on-campus housing and for schools to remain open on a limited basis to provide food or other essential, non-educational services, or emergency educational or child care services if needed with permission of the Commissioner of DOH and/or the Commissioner or the Commissioner of the DOE
  • Remote instruction via the internet at all levels is allowed.

Not Effected.

  • The Governor’s Executive Order was clear that it does not limit, prohibit, or restrict in any way:
    • the provision of health care or medical services to members of the public.access
    • to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks.
    • the operations of newspapers, television, radio, and other media services.
    • the operations of law enforcement agencies.
    • the federal government, or the movement of federal officials in New Jersey while acting in their official capacity.

Law Enforcement, Duties of All

  • Law enforcement may direct traffic or close any area as deemed necessary due to conditions.
  • All people and businesses must comply with social distancing and the lawful orders of government and law enforcement agencies.

Contact Us.  We are Here to Help

McLaughlin & Nardi, LLC is open to help New Jersey businesses and people.  Call us at (973) 890-0004 or email us at info@esqnj.com.  We can help.