Governor Murphy Announces Statewide Stay at Home Order, Closure of All Non-Essential Retail Businesses

By Executive Order, Governor Murphy announced today Saturday March 21, 2020 a Statewide Stay at Home Order, and closure of all non-essential retail businesses and prohibits all social gatherings, mandates work from home arrangements for employees when possible, and invalidates any conflicting local and county regulations.

To stop the spread of coronavirus, Governor Murphy’s Executive Order directs the closure of all non-essential retail businesses to the public, with the exceptions of:

  • Grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store;
  • Pharmacies and medical 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;
  • Pet stores;
  • Liquor stores;
  • Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics;
  • Printing and office supply shops;
  • Mail and delivery stores.

There will be no interruption ins the following services 1) the provision of health care or medical services; 2) access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; 3) the operations of the media; 4) law enforcement agencies, or 5) the operations of the federal government.

Additionally, Governor Murphy’s executive order mandates that all businesses or non-profits, wherever practicable, must accommodate their workforce for telework or work-from-home arrangements. To the extent a business or non-profit has employees that cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from-home arrangements, the business or non-profit should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue.

In an effort to strengthen the existing social distancing measures in place, the order also prohibits all gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events. When in public, individuals must practice social distancing and stay at least six feet apart whenever possible, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners.

Governor Murphy’s Executive Order continues existing bans on recreational and entertainment businesses, requirements that all restaurants operate by delivery and takeout only, and the directive that all pre-K, elementary, and secondary schools close and all institutions of higher education cease in-person instruction.

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