NJ Expands Social Restrictions, Closes Non-Essential Businesses

March 21, 2020Alerts

In his most sweeping action to date, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 107 on March 21, 2020, to close all non-essential businesses to help contain the coronavirus outbreak. The governor also issued Executive Order No. 108 to declare as invalid any county or municipal restriction that in any way conflicts with any of the provisions of EO 107.

EO 107, which will become effective at 9 p.m. on March 21, 2020, supersedes prior executive orders and provides:

  • Gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events, are cancelled unless explicitly authorized in EO 107. This includes conferences, large meetings, parties, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies.
  • Non-essential retail businesses must close storefront and/or brick-and-mortar premises operations while EO 107 is in effect.
  • All recreational and entertainment businesses must close to the public, including: casinos; racetracks; gyms and fitness centers; entertainment centers such as movie theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, and nightclubs; indoor portions of retail shopping malls; and places of public amusement. Any on-line operations can continue.
  • All personal-care businesses that by their very nature result in noncompliance with social distancing must be closed to the public and remain closed until EO 107 is lifted. This includes: barbershops; hair salons; spas; nail and eyelash salons; tattoo parlors; massage parlors; tanning salons; and public and private social clubs.
  • Bars and restaurants must be limited to take-out and delivery service only. Drive-throughs, take-out, delivery offered by restaurants, and other delivery services can continue to operate.

The following businesses are exempt from EO 107:

  • 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 as a grocery store
  • Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries; medical supply stores
  • Medical facilities, including any facility where a sick or injured person is given care or treatment, such as: doctor’s offices, hospitals, dentist offices, long-term care facilities and other medical offices
  • Gas stations; convenience stores; ancillary stores within health care facilities
  • Hardware and home improvement stores
  • Vehicle rental locations
  • Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions
  • Laundromats and dry-cleaning services
  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years
  • Pet stores
  • Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics
  • Printing and office supply shops
  • Mail and delivery stores
  • Liquor stores.

Remote Working

All businesses or nonprofits must allow for remote working wherever practicable. If employees must be on site, they should operate with the minimal number of on-site employees as possible to ensure critical operations can continue. Examples of such employees include cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, IT maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff.

Minimal Staffing

Manufacturing, industrial, logistics, ports, heavy construction, shipping, food production, food delivery and other commercial operations may continue operating, but they should limit staff on site to the minimal number to ensure that essential operations can continue.