New Jersey cancels all non-approved gatherings amid coronavirus outbreak

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed two executive orders cancelling all non-approved gatherings and shuttering non-essential retail businesses, among other measures.

The New Jersey government said the two executive orders, signed Saturday morning, cancel gatherings including parties, celebrations or other social events “unless explicitly authorized.” Non-essential retail businesses also “must close storefront and/or brick-and-mortar premises,” while “all recreational and entertainment businesses must close to the public.” 

Bars and restaurants in the Garden State must close on-site service and may provide take-out and delivery service only.

Among the businesses exempt from the closures are grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries, medical supply stores, gas stations, convenience stores, ancillary stores within healthcare facilities, hardware and home improvement stores, vehicle rental locations, banks and other financial institutions and more. 

The executive orders mandate that all businesses accommodate for telework or other work from home arrangements “wherever practical” and that the number of employees on site should be minimized as much as possible. Employees who are commuting into work are also encouraged to receive letters from their employers indicating that they work in an industry that is allowed to continue its operations.

Murphy recognized that the orders will impact his state’s businesses and maintained his administration is committed to working with employees to try to blunt the economic impact of the closures.

“We recognize the impact today’s order will have on our small businesses, who are the backbone of our economy,” said Murphy. “We remain committed to working with you to ensure you have the help and resources you and your employees will need, going forward throughout this emergency & beyond.” 

New Jersey is just the latest state to issue what amounts to a shelter-in-place order, following California, Illinois and New York.

New Jersey has 890 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and 11 people in the state have died from the illness.

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