Governor Murphy today issued Executive Order No. 107, which he characterized as a “Stay at Home” executive order. The Order goes into effect at 9pm tonight. The clear intent of the Order is to have as many state residents as possible both work from home and stay at home to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19. As outlined below, the Order directs an expanded closure of “non-essential retail businesses,” but also requires all businesses to make “best efforts” to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue.
Here are the most relevant provisions of the Order:
- All state residents are to remain at their place of residence unless they are – among other reasons — “reporting to, or performing, their job” (paragraph 2);
- When in public, individuals must practice social distancing and stay six feet apart “wherever practicable” (paragraph 3);
- Public transportation should only be used if employees “have no other feasible choice” (paragraph 4);
- The brick-and-mortar premises of all non-essential retail businesses must close to the public. Examples of essential retail businesses are grocery stores, pharmacies, alternative treatment centers, medical supply stores, gas stations, convenience stores, hardware stores, banks, laundromats and dry-cleaning, pet stores, supply stores for children, liquor stores, car repair businesses, retail printing and office supply, and retail functions of mail and delivery stores (paragraph 6);
- If the business remains open to the public, social distancing practices must be adopted to the extent practicable (paragraph 7);
- Businesses are required to accommodate employees “wherever practicable, for telework for work-from-home arrangements” (paragraph 10);
- Paragraph 11 is important:
- 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. Examples of employees who need to be physically present at their work site in order to perform their duties 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.
- Nothing in the Order is to be construed to “limit, prohibit, or restrict in any way the provision of health care or medical services to members of the public” under paragraph 17.
In a nutshell:
- If you are a retail business, make sure the business falls under an exception under paragraph 6 in order to stay open to the public. If the business stays open, you must abide by social distancing practices.
- Restaurants/recreation/entertainment/personal care businesses have their own separate restrictions similar to previous directives under paragraphs 8 and 9;
- All businesses must accommodate their workforce, wherever practicable, for telework or work-from-home arrangements; and
- All businesses must make “best efforts” to reduce on-site staff to the minimal necessary to ensure that essential business operations can continue. Again, social distancing practices are advised.
It will be advisable for any business that will have employees on-site to educate or notify the workforce of CDC guidelines and social distancing practices. This includes making all reasonable efforts to keep customers six feet apart, and the frequent use of sanitizing products on common surfaces.
Businesses that do not comply with the Order are subject to penalties.
Click here to visit New Jersey’s new COVID-19 Information Hub & Resource Center.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or your Connell Foley contact if you have any questions about the impact of this Order on your business.