COVID-19 Alert – New Jersey Executive Orders 107 and 108

On Saturday March 21, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 107 and Executive Order No. 108 (each, an “Executive Order”), introducing additional protective measures amidst the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. These measures will take effect tonight, Saturday March 21, 2020 at 9:00 pm, and will remain in effect until further executive order. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. With very limited exception, no municipality, county, agency, or political subdivision of New Jersey may enact or enforce any order, rule, regulation, ordinance, or resolution which will or might in any way conflict with any of the Governor’s Executive Orders or interfere with or impede their achievement. Per Executive Order No. 108, exceptions include online marketplaces for arranging or offering lodging or municipal county parks.
  2. All residents of the State of New Jersey are to remain at home or in their place of residence unless they are:
    • Obtaining goods or services from essential retail businesses, subject to social distancing practices. Essential retail businesses include:
      • 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 the options that exist at a grocery store;
      • pharmacies and alternative treatment centers that dispense medicinal cannabis;
      • medical supply stores;
      • retail function of gas stations;
      • convenience stores;
      • ancillary stores within healthcare facilities;
      • retail functions of banks and other financial institutions;
      • retail functions of laundromats and dry-cleaning services;
      • stores that principally sell supplies for children under the age of 5;
      • pet stores;
      • liquor stores;
      • car dealerships, but only to provide auto maintenance and repair services and auto mechanics;
      • retail functions of printing and office supply stores; and
      • retail functions of mail and delivery stores.
    • Obtaining takeout food or beverages from restaurants, other dining establishments, or food courts;
    • Seeking medical attention;
    • Seeking essential social services;
    • Seeking assistance from law enforcement or emergency services;
    • Visiting family or other individuals 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 job;
    • Walking, running or operating a wheelchair outside;
    • Engaging in other outdoor activities with immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners, subject to implementation of best social distancing practices with other individuals, including staying 6 feet apart;
    • Leaving home for an educational, religious, or political reason;
    • Leaving home due to a reasonable fear for his or her or health or safety; or
    • Leaving home at the direction of law enforcement or other government agency.
  1. When in public, all individuals must practice social distancing and stay 6 feet apart whenever practicable (excluding with respect to immediate family members, caretakers, household members or romantic partners).
  2. Individuals who have to travel via public transportation should only do so if there is no other feasible choice, subject to social distancing practices.
  3. All social gatherings are to be cancelled, unless specifically authorized by Executive Order.
  4. The brick-and-mortar premises of all non-essential retail businesses must close to the public. Essential retail businesses may remain open during their normal business hours but must, wherever practicable, provide pickup services outside or adjacent to their respective locations for goods ordered in advance online or by phone. Online and telephonic delivery services are permitted to the extent that the retail business is authorized to operate an online or telephonic delivery service under existing law.
  5. Essential retail business whose brick and mortar premises remain open to public shall abide by social distancing protocol, to the extent practicable, while providing essential services, including employing reasonable efforts to keep customers 6 feet apart and frequent use of sanitizing products on common surfaces.
  6. All restaurants, cafeterias, dining establishments, and food courts, with or without a liquor license, all bars, and all other holders of a liquor license with retail consumption privileges, are permitted to operate their normal business hours, but are limited to offering only food delivery and/or take-out services in accordance with their existing liquor licenses. Sales shall be limited to original containers sold from the principal public barroom. On premises consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
  7. All retail sales of alcoholic beverages by limited brewery licensees, restricted brewery licensees, plenary and farm winery licensees (and associated salesrooms), craft distillery licensees and cidery and meadery licensees must be in original containers and must be sold through customer pick up and/or delivered by licensees in accordance with their existing licenses.
  8. The following recreational and entertainment businesses must be closed to public:
    • Casino gaming floors, including retail sports wagering lounges, and casino concert and entertainment venues. Online and mobile sports and casino gaming services may continue to be offered notwithstanding the closure of the physical facility;
    • Racetracks, including stabling facilities and retail sports wagering lounges (mobile sports wagering services may continue);
    • Gyms and fitness centers and classes;
    • Entertainment centers (e.g., movie theaters, performing arts centers, other concert venues and nightclubs);
    • All indoor portions of retail shopping malls. 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, subject to the directives and restrictions on operating hours and takeout or food delivery services. All entrances and exits to the common area portions of retail shopping malls must remain closed;
    • All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, family and children’s attractions.
    • Facilities where personal care services are performed that, by their nature, result in noncompliance with social distancing guidelines (e.g., public and private social clubs, barber shops, nail salons, spas, tattoo parlors, tanning salons etc.), excluding any health facilities that provide medically necessary or therapeutic services.
    • All municipal, county, and State public libraries, and all libraries and computer labs at public and private colleges and universities.
  9. All businesses or non-profits in New Jersey, whether closed or open to the public, must accommodate their workforce wherever practicable for telework or work-from-home arrangements.
  10. 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.
  11. All public, private, and parochial preschool program premises, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, shall remain closed to students. The Commissioner of the Department of Education shall continue working with each public-school district, and private and parochial schools as appropriate, to ensure that students are able to continue their educations during this time period through appropriate home instruction.
  12. Higher education institutions shall continue to cease in person instruction, other than certain limited exceptions determined in the discretion of the Office of Higher Education.
  13. At the discretion of the Commissioner of the Department of Education, schools may be permitted to remain open on a limited basis for the provision of food or other essential, non-educational services if needed in emergency situations. The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Commissioner, shall take all necessary actions to ensure that all students eligible for free or reduced meals shall continue to receive the services or supports necessary to meet nutritional needs during closures.
  14. The State reserves the right to determine and control the direction of the flow of vehicular traffic on any State or interstate highway, municipal or county road, and any access road, including the right to detour, reroute, or divert any or all traffic and to prevent ingress or egress from any area that, in the State’s discretion, is deemed necessary for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the public, and to remove parked or abandoned vehicles from such roadways as conditions warrant.

Penalties for any violation of the Executive Order may include disorderly conduct and/or a monetary fine.

Please do not hesitate to contact Cole Schotz P.C. with any questions regarding this Alert. We will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.

As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

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