March 21, 2020
All New Jersey residents are to "stay at home," under an executive order that bans gatherings of any size and closes all non-essential businesses in attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy announced at a press briefing Saturday.
Weddings, in-person services and even parties are banned. Murphy did not say the state was in lockdown, but emphasized that the announcement to "stay at home" was an order.
The order takes effect at 9 p.m. Saturday.
"I know this will be disappointing to many residents," Murphy said. "But this is no time for business as usual. All gatherings are cancelled until further notice."Murphy emphasized that the order would override any action taken by local authorities, including commands from counties and cities.
Murphy listed the places that may remain open for limited use by residents.
"Grocery stores, food banks, pharmacies, medical marijuana dispensaries, gas stations, automobile repair shops, convenience stores, banks and financial institutions, hardware repair stores, laundromats, printing stores, pet stores, stores with children's supplies, mail and delivery stores, restaurants, bars, and liquor stores providing takeout services," are essential businesses, Murphy said.
Murphy also urged people with homes on the Jersey Shore not to head to the beach towns to quarantine. He said that local infrastructure would not be able to handle such an influx of people.
"This is no time for a party on the beach," Murphy said.
As deaths rise, there is a need for a change in behavior, Murphy said. He encouraged residents that need to visit essential businesses to practice social distancing.