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March 31, 2020

New Jersey residents eligible for unemployment benefits to receive additional $600 through July

More than 155,000 people submitted claims during the week that ended March 21

New Jersey residents who have lost their job or who have had their hours cut due to the coronavirus outbreak across the state and have qualified for unemployment benefits will receive an additional $600 through July 31 starting next week, Gov. Phil Murphy said during his daily briefing on Tuesday.

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Many residents across the state have seen their hours cut or their jobs completely eliminated as a result of Murphy’s executive order for all non-essential business to shut down to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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 were all initially deemed as essential business by the state. 

Murphy announced on Monday during his daily update that automotive dealerships, realtors, gun shops, and breweries have all been added to this list.

However, more than 155,000 New Jersey residents filed for unemployment insurance during the week ending March 21, according to the Labor Department. That was 16 times more than the previous week, Murphy said. On March 16 – the first Monday after restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic began to be implemented – 15,000 claims were made in New Jersey in a single day.

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New Jersey is providing financial relief through the state's earned sick leave law — which covers public health emergencies. Residents are eligible if the person's workplace or their child's school or daycare closed due to the pandemic. They also are eligible if a quarantine is recommended by health officials or if they need to take care of themselves or a family member.

These benefits are applicable to full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers. Employees can earn up to 40 hours of sick leave a year — or 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Any New Jersey workers needing to file for sick leave should contact their employer. 

New Jersey has also created a special jobs bank during the coronavirus outbreak with openings across the state for those looking for work.

Murphy also said on Tuesday that all municipal and private-sector water companies across the state have voluntarily halted all service shut-offs until the pandemic passes.

Murphy said on Saturday that he was working with utility companies to place a hold on service shutoffs, so that no state residents will experience a shutoff as a result of not being able to pay their bills. Most companies had agreed to the shutoffs, but Murphy was still waiting on others to agree.

New Jersey has 18,696 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the second-most of any state, and 267 deaths due to the virus as of Tuesday afternoon. Of those cases, 617 have appeared in South Jersey.

Camden County has 228 positive coronavirus cases, Burlington County has 202 cases, Gloucester County has 114 cases, Atlantic County has 31 cases, Cumberland County has 18 cases, and both Cape May and Salem counties have 12 cases.

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