On March 16, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (shown), a Democrat, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany under President Obama, and a former banker at Goldman Sachs, announced via Executive Order No. 104 the implementation of emergency measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
According to local CBS affiliate WLNY, during a press conference the governor “made it clear that the state’s new social distancing and curfew directives must be followed if the outbreak is to stop.”
Speaking to New Jersey residents, the governor pleaded for compliance with the measures.
“We’re doing everything we can here to ‘flatten the curve,’ to keep our distance, to please, God, stay at home whenever you can. Work from home. Certainly don’t go out at night. Find ways to keep your distance, and the extent to which we can do that we can take the pressure off the health care system, lessen the likelihood of needing surge capacity, and, most importantly, save lives in the process.
Executive Order 104 includes the following provisions:
• “All gatherings of persons in the State of New Jersey shall be limited to 50 persons or fewer,” excluding for certain purposes.
“All public, private, and parochial preschool program premises, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, shall ... remain closed as long as this Order remains in effect.”
“All institutions of higher education shall cease in-person instruction ... as long as this Order remains in effect.
• Facilities closed to the public “as long as this Order remains in effect” include casinos, retail sports wagering lounges, racetracks, gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, nightclubs, and more.
• “Other non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.” During open hours, occupancy must be limited to 50 and social distancing guidelines must be followed.
• “Restaurants, dining establishments, and food courts ... are permitted to operate their normal business hours, but are limited to offering only food delivery and/or take-out services.”
In addition to the foregoing the executive order authorizes the state attorney general, working the superintendent of State Police, “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, to prevent ingress or egress, and to determine the type of vehicle or vehicles to be operated on such roadways.”
As for how the widely reported curfew might impact individual citizens, NorthJersey.com, a subsidiary of USA Today, called the measure a “voluntary statewide curfew.” The site reported that Governor Murphy had been disturbed after watching videos of people in bars.
“I saw too many videos last night of packed bars, people passing bottles, drinking from the same bottle, literally globbed on top of each other,” Murphy said according to the site. “In short of shutting the entire state down, clipping establishments by a number of hours each night in particular we believe will have a meaningful, positive outcome in terms of social distancing.”
Some cities in New Jersey, though, have gone beyond the state’s emergency measures. The city of Hoboken, for example, has placed “residents under curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.,” according to Fox News.
Photo of Gov. Phil Murphy: AP Images