June 20, 2021

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What’s Open, Closed? More NJ Businesses Operate Amid Coronavirus

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NEW JERSEY — As the New Jersey coronavirus crisis continues to escalate, some businesses are still allowed to operate — and that list grew this week as Gov. Phil Murphy once again loosened his “stay-at-home” order.

Murphy this week allowed three additional retail businesses in New Jersey to be deemed “essential,” allowing them to operate during the coronavirus outbreak. (See the entire list of businesses in operation below.)

Murphy is set on minimizing the overall list of business allowed to open as the number of cases rose to 18,696 on Tuesday — the second-highest number in the country — and 267 people have died. Read more: NJ Coronavirus Updates: Here’s What You Need To Know

One of the businesses that can resume operating is the gun industry, on a limited basis. Murphy drew backlash for shutting down firearms retailers while allowing liquor stores to stay open during the outbreak.

Murphy said he was loosening restrictions on firearms sales to comply with guidelines released this past weekend by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which called guns “critical infrastructure.”

“It wouldn’t have been my definition, but that is the definition at the federal level, and I didn’t get a vote on that,” Murphy said.

This week, Murphy allowed these three types of businesses to resume operating:

  • Auto dealerships can operate remote or online sales, and allow for off-site pickup.

  • Realtors can do business, but only on a one-on-one basis with no open houses.

  • Firearms will be able to operate on an appointment basis only.

Golf courses, however, are considered recreational and entertainment businesses that must close to the public and to members associated with private golf clubs, Murphy said.

“While we’ve made adjustments to businesses that are permitted to operate, my stay-at-home order remains firmly in effect,” Murphy said. “Unless you absolutely need to get out, or unless your job is critical to our response, I have ordered all New Jerseyans to just stay home.”

Otherwise, Murphy’s executive order directs the closure of all nonessential retail businesses to the public, with the exceptions of:

  • Grocery stores, farmers markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store.

  • Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries.

  • Medical supply stores

  • Gas stations

  • Convenience stores

  • Ancillary stores within health care facilities

  • Hardware and home improvement stores.

  • Banks and other financial institutions

  • Laundromats and dry-cleaning services

  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under age 5

  • Pet stores

  • Liquor stores

  • Auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics

  • Printing and office supply shops

  • Mail and delivery stores

These businesses were added to the list last week:

  • Mobile phone retail and repair shops

  • Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair

  • Livestock feed stores

  • Nurseries and garden centers

  • Farming equipment stores

This does not limit:

  • The provision of health care or medical services.

  • Access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks

  • The operations of the media

  • Law enforcement agencies

  • The operations of the federal government

Additionally, the order mandates that all businesses or nonprofits, wherever practicable, must accommodate their workforce for telework or work-from-home arrangements, Murphy said.

To the extent a business or nonprofit has employees who cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from-home arrangements, best efforts should be made to reduce staff on-site to the minimal number necessary, he said.

Examples of employees who need to be present at their work site in order to perform their job duties include:

  • Law enforcement officers

  • Firefighters and other first responders

  • Cashiers or store clerks

  • Construction workers

  • Utility workers

  • Repair workers

  • Warehouse workers

  • Lab researchers

  • IT maintenance workers

  • Janitorial and custodial staff

  • Certain administrative staff.

The order continues existing bans on recreational and entertainment businesses, requirements that all restaurants operate by delivery and takeout only, and the directive that all pre-K, elementary, and secondary schools close and all institutions of higher education cease in-person instruction.

Murphy also invalidated any county or municipal restriction that in any way will or might conflict with the state’s rules.

New Jersey Coronavirus Updates: Don’t miss local and statewide announcements about novel coronavirus precautions. Sign up for Patch alerts and daily newsletters.

Here’s what else you should know:

  • State health officials said they believe the virus is “community-spread” in New Jersey. “Community-spread indicates that the coronavirus is amongst us,” Department of Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli announced. Read more: Coronavirus May Be ‘Community-Spread’ In NJ

  • On Monday, March 16, Murphy announced he planned to shut down all schools on Tuesday, March 17. Read more: NJ Schools Will Close Due To Coronavirus Outbreak: Gov. Murphy

  • Murphy issued an executive order on Thursday, March 19 to ensure voters can exercise their right to vote without risking their health and safety. Read more: Coronavirus Alters NJ Election Procedure, Moves Election Dates

  • The first person in New Jersey to die of the coronavirus was reported on Tuesday, March 10. Read more: First NJ Coronavirus Death, 4 New Cases: Governor

  • New Jersey’s courts suspended all new jury trials until further notice, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said on Thursday, March 12. Read more: Coronavirus Throws Monkey Wrench Into New Jersey Court System

  • State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced on Saturday, March 14 that municipal court sessions will be suspended for two weeks, beginning Monday, March 16, to mitigate public exposure to COVID-19 coronavirus.

  • A new report from ProPublica says New Jersey hospitals would be hard pressed to meet demand – even in a best-case scenario – if the coronavirus outbreak surges. Read more: NJ Hospitals Lack Beds For Coronavirus Surge: Report

  • Four members of the same New Jersey family died from the coronavirus, according to March 19 reports. Read more: 4 In Same Family, Including 3 In NJ, Die Of Coronavirus: Reports

How It Spreads

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person to person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.

While the best way to prevent illness is to avoid virus exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention always recommends taking preventive actions to contain the spread of viruses. This includes:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

This article originally appeared on the Toms River Patch

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