Pursuant to a series of Executive Orders issued by Governor Phil Murphy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (together with related guidance and orders issued by the Office of Emergency Management), certain businesses must cease operations while others may maintain operations during normal business hours, subject to social distancing protocols.

Each retail business in New Jersey must close unless it is considered essential. However, if a retail business has a physical storefront, it may continue delivery and online operations only.  If a business is not a retail business, it may continue to operate but it must permit employees to work from home whenever possible.  If there are certain employees that need to be on-site, such employees may not exceed the minimum number needed for critical operations.  Additionally, there are five blanket categories of businesses that may remain open.

If a retail business is not essential but should be considered essential, inquiries can be made with the Business.NJ.gov team via the “chat” feature in the bottom right corner of https://faq.business.nj.gov/en/articles/3820777-does-my-business-need-to-close-due-to-the-state-s-covid-19-directives.

The chart below summarizes the current slate of rules with respect to non-retail/retail businesses, blanket exemptions, and closures.

Non-Retail Businesses Allowed to Remain Open
  1. Professional Service Firms such as Law Firms and Accounting Firms
  2. Realtors can show houses to prospective buyers on a 1-on-1 basis or to immediate families but open houses are prohibited
Essential Retail Businesses Allowed to Remain Open
  1. Grocery stores and any stores that sells food
  2. Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries
  3. Medical supply stores
  4. Gas stations
  5. Convenience stores
  6. Stores in healthcare facilities
  7. Hardware and home improvement stores
  8. Banks
  9.   Laundromats/dry-cleaning services
  10. Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five
  11. Pet stores, but not pet grooming
  12. Liquor stores
  13. Auto mechanics (does not include car washes)
  14. Car dealerships,
  15. Car dealerships (only for auto maintenance and repair, online and remote sales, direct vehicle delivery to customers, curbside or service lane pickup)
  16. Printing and office supply shops
  17. Mail and delivery stores
  18. Mobile phone retail and repair shops
  19.  Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair
  20. Livestock feed stores
  21. Nurseries and garden centers
  22. Farming equipment stores
  23. Bars and restaurants may offer drive-through, delivery, and takeout only
  24. Child care centers (provided the center certifies by March 27, 2020 to only watch the children of essential workers on and after April 1, 2020)
Blanket Exemption Categories Allowed to Remain Open
  1. Health Care or Medical Service Providers
  2. Essential Services for Low-Income Residents
  3. Media
  4. Law Enforcement
  5. Federal Government Operations, or the Movement of Federal Officials in their Official Capacity
Businesses Allowed to Remain Open but with Limited Staff solely for Essential Operations
  1. Manufacturing
  2. Industrial
  3. Logistics
  4. Ports
  5. Construction
  6. Shipping
  7. Food Production
  8. Food Delivery
  9. Medical Facilities
Businesses that Must Close Recreational and Entertainment Businesses, including:

  1.  Casino Gaming Floors including Sports Wagering Lounges and Concert/Entertainment Venues
  2. Racetracks including Stabling Facilities and Sports Wagering Lounges
  3. Gyms and Fitness Centers
  4. Entertainment Centers including Movie Theaters, Performing Arts Centers, Concert Venues and Nightclubs
  5.  Indoor Parts of Shopping Malls
  6. All places of Public Amusement
  7. All Personal-Care Businesses that by their very nature result in noncompliance with social distancing including:

a.    Barbershops

b.    Hair Salons

c.     Spas

d.    Nail and Eyelash Salons

e.    Tattoo Parlors

f.      Massage Parlors

g.    Tanning Salons

h.    Pet Groomers

i.      Public and Private Social Clubs

      8. Golf courses

Update – Federal Firearms Licensees are now considered an essential retail business only to complete the portion of a sale or transfer that must conducted under state and/or federal law and must be conducted by appointment or for product maintenance and service repair.

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.