On Saturday March 21, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 107 and Executive Order No. 108, introducing additional protective measures amidst the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. For details, click here.

The State of New Jersey has since issued related guidance, expanding upon the definition of “essential business”, and providing additional mechanisms aimed at containing the virus. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. In the event that your retail business or operations do not fit squarely within the definition of “essential business” under Executive Order No. 107, you may now submit a designation request to the State Director of Emergency Management (who, at this time, is the Superintendent of State Police). Per Governor Cuomo’s executive orders, New York has a similar procedure in place to determine what is/is not an essential business in the State of New York.
  2. The State is now calling upon New Jersey residents to report non-compliance with social distancing guidelines. If a business is not following the prescribed protocol, individuals can report non-compliance by contacting their Local Health Department, which can be identified by using the Find Your Local Health Department
  3. Non-essential retail businesses continue to be required to close storefront and/or brick-and-mortar premises operations. The following businesses may continue operations: manufacturing, industrial, logistics, ports, heavy construction, shipping, food production, food delivery, and other commercial operations, provided that such businesses should limit staff on site to the minimum number of individuals necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue.
  4. The State has specifically defined “medical facilities” as any facility where a sick or injured person is given care or treatment, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, dentist offices, long-term care facilities and other medical offices.
  5. Under Executive Order No. 107, all businesses and non-profits must accommodate their workforce for telework or work from home arrangements where practicable. To the extent businesses or non-profits have employees that need to be on site, the State is instructing such businesses to operate with the minimum number of on-site employees required to ensure that critical operations can continue. Examples of such employees include, cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, IT maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff.
  6. On March 24th, the New Jersey State Director of Emergency Management expanded Executive Order #  107 to include the following as essential retail businesses:
    1.  Mobile phone retail and repair shops.
    2. Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair.
    3. Livestock feed stores.
    4. Nurseries and garden centers.
    5. Farming equipment stores.

These businesses must adhere to the social distancing guidelines set forth in Executive Order # 107, which remains in full force and effect until further Order.   Today’s EO can be found here.

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.