TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – As expected, on Saturday Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order essentially ordering all New Jersey residents to “stay at home,” and most businesses to close Saturday at 9 p.m. amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are at war if that’s not readily apparent already,” said Murphy. “We’ve gone to a different place. We are war with a virus.”
In addition, Murphy is ordering all public gatherings – no weddings, in-person religious services and parties – to immediately be canceled.
“All gatherings are canceled until further notice,” said Murphy. “Any place where people congregate is a place coronavirus can spread. We need you to just stay at home. We expect people to stay home. We want you off the roads. That’s now 24 hours. We don’t want you out there – period.”
The move comes as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Jersey rises to a total of 1,327. As of Saturday, there have been five new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 16 deaths.
The non-essential closures, a step New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered on Friday, will apply to all business starting at 9 p.m. Saturday except for a list of exempted businesses:
- Grocery stores, farmer’s 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 healthcare facilities
- Hardware and home improvement stores
- Banks and other financial institutions
- Laundromats and dry-cleaning services
- Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years
- Pet stores
- Liquor stores
- Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics
- Printing and office supply shops
- Mail and delivery store
“Life in New Jersey does not have to come to a complete standstill,” said Murphy, encouraging people to go outside and exercise while keeping a social distance from others.
BREAKING: I just signed an Executive Order directing nearly all residents to STAY AT HOME.
ALL gatherings are canceled.
ALL non-essential retail businesses must indefinitely close their physical stores to the public effective 9:00 p.m. tonight.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 21, 2020
He also urged people with summer homes along the Jersey Shore to not relocate there as those communities lack the infrastructure and medical services to keep up with the COVID-19 epidemic.
“We are not remotely where we need to be in protective equipment,” said Murphy. “We continue to turn over every single stone in our own hospital system and what we can purchase.”
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In terms of confirmed cases known across New Jersey by county…
- 363 cases in Bergen County
- 116 Middlesex County
- 107 Essex County
- 97 Hudson County
- 92 Monmouth County
- 81 Union County
- 67 Passaic County
- 64 Morris County
- 62 Ocean County
- 34 Somerset County
- 30 Mercer County
- 21 Burlington County
- 15 Camden County
- 14 Hunterdon County
- 6 Gloucester County
- 6 Sussex County
- 5 Warren County
- 4 Atlantic County
- 2 Cape May County
- 1 Cumberland County
New Jersey had already closed all public schools, shopping malls, casinos, movie theaters, fitness centers and other types of businesses that drew large groups or direct personal contacts such as hair salons, nail salons and martial arts studios.
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text 692692 | Westchester Testing Call 1(888)-364-3065 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Case Tracker | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211
Murphy is hoping his latest move will put a big dent in the growing curve.
“We know this will only add more hurt at a time when you are already immeasurably hurting, but we must take this step to protect our residents,” he said.
That news is sitting well with residents like Andre Dowell. He’s been walking around with a mask to protect himself.
“If that’s what’s going to help the community get better, then I guess they gotta do what they gotta do. They gotta take whatever precautionary action that they need,” he told CBS2’s Cory James.
But not everyone feels that way. Lydia King says she is worried about the impact this will have on families.
“A lot of people, you know, we are inside. Not going to work, don’t know how to feed. Don’t know how to feed, feed the family, feed the children,” she said.
But inside is where Newark’s mayor, Ras Baraka, wants his residents to stay unless they need to leave for an emergency.
This measure is specifically targeting three neighborhoods in a city that has had over 30 cases and two deaths:
• Area 1: Bloomfield Avenue to Verona Avenue, and Lake Street to Route 21.
• Area 2: Springfield Avenue to West Market Street, and Martin Luther King Boulevard to South 12th Street.
• Area 3: Avon Avenue to Clinton Avenue, and Irvine Turner Boulevard to South 12th Street.
Jose Claudio applauds the new initiatives and hopes they’ll reduce the number of cases across the state.
“I’m pretty sure some of the things that they’re trying are gonna work. Some of the things that they’re trying might not work. But only time will tell,” he said.