The following article appeared in the March 19, 2020 print edition of The Link News. Since then some of the precautionary measures have been strengthened.
On Monday, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 104, implementing aggressive social distancing measures to mitigate further spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey.
Among the directives, Governor Murphy’s Executive Order indefinitely closes all public and private preschool, elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education, as well as closes all casinos, racetracks, gyms, movie theaters, and performing arts centers.
The order also mandates that all non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor license, are limited to offering only delivery and/or take out-services only, both during daytime hours and after 8 p.m.
“In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, we must take aggressive and direct social distancing action to curtail non-essential activities in the state,” said Governor Murphy. “Our paramount priority is to ‘flatten the curve’ of new cases, so we do not overwhelm our health care system and overload our health care professionals who are on the frontlines of the response. My Administration continues to work closely with our communities, stakeholders, union representatives, and business leaders to ensure that we all do our part to win the fight against the novel coronavirus and emerge stronger than ever.”
In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Murphy’s executive order directs:
“These are extraordinary times, and educators throughout the state have been taking extraordinary measures to create plans for high-quality home instruction, ensure food security for children who depend on free and reduced lunch, and provide services for all special needs students,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “We understand that the closure can be a disruption for many parents, but we know nothing is more important than the safety of the 1.4 million children we serve.”
“We understand this is an unprecedented situation, and we are asking institutions to be extra vigilant in protecting the health and safety of their students, faculty, staff and the entire campus community. As institutions move to remote instruction, we urge them to ensure there are appropriate accommodations in place for students with disabilities, those who may not have access to internet services, and students who call their campus community home,” said Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis, Secretary of Higher Education. “We continue collaborating with institutions to address concerns.”