The Order also extends previous Executive Orders issued in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Governor Murphy initially declared both a Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency due to COVID-19 on March 9, 2020.
Also on May 6, 2020, State Director of Emergency Management Patrick Callahan issued an Administrative Order clarifying the scope of restrictions on recreational and entertainment activities at essential businesses. Administrative Order 2020-12 states that restricted recreational activities under Executive Order No. 107 are also prohibited at the brick-and-mortar premises of essential retail businesses and schools. Signed March 21, 2020, Executive Order No. 107 shut down “non-essential” retail businesses including, but not limited to, casinos, nightclubs, movie theaters, and concert facilities. It also placed New Jersey residents under a stay-at-home order.
On April 27, 2020, Governor Murphy announced his tentative plan to start reopening the state. “The Road Back” plan is predicated on observing a 14-day trend demonstrating an “appreciable and sustained” drop in COVID-19 cases. The plan also includes expanding testing capacity, contact tracing, and a “methodical and strategic” economic restart.
On April 28, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 131, creating a “Restart and Recovery Commission.” The body is tasked with providing the Governor with guidance related to restarting the New Jersey economy.
Thus far, Governor Murphy has resisted calls to begin the reopening process. Although health officials have observed a reduction in new cases, the Governor reiterates he wants to see a 14-day trend before taking meaningful action to reopen the economy.
The Coronavirus Task Force at Klehr Harrison stands ready to assist you in your business and legal needs. We will continue to provide additional information and guidance as the COVID-19 situation develops.
Author Jonathan Krause is a partner in the Litigation Department at Klehr Harrison.