Gov. Murphy orders all nonessential businesses to close, issues ‘stay-at-home’ order in NJ

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the discovery of 442 new positive coronavirus test results at a press conference on Saturday, bringing the state’s total to 1,327. He also announced an additional 5 deaths from coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to 16. 

Murphy stressed that the increase is no reason for panic, but also “no reason for business as usual” as he announced an executive order asking New Jersey residents to stay at home and practice social distancing. 

Under the order, all gatherings are canceled until further notice, including weddings, parties and in-person services.

“It pains me that important life moments cannot be celebrated the way they are supposed to,” Murphy said. “Any place where people congregate is a place where coronavirus can be spread."

Murphy said that residents can still take a walk or go for run outside, but stressed the need for social distancing to halt the spread of coronavirus. 

Murphy also announced that all non-essential retail businesses are being asked to close to the public at 9 p.m. Saturday evening. 

Only grocery stores, food banks, pharmacies, medical marijuana dispensaries, gas stations, auto repair services, convenience stores, liquor stores banks, hardware and home improvement stores, laundromats, office supply shops, pet stores, mail and delivery shops, and restaurants and bars providing take out services. All businesses must also move their employees to work from home whenever possible. 

All essential state, county and local public health, safety and social services will remain accessible. 

He also urged residents who have homes on the Jersey Shore not to go to them at this time, saying the local infrastructure is unprepared for the influx of part-time residents.

Murphy also asked residents to make sure they are getting their information from reputable sources and government officials and asked residents not to feed into disinformation campaigns. He underlined the new website as a one-stop shop for answers to frequently asked questions, updates and a list of phone numbers and resources for residents. 

In Bergen County, New Jersey's first mass testing center for coronavirus reportedly was at capacity minutes after opening Saturday for its second day of operation.

Hundreds of cars were waiting in lines for the drive-thru testing at Bergen County Community College in Paramus, but less than 15 minutes after the site opened police began turning people away, reported.

“There are no more tests,” officers announced through megaphones. “Come back tomorrow.”

Officials said the site, which had kits to test 350 people on Saturday, shut down four hours early Friday after handling 650 tests — a quarter of the 2,500 testing kits allocated every week. Officials said they expected to test 200 people on the first day. It will reopen at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Those who seek testing must be state residents and will first be screened for symptoms of the virus such as high fever, cough, and shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms.

Bergen County had recorded more than 30 percent of the state’s confirmed cases as of Friday.


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