March 24, 2020
Governor Phil Murphy’s weekend Executive Order No. 107, directing all residents to stay at home until further notice provides for certain exceptions, such as obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work, or engaging in outdoor activities.
What this means for Berkeley Heights residents: You can order food from, or otherwise patronize local businesses that are considered "essential" (see below for list). All businesses that are still operating in Berkeley Heights have put into place extraordinary measures to protect their employees and customers. From setting up take-out tables outside (DiMaio’s), to leaving food in bags at outer doorways, to offering free delivery (La Rosa), taking away tables that encourage congregating (Dunkin’ Donuts), to paying for items with a table in between customer and employee (CVS), our "essential" businesses are doing their part. Please just remember to stay 6 feet away from other customers while supporting your local business.
YES, you can get out and walk, run, bike, or otherwise exercise outdoors - just please keep your distance from others. Parents of young children: please be vigilant that your children are not getting within 6 feet of other children outside of your household. Playing basketball with groups of people not in your household is NOT ALLOWED! Sweat droplets from a human can easily transmit to others with this activity. Everyone has to do their part to #FlattenTheCurve as our medical facilities are overwhelmed with patients.
Murphy’s Executive Order calls for the closure of all non-essential retail businesses to the public, except the following:
• 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 stores.
Please visit BerkeleyHeights.gov/ShopLocal for our Berkeley Heights online Restaurant & Service directory, which reflects the latest business hours and services for "essential" businesses.
March 21, 2020
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Saturday issued an executive order that includes a broad-ranging “stay at home” edict for Garden State residents.
Nearly all of the state’s 9 million residents should stay at home. "We must flatten the curve," Murphy said. "We can no longer maintain a sense of business as usual. ...Just as it’s no time to panic, it’s time to be smart, transparent and aggressive."
While New Jersey continues to work with New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware, all gatherings are canceled until further notice; that means no weddings, in-person services or even parties. "This decision is not an easy one and it pains me that important life moments will not be celebrated in the way we are accustomed to," Murphy said. Additionally, he urged those who have homes at the Jersey Shore to not go to them at this time. "The local infrastructure, especially the health care infrastructure and especially in off-season, is not prepared for the influx of part-time residents."
"Please stay at your primary residences," he added.
Murphy also directed all non-essential retail businesses to close their physical stores to the public, effective at 9 pm Saturday night. "Only businesses critical to our response may remain physically open to the public." Grocery stores, food banks, medical supply stores, gas stations, auto mechanics and repair services, convenience stores, banks and other financial institutions, hardware and home improvement stores, laundromats, print shops, pet stores, stores that sell supplies for children, mail and delivery shops and restaurants, liquor stores and bars providing take-out services. Work at construction sites, manufacturing, trucking and transportation can continue. All businesses must move employees to work from home when possible. Murphy’s declaration overrides any other county or local guidelines.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the PNC Arts Center is now ready to serve as a testing center.
"We know that flattening the curve will take the pressure off the health care system, we just don’t know exactly what the timing looks like," Murphy said. So the Department of Health is working with the Army Corp of Engineers to expand our health care facility bed capacity. While it’s "no cause for panic," it is a "sobering reminder" of what we are facing, the governor continued.
Murphy said that as of Saturday morning, his office learned of his 432 new positive test results for COVID-19, for total of 1,327 in the Garden State; there are five new COVID-related deaths, bringing the total number of such deaths at 16.
“The increase in the positive test results is completely expected,” he said, because of community spread and “our aggressive testing posture.” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo echoed this sentiment earlier Saturday with New York’s huge influx in positive tests, due to the spike in testing capabilities of late
New Jersey has been ahead of the curve with testing, “and the numbers will continue to grow significantly. There’s just no other way around it,” Murphy said, adding that it will be “many, many thousands” who will likely test positive.
Residents can still walk or run outside and otherwise stay healthy. But, and Murphy emphasized but," everyone is ordered to continue practicing social distancing - 6 feet or more between people. "No one is immune from Coronavirus."
He added: "while the economic pain is significant now, we will save many lives....and frankly, at the end of the day, the economic pain of what we are doing will be a lot less than if we had let this virus run amok."
Meanwhile, President Trump announced a series of initiatives the federal government is taking to help localities and individuals most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. They include:
- Congress is working to pass legislation to provide more relief to small businesses
- Student loan payments are deferred for 60 days without penalty
- The Department of Education will not enforce standardized testing for the current school year
- Alcohol manufacturing facilities in states such as Kentucky and West Virginia are repurposing their operations to make hand sanitizer
- Dramatically increased telehealth, so residents can contact doctors without leaving home “I think we’re going to change the way our country functions medically – and probably in other ways,” Trump said.
“Every American has a role to play in defending our nation from this invisible, horrible enemy.”
Other companies have changed course and are starting to produce masks and other products needed during this particular health emergency. Meanwhile, a “vaccine is moving along,” said Trump.
“Every American can do their part to slow the spread, and we encourage each of you to do that,” Added Vice President Mike Pence.