NJ takes first steps towards re-opening

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Jersey City and Ocean City (Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay) 

By Bradford Mason

A sign of things getting back to some form of normality comes to New Jersey as Gov. Phil Murphy signs executive orders permitting the resumption of non-essential construction, curbside pickup at non-essential retail businesses, and car gatherings for the purpose of drive-through and drive-in events. 

Murphy also announced that the Jersey Shore will be open in time for Memorial Day but with strict social distancing guidelines.

The construction and non-essential retail provisions will take effect at 6 a.m. on Monday, May 18, while car gatherings provision will take effect immediately.

“I’ve been clear that data will determine dates, and what we are seeing gives us confidence that we can begin the careful restart of our economy,” said Murphy. “Over the past eight weeks, New Jerseyans have taken our stay-at-home order seriously and have created the conditions that make this next phase possible. The steps we are taking allow for important standards of social distancing to continue with the return of safe, responsible business operations.” 

Non-essential retail businesses will be permitted to serve customers through curbside pickup beginning at 6 a.m. on Monday, May 18. Businesses must continue to have their in-store operations closed to customers.  Businesses who choose to offer curbside pickup must abide by the requirements including handling business in advance by phone or email and designating employees to bring goods outside and placing them in a customer's vehicles.

Car gatherings will not violate the Governor’s ban on gatherings under the executive order.  Such car gatherings include but are not limited to drive-in movies, religious services, or drive-through farms or safaris. 

Beaches, boardwalks, lakes, and lakeshores will remain open with social distancing measures in place with Murphy's executive order taking effect on Friday, May 22.

“I’m thrilled to announce that the Jersey Shore will be open to families across our state and region in a way that is consistent with protecting the public health of every beachgoer,” said Murphy. “This action will ensure that New Jerseyans can enjoy our state’s greatest natural resource ahead of the summer months.”

Under Governor Murphy’s Executive Order, the following shall remain closed on private and public beaches, boardwalks, lakes, and lakeshores: water fountains, picnic areas, playgrounds, pavilions, indoor recreational facilities, and other buildings and facilities, such as visitor centers. There is an exception allowing bathrooms, showering areas, and changing areas to stay open. 

Discrimination against non-residents, low-income people, and other protected classes is being strictly prohibited. People are recommended to wear a face-covering while in public settings at the beaches, lakes and lakeshores when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Restaurants and bars located on the beaches, boardwalks, lakes and lakeshores are still limited to delivery and take-out services only. Amusements parks and arcades, and other places of public amusement located on the beaches, boardwalks, lakes, and lakeshores remain closed.  Any outdoor seating, such as tables or benches, must be removed, taped off, or otherwise blocked.

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