Virus Outbreak New Jersey

A customer browses aisles Friday, March 20, 2020, while wearing a protective face mask at a Stop & Shop supermarket in Teaneck, N.J. Content Exchange

(The Center Square) – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statewide stay-at-home order Saturday as the state continues to battle the spread of COVID-19.

Murphy's order 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.

“From day one, we’ve made a commitment to be guided by the facts and take any action necessary to protect the health and safety of New Jersey’s nine million residents,” Murphy said in a news release. “We know the virus spreads through person-to person contact, and the best way to prevent further exposure is to limit our public interactions to only the most essential purposes. This is a time for us all to come together in one mission to ‘flatten the curve’ and slow – and eventually halt – the spread of coronavirus.”

California, Illinois, New York and Connecticut have similar orders in place.

Previously announced bans in New Jersey on recreational and entertainment businesses, requirements that all restaurants operate by delivery and takeout only, and the directive that all pre-K, elementary, and secondary schools close and all institutions of higher education cease in-person instruction are still in effect.

The stay-at-home order requires residents to remain in their place of residence unless they are obtaining goods or services from an essential retail business. Businesses deemed essentials include:

  • 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 health care facilities;
  • Hardware and home improvement stores;
  • Banks and other financial institutions;
  • Laundromats and dry-cleaning services;
  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under 5 years old;
  • 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.

All other businesses are directed to close, per Murphy's order.

The new orders go into effect at 9 p.m. Saturday.

As of Saturday afternoon, the New Jersey Department of Health reported 1,327 positive COVID-19 cases, including 16 deaths.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus. The disease has caused at least 250 deaths in the U.S., with more than 22,000 confirmed cases in the country. COVID-19 symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.

Most people who have it develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually the elderly and those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

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