TRENTON — Gov. Phil Murphy is giving some homeowners another financial break during the pandemic crisis.

On Tuesday, he signed an executive order allowing local governments to extend the property tax payment grace period from 10 days to a full month. That means people will have until June 1 to pay their May 1 property tax bills free of interest and late fees if their municipality allows it.

The grace period will be useful for homeowners who do not pay their taxes through their mortgage escrows, Murphy said.

Not all municipalities will be offering the extension, however. Raritan Township's tax collector said that extending the grace period would result in the municipality having to borrow in order to meet its legal obligations to fund the school district, which would "result in even higher costs to the taxpayer." The township's property taxes remain due May 1 with a grace period until May 11.

Last month, Murphy announced a 90-day mortgage forbearance that mortgage holders can apply for through their lenders.

Murphy has also paused all evictions and foreclosure removals and last week signed an executive order allowing renters in financial difficultly to ask that their security deposits be used toward their rent payments.

The relief efforts follow record unemployment claim numbers resulting from the shut-down orders in place since mid March.

On Tuesday, the state counted another 402 deaths from COVID-19 for a total of 6,442 over two months.

The rate of hospitalizations appears to have flattened over the past week, with a three-day average of 488 new hospitalizations and 419 discharged COVID-19 patients. But Murphy said Monday that the shutdown would continue until further notice.

On Tuesday, Murphy announced a panel comprising industry and labor executives as well as former federal officials — including former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson — who will be developing plans to re-open the state’s economy. Murphy has said that it will take widespread rapid testing to ensure a safe return to normal life.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to clarify that municipalities are not required to extend the grace period by more than 10 days.

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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email