NJ nixes non-essential construction work, imposes new limits on supermarkets
Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday imposed further restrictions on commerce as the coronavirus pandemic continues to claim more lives and take a toll on the healthcare system.
Executive orders signed by the governor on Wednesday:
- Halts all non-essential construction work starting Friday night. A list of what constitutes "essential" would be made public Wednesday afternoon.
- Orders retail stores that have remained opened — such as supermarkets — to halve the number of customers allowed in their stores at any given time.
- Requires all workers as well as customers at stores to wear masks or face coverings. Workers also have to wear gloves. Children under 2 and people who cannot cover their face for medical reasons are exempt.
- Requires stores to provide special shopping hours for high-risk people, erect physical barriers between customers and cashiers and regularly sanitize areas used by workers.
- Moves the June primaries to July 7.
- Increases weight limits on roadways from 40 tons to 46 tons for trucks carrying pandemic relief supplies.
The retail store executive order codifies what an increasing number of supermarkets and stores had already been doing on their own.
Murphy said that municipalities and counties are not allowed to impose further restrictions on retailers.
The construction ban excludes work at hospitals, schools, transportation, utilities and affordable housing and other individual housing sites where workers can maintain distance between each other.
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Murphy on Wednesday repeated that there was no need for consumers to hoard and that the regulations were meant to "protect both customers and essential workers."
"We are not running out of food or other items. Period," he said. "Our supply chain is feeling the stress but we are holding strong."
New Jersey officials on Wednesday recorded another 3,088 new cases for a total of 47,437. Another 275 deaths were added to a death toll of 1,504.
Murphy on Tuesday closed all state and county parks in an effort to keep residents from congregating in public and spreading the virus. That order is being challenged by Republican leaders from suburban and rural parts of the state.
Murphy on Tuesday also signed a new executive order extending the 30-day public health emergency by another 30 days.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.