What is (and isn’t) a state of emergency in New Jersey?
With the first major snowstorm of 2016 looking likely to hit this weekend, there's a pretty good chance Gov. Chris Christie will declare a state of emergency.
And there's a pretty good chance if he does, a lot of people will be confused about what that means.
A state of emergency is a serious matter but doesn't — in and of itself — mean drivers have to stay off the roads. According to the state Office of Emergency Management schools are not automatically closed, nor are state offices. Travel may be restricted to certain areas but a complete travel ban is rarely implemented .
A state of emergency will speed up assistance from state agencies to where it is needed and "authorizes the NJ director of Emergency Management to makes resources available for rescue, evacuation, shelter and essential commodities activate and coordinate the preparation, response and recovery efforts for the storm with all county and municipal emergency operations and governmental agencies."
Businesses are not required to close and do not have to pay employees if they close.
"Businesses must address hours of operation and compensation on an individual basis," according to the OEM.