New Jersey became the latest state to tell residents to stay at home in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"This morning I signed an executive order directing nearly all of our nine million residents to quite simply stay at home. We must flatten the curve and ensure residents are practicing social distancing," Governor Phil Murphy stated at a press conference Saturday. "As I have said before, we can no longer maintain a sense of business as usual during this emergency...Just as it is no time to panic, it is time to be smart, proactive, transparent, and aggressive."
"Under this executive order, all gatherings are canceled until further notice. This means no weddings, in-person services, and no parties...Any place people congregate is a place where coronavirus can be spread."
Residents are allowed leave their home under some circumstances as "the 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," according to the New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub website.
Murphy also told those who have homes in the Jersey Shore to stay in their primary residences, citing that the healthcare infrastructure in the area is not built to handle an influx of infected people.
"Further, I am directing all non-essential retail businesses to indefinitely close their physical stores to the public effective at 9 p.m. tonight," Murphy said. "Only businesses critical to our response may remain physically open to the public." Food markets, pharmacies, and medical supply stores may remain open, as well as other retail locations.The full list of businesses allowed to remain open can be found on the New Jersey government website.
The state currently has 1,327 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths, according to the New Jersey COVID-19 Dashboard. Murphy's announcement came days after the mayor of Hoboken issued similar recommendations to the city, which will now be enforced due to the state government's involvement.
"We don't take these measures lightly, nor do we take them easily," Murphy said of how his new executive order will effect small businesses. "We know this will only add more hurt at a time when you are already immeasurably hurting. But we must take this step to protect our residents."
New Jersey joins such states as California, Illinois and New York far to implement some kind of stay-at-home order. As of this publication, the United States has 24,148 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus across the country and 285 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The White House released its guidelines entitled "15 Days to Slow the Spread" Monday to give Americans practical ways they can help to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Included in the guidelines is the recommendation to "listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities."