On March 21, 2020, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 107, which imposes new restrictions on what New Jersey businesses may continue to operate as the state works to slow the spread of COVID-19. You can view the firm's prior coverage of the Order here. Under the new mandate, the brick-and-motor operations of all non-essential retail businesses must close so long as the Order remains in effect. We have compiled a list of which "essential" businesses may continue to operate and under what restrictions as a result of Executive Order 107 below.

In addition, Partner & Chair of Scarinci Hollenbeck's Labor & Employment practice group, Ramon E. Rivera, filmed a two-minute breakdown of Executive Order 107, the mandatory business closures as a result of it and more, which you can view below:

Essential Retail Businesses 

Essential retail businesses may remain open under Executive Order 107. However, the businesses must, wherever practicable, provide pickup services outside or adjacent to their stores for goods ordered in advance online or by phone. In guidance issued to businesses on the Buisness.NJ.gov website, the State has provided the following list of essential retail businesses:

  • 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 as a grocery store;
  • Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries;
  • Medical supply stores;
  • Gas stations;
  • Convenience stores;
  • Ancillary stores within healthcare facilities;
  • Hardware and home improvement stores;
  • Vehicle rental locations;
  • Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
  • Laundromats and dry-cleaning services;
  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years;
  • Pet stores;
  • Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics;
  • Printing and office supply shops;
  • Mail and delivery stores; and
  • Liquor stores.

Other Essential Businesses

Manufacturing, industrial, logistics, ports, heavy construction, shipping, food production, food delivery, and other commercial operations may continue to operate. However, the State advises that such businesses should also limit staff on-site to the minimal number needed for essential operations.

Medical facilities may continue to operate. Medical facilities include any facility where a sick or injured person is given care or treatment, such as doctor’s offices, hospitals, dentist offices, long-term care facilities, and other medical offices.

Employees reporting to work are allowed to travel to and from their place of business. Businesses are encouraged to give each employee a letter indicating that the employee works in an industry permitted to continue operations.

Telework and Social Distancing

The Executive Order directs all businesses or non-profits to accommodate their workforce for telework or work-from-home wherever practicable. To the extent that employees need to be on-site, businesses should operate with the minimum number of on-site employees needed for critical operations to continue. Examples of such employees include cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, IT maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff. 

Businesses Required to Close

In addition to non-essential retail businesses, all recreational and entertainment businesses must close to the public, including Casinos; Racetracks; Gyms and fitness centers; Movie theaters; Concert venues; Nightclubs; Indoor portions of retail shopping malls; and Places of public amusement. Businesses may continue any online operations.

Personal-care businesses that by their very nature result in noncompliance with social distancing must be closed to the public as long as the Order remains in effect. This includes Barbershops; Hair salons; Spas; Nail and eyelash salons; Tattoo parlors; Massage parlors; Tanning salons; and Public and private social clubs.

Bars and restaurants in New Jersey must be closed for on-premise service and may provide take-out and delivery service only. Drive-throughs, take-out, delivery offered by restaurants, and other delivery services can continue to operate.

Exemptions for Unique Retail Businesses  

According to the State guidance, unique retail businesses that believe they should be considered an "essential business," may petition to the State Director of Emergency Management, who is the Superintendent of State Police. “The Director has the discretion to make additions, amendments, clarifications, exceptions, and exclusions to these lists,” the guidance states. “If your business falls into a category already exempted, or you are not a retail business, you do not need an exemption and should not pursue this option.”

If you have questions, please contact us

The Scarinci Hollenbeck COVID-19 Crisis Management Group is closely monitoring the outbreak and its potential impact on our clients and the greater business community. Our dedicated attorneys are here to help navigate the numerous legal, regulatory, and commercial issues that may arise in the weeks and months ahead. If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact us at 201-896-4100.