NJ Spotlight has arranged COVID-19 information by topic to make it easier to find what you need. Click on a link to access information on any topic.
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As of May 18:
Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal is continuing a series of virtual town hall meetings to allow for community engagement with law enforcement. The fourth of these takes place Tuesday, May 19, at 12 p.m., focusing on fraud prevention, education and enforcement efforts during COVID-19. Grewal will be joined by Craig Carpenito, United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey; Christopher J. Gramiccioni, Monmouth County Prosecutor; Tracy M. Thompson, Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. The program aims to educate the public on COVID-19-related fraud, price gouging and scams. Participants will learn how to safeguard themselves from scams and how to help combat these activities by properly reporting them. Anyone wishing to participate in Tuesday’s event can register here.
As of May 16:
Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Friday to provide relief for students enrolled in various state higher education financial aid programs. The legislation directs the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to exclude the Spring 2020 semester from students’ total lifetime eligibility limits for all state financial aid programs if they are unable to finish the semester due to the ongoing pandemic. Additionally, students who withdrew or reduced credits during this time will not have to repay the state financial aid amounts that under previous law they would have had to return.
The eligibility criteria for the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship (NJ STARS) program and the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship II (NJ STARS II) program will also temporarily allow students to remain eligible even if their Spring 2020 grade point average fell below the previous eligibility minimums.
As of May 14:
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order allowing beaches, boardwalks and lake areas to remain open for the summer season and opening additional park areas. Beginning Friday, May 22, municipal and lake officials will have to impose certain conditions to assure social distancing of patrons and impose whatever additional conditions they deem necessary; festivals, concerts, movies and fireworks displays will be prohibited. Restaurants may stay open for takeout, but amusement parks and arcades must remain closed. Swimming and picnicking will be allowed in state parks. Beginning Saturday, May 16, the parks will reopen their restrooms with increased sanitation measures.
As of May 13:
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved an additional $300,000 in funding for various food services in Atlantic City in response to the ongoing pandemic. It covers additional food assistance for casino workers and Atlantic City residents. The first food distribution will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 14, at Bader Field and will be drive-up only.
The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance has directed insurance companies in the state to give premium reductions to consumers and businesses during the COVID-19 emergency. The directive, issued by DOBI in a bulletin on Tuesday, applies to property and casualty insurance providers; it covers premiums that are paid during the emergency.
Insurance companies that offer personal and commercial lines of insurance, including personal and commercial auto insurance, are directed to provide premium refunds or similar forms of relief to policyholders, reflecting the reduced risk of loss due to COVID-19 and the state’s measures to protect against it.
Insurers must make an initial premium refund or other adjustment to adversely-impacted policyholders, and for each month that the health emergency is in effect. They must provide a premium credit, reduction, return of premium, dividend or other appropriate premium adjustment as quickly as practicable, but no later than June 15, 2020. The directive applies to:
- Private passenger automobile insurance;
- Commercial automobile insurance;
- Workers’ compensation insurance;
- Commercial multiple-peril insurance;
- Commercial liability insurance;
- Medical malpractice insurance;
- Any other line of coverage where the risks have become substantially overstated as a result of the pandemic.
For more information, go to the department’s COVID-19 information page.
As of May 12:
Many New Jersey municipal courts began remote proceedings on Monday, May 11, holding court sessions by video or phone, under an order issued by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. The order also allows the public to respond to fines and infractions through the municipal court online payment system.
As of May 9:
New Jerseyans can apply for food and nutrition assistance through two state programs online, without the usual in-person interview process. Low-income women who are pregnant, delivered a child within six months or are breastfeeding and children under age 5 are eligible for WIC benefits. Eligible individuals can apply here. Other individuals and families who need food assistance can now apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits online at https://www.njhelps.org/
As of May 6:
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order extending the current public health emergency for another 30 days. All orders contingent on the state of emergency, including the closure of all nonessential businesses, will also remain in effect.
As of May 5:
The state attorney general’s office is asking anyone with evidence of misconduct in New Jersey nursing homes to report it online. Those reporting information may remain anonymous.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that New Jersey public schools will not reopen and will continue remote instruction through the end of the school year. Private schools must remain closed at least through June 30.
As of May 1:
The latest executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy will allow individuals to get a marriage license and get married via videoconferencing, as well as suspending the 72-hour waiting period between the issuance of a license and a marriage ceremony. It also allows school officials to certify working papers for minors via videoconferencing. The order takes effect Monday, May 4.
As of April 29:
Murphy signed an executive order reopening state parks as of sunrise Saturday, May 2. Playgrounds, restrooms and other facilities in the state parks will remain closed. Parking will be limited to half of maximum capacity and no picnics or organized sports will be allowed. All park-goers will have to practice proper social distancing and Murphy is suggesting, but not requiring, that individuals wear a mask. Golf courses will be allowed to open at that time, as well. Counties will be able to decide whether to open their parks.
Murphy signed an executive order allowing county and municipal clerks to accept electronically-submitted petitions for local ballot questions.
Murphy signed an executive order, allowing municipalities to extend the grace period for property-tax payments due on May 1 to June 1.
He issued clarifications to the list of essential businesses that can remain open in the state, specifying that pet-focused businesses such as pet day care and pet grooming can remain open. Murphy said car dealerships can allow customers to test-drive vehicles if they have ordered and/or purchased a vehicle online or by phone, provided the dealership adopts social-distancing policies, the individual is given access to the vehicle alone and the dealership sanitizes the vehicle after such a test drive if the customer does not purchase the vehicle.
Murphy released a framework Monday for reopening the state, but the stay-at-home order remains in effect until further notice.
On Monday, Murphy signed an executive order extending Retired Officer Carry Permits by 90 days until after the ongoing public health emergency ends. The order also creates a process for individuals seeking to obtain or renew a Carry Permit to demonstrate the ability to safely handle and use a handgun as required by existing law.
As of April 24:
The governor signed an executive order allowing tenants to direct that all or a portion of a security deposit paid on a rental be used to offset monthly rent payments or back rent. The state also created a web page to answer questions about the eviction moratorium currently in place.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan issued an administrative order allowing the homeless, victims of domestic violence and others to continue to live in hotels, motels, guest houses and private residences during the current state of emergency.
As of April 23:
The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is leading efforts to provide the public with guidance regarding fraudulent information and activity stemming from the pandemic, such as details about scams that people might be susceptible to and cybersecurity alerts regarding potential threats to individuals and businesses.
All Motor Vehicle Commission agencies, road testing, and inspections facilities will remain closed until at least May 11. (They were initially closed from March 16 to March 30, with extensions to April 27.) MVC essential operations are continuing, including measures to support commercial trucking to keep the supply chain moving. And the commission is expanding online services: Most renewals of driver licenses, nondriver IDs, and registrations — including, for the first time, some commercial registrations — can be processed online at NJMVC.gov. Customers can change their address, pay fees, and other services online as well. Drivers with suspended licenses can seek to get their licenses restored, if eligible, by email instead of by phone or in person. Drivers who believe they are eligible for restoration should email email@example.com. Expiration dates for driver licenses (including CDLs), registrations, inspection stickers, and temporary tags had already been extended by two months on March 13.
New Jersey has reached an agreement that will provide some relief to student loan borrowers with commercially-owned Federal Family Education Program Loans or privately held student loans who are struggling to make their payments due to the pandemic. Borrowers should immediately contact their student loan servicer to identify their options, which include a minimum of 90 days of forbearance, waived late fees and no negative credit reporting. To determine the types of federal loans they have and who their servicers are, borrowers can visit the U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at nslds.ed.gov or call the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 or 1-800-730-8913 (TDD). Borrowers with private student loans can check the contact information on their monthly billing statements. Residents who have questions or are experiencing trouble with a student loan servicer may contact the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-446-7467 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST Monday-Friday), or go to the department’s website.
Marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers are now allowed to open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed. Chartered watercraft services or rentals will not be allowed and restaurants at these sites must be limited to takeout or delivery.
The Goals of Care Coalition is hosting a daily free webinar Monday through Friday for 30 minutes on decision-making for high-risk individuals and those in long-term care. Get more information, including an end-of-life care form and register for the webinar on the group’s website.
Members of health clubs and gyms that have been closed for the last month may now be able to receive a partial refund or extension of membership, according to state law. The refunds and credits do not apply to such single-focus facilities, including aerobics centers, yoga studios or tennis clubs. More information is available from the state Division of Consumer Affairs.
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency voted to suspend rent increases at all eligible properties within the agency’s portfolio, which includes 36,000 rental units across the state. Rent increases cannot occur until after the end of the current state of emergency. Then, agency properties seeking rent increases of up to 1.4% may do so only after 30-day notice is provided to NJHMFA and residents. Any higher rent increase will have to be reviewed and approved by NJHMFA staff.
Murphy signed an executive order that took effect April 14 at 8 p.m. that imposed additional restrictions on public transit and restaurants to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. NJ Transit and other bus carriers must limit occupancy by passengers to 50% of the stated maximum capacity on all trains, buses and light rail lines. In addition, all workers and passengers must wear a face covering unless there is a medical reason for not doing so. All restaurants, cafeterias and bars that remain open for takeout service must limit occupancy to 10% of the stated maximum capacity, workers must wear a face covering and gloves while on the premises and customers must also wear a face covering while inside any establishment, although not if they are staying in a car and receiving a takeout order.
Murphy signed an executive order prohibiting cable and telecommunications providers from terminating internet and voice service due to nonpayment until 30 days after the current public-health emergency has ended. The order also mandates that all service downgrades, service reductions or late fees due to nonpayment are prohibited unless they are imposed in accordance with a policy approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Any internet or voice service that was disconnected after March 16 due to nonpayment must be reconnected.
Murphy issued a new executive order on April 10 directing the state Department of Corrections to begin the process of temporarily releasing certain nonviolent prison inmates — the elderly, those with medical conditions that make them especially susceptible to COVID-19 and those near parole eligibility — in an effort to lessen the spread of the virus within state correctional facilities.
The New Jersey Department of Children and Families is suggesting parents and guardians take steps to complete a power-of-attorney form to provide temporary guardianship for their children should parents become incapacitated with the disease. A sample form is online.
New Jersey has extended the grace periods during which certain insurance companies will not be able to cancel policies due to nonpayment of premiums. This executive order requires insurers give a minimum 60-day grace period for health and dental policies and 90-day period for life, auto and home or rental insurance. Insurers are required to waive certain late fees, interest or other charges associated with a delay in premium payments. Policyholders will be able to pay unpaid premiums over the remainder of the policy term or up to a year. Insurers will be required to pay claims incurred during the grace period.
Murphy issued new rules for retail stores and supermarkets, and for their customers. Beginning Friday, April 10 at 8 p.m., stores must limit the number of customers to 50% of capacity and both customers and employees must wear masks or other face coverings. There are a number of exceptions and caveats to the rules.
The June primary election has been postponed until July 7.
Murphy signed an executive order extending for another 30 days the public health emergency he first declared on March 9. This extends all the actions he has taken, including the stay-at-home order, and that departments have implemented.
Murphy closed all state and county parks as of Tuesday, April 7 at 8 p.m. Municipal parks may open at the discretion of local officials.
All public school testing requirements for the 2019-2020 year are now waived. Any high school seniors who were going to have to submit a portfolio appeal to graduate will not have to do so.
The state has extended certain deadlines related to school board elections, which were moved from April to May 12. These deadlines include the certification of the tax levy to the county board of taxation and the date by which a district must tell nontenured teachers whether they will be employed next year. It also extends the terms of school board members whose seats were to have expired in April until the May election.
Murphy signed an executive order authorizing the New Jersey State Director of Emergency Management to commandeer personal services and/or personal property. This includes medical supplies and equipment from private companies and institutions to help meet medical needs in hospitals, health care facilities and emergency response agencies.
Murphy announced plans to extend the deadline for filing New Jersey income tax returns and paying any amount owed from April 15 to July 15.
The Internal Revenue Service extended the federal income tax filing deadline, as well as the deadline for paying any taxes owed, to July 15.
The New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority has extended the filing deadline for college students seeking financial aid using the FAFSA or New Jersey Alternative Application from April 15 until June 1. HESAA’s telephone call center is not currently manned but the authority can be reached via email at Client_Services@hesaa.org.
Murphy declared a state of emergency in New Jersey on March 9. He ordered all residents except those in essential jobs (medical, public safety, supermarkets) to stay at home unless they are travelling to get groceries or gas or visit a medical facility or one of the small number of essential businesses that remain open.
Schools, libraries and nonessential businesses are closed until further notice. Schools are providing remote learning for students at all levels. Some banks have closed their lobbies but will meet with customers by appointment.
No gatherings of any kind, including weddings, parties and other social events, are permitted.
All sports and entertainment facilities are closed. These include amusement parks, bowling alleys and golf courses.
Virtually all courts in the state are closed for in-person proceedings except for extremely emergent matters. Check the courts’ website for more information.
In-person visits to those in state prisons and Juvenile Justice Commission facilities have been suspended. The incarcerated are being given expanded access to phone and video communications with family members.
Residents with questions or concerns about COVID-19 and resources available to them can call 2-1-1. Residents can also text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive text information; and for live text assistance, residents can text their zip code to 898-211. The state has set up a website with information related to the outbreak.
Utilities and water companies have agreed not to shut off gas, electricity or water to residents during the statewide emergency. Any ratepayer having a problem with a utility should first contact the utility. If the problem is not resolved, a ratepayer can contact the NJ Board of Public Utilities’ customer assistance team using this form between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Many banks have agreed to provide a grace period of up to 90 days on mortgage payments for those financially impacted due to the virus. These financial institutions will not report anyone receiving a grace period to credit reporting agencies. Banks have agreed to waive fees, including those for late payments, as a result of a grace period. They also will not initiate foreclosure proceedings for at least 60 days.
Renters and homeowners cannot be removed from their residence due to evictions or foreclosures while the executive order is in effect.
The NJMental Health Cares hotline at 866-202-HELP (4357), is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for those with mental health concerns.
Hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers are required to waive patient fees for testing and related diagnostic services due to the virus for those who lack health insurance.
Health insurance and Medicaid must cover testing for COVID-19 and telemedicine during the current period.
The state is covering COVID-19 testing, visits for testing, and testing-related services at no cost for those in NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid and waiving the costs for those in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and covering 90-day supplies of prescriptions and early refills for CHIP and Medicaid recipients.
Senior citizens covered by PAAD and Senior Gold plans can refill their prescriptions early and get a 90-day supply of maintenance medications.
It is illegal for stores to accept returns of most grocery items to prevent the spread of the virus. Exceptions can be made for items returned due to a manufacturing defect.
Access to the interior of the State Capitol complex is limited to members of government, government employees and contractors; credentialed members of the press; and invited participants with business in the complex. Tours, field trips and large gatherings are canceled. The public is encouraged to submit written testimony electronically for committees.
All elective surgeries have been cancelled as of March 27 for the foreseeable future.
The state is automatically offering a 60-day extension on cash assistance to those whose cases come up for renewal in March or April, extending all emergency assistance through April 30 and exempting the work requirements for WorkFirst New Jersey and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
New Jerseyans receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food assistance benefits will be getting a second additional payment loaded directly onto their EBT cards in April. Everyone received a first extra payment in March. Anyone whose cases were to expire in March, April or May will have additional time to recertify and will not lose benefits in the meantime. Anyone who needs food assistance can visit NJHelps.
You can report misconduct arising from the pandemic, including the unlawful hoarding of medical supplies, price gouging, charity scams, procurement fraud, insurance fraud, phishing schemes and false and misleading investment opportunities by calling (866) 720-5721 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Complainants may remain anonymous.
The state has postponed special elections in Old Bridge, West Amwell and Atlantic City and April school board elections until May 12. All elections that are scheduled for May 12 will be conducted through vote-by-mail ballots.
Supervising nurses may now conduct required evaluations with elderly and disabled residents receiving care from home health aides by telephone or video chat instead of in person to minimize the risk of the spread of the virus.
Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) that dispense medical marijuana can now serve patients curbside in their vehicles. Consultations for new patients can now be done over the phone.
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As of May 13:
Gov. Phil Murphy announced measures to increase insurance coverage for expanded access to COVID-19 testing and related services. These are meant to provide all New Jerseyans, regardless of coverage or lack of insurance, with free testing for the virus.
As of May 8:
New Jersey is opening up its two statewide COVID-19 testing sites at Bergen Community College and PNC Bank Arts Center to asymptomatic residents. The sites will continue to test those with symptoms, but also will test asymptomatic health care workers and first responders, those who work in congregate living settings and residents who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The expanded testing will begin on Sunday, May 10, at Bergen Community College at 8 a.m. and Monday, May 11, at PNC Bank Arts Center at 8 a.m. Asymptomatic New Jerseyans should attempt to consult a health care provider before being tested.
As of May 3:
Testing for NJ Transit workers is set to begin soon at Agile Urgent Care and Accurate Diagnostics Lab in East Rutherford, with employees able to start to register for testing on Sunday, May 3.
As of April 29:
Two new testing centers for COVID-19 will open in Camden to replace the current testing location at Cooper’s Poynt Park, which will close at 3 p.m. on May 1. The two new sites will be at the Camden Motor Vehicles Commission parking lot, which opens Wednesday, April 29 and will operate every day from noon to 4 p.m., and Dudley Grange Park, which opens Tuesday, May 5 and will operate every day from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Patients can access either site by car or on foot. Each site will test by appointment any Camden County resident who has a referral from a medical provider. Appointments can be made by calling 856-968-7100.
This is the schedule for the state’s COVID-19 testing sites this week: Bergen Community College is scheduled to open Tuesday and Thursday at 8 a.m. for symptomatic New Jersey residents from any county. The testing site at PNC Bank Arts Center is scheduled to open Monday and Wednesday for all residents.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey’s state-run residential facilities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities will implement COVID-19 saliva-based testing developed by Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.
Rite Aid pharmacies have begun free testing at some locations. The Waldwick (Bergen County) store began testing on April 18. The Barrington (Camden County) store will start offering tests on Monday, April 20 and the Toms River (Ocean County) store will begin testing on Wednesday, April 22. Tests are by appointment only. Visit Rite Aid’s online site for more information.
This is the schedule for the state’s COVID-19 testing sites for the coming week: Bergen Community College is scheduled to open Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 8 a.m. for symptomatic New Jersey residents from any county. The testing site at PNC Bank Arts Center is scheduled to be open Monday and Wednesday for all residents and Saturday for health care workers and first responders only.
This is the latest information on testing sites for COVID-19 in New Jersey. All sites are only testing people with symptoms of a respiratory illness.
The state is operating two sites for all residents. They are at Bergen Community College in Paramus and the PNC Bank Arts Center off the Garden State Parkway in Holmdel and are operating on an alternating schedule of one day open and one day closed. When a site is operating, it opens at 8 a.m. and remains open until 500 individuals are tested. The best way to check which site is open is on the state’s COVID-19 resource page.
The Union County testing site at Kean University is open to health care workers and first responders from throughout the state (see below).
Several counties have opened sites to their residents only. This is the most current information available, but it is best to check with a site to make sure it is open and whether you need an appointment:
- Atlantic County is opening a drive-thru testing site on Tuesday, April 14 and Thursday, April 16 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. behind the Hamilton Mall, 4406 E. Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing. Tests are by appointment only for symptomatic county residents with a doctor’s script and proof of residency. Check the county website for more information.
- Bergen County — New Bridge Medical Center, 230 East Ridgewood Ave., Paramus. This site is open only to hospital workers and first responders from Bergen County and symptomatic county residents. Those wishing to be tested must take a screening survey and receive an appointment.
- Burlington County — Emergency Services Training Center, 53 Academy Drive, Westampton. Testing by appointment only for county residents and health care workers and first responders in the county. Call 609-726-7097 to make an appointment.
- Camden County — Cooper’s Poynt Park, 801 Delaware Ave., Camden. Testing by appointment only. The site provides walk-up and drive-up screenings for county residents with a medical referral. Opens at noon.
- Cumberland County — Vineland Campus of Rowan College of South Jersey. Testing is by appointment only for Cumberland residents and CompleteCare patients from any county. More information is available from the CompleteCareNJ website.
- Essex County — Weequahic Park, Newark. Site is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for 150 tests per day. Individuals must arrive by car. Appointments are mandatory. Visit EssexCOVID.org first for online screening to receive an appointment or call 973-324-9950 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Gloucester County has opened a testing site at Rowan College of South Jersey, 1400 Tanyard Rd., Sewell. Testing is by appointment only. To find out when the site is open and for prescreening, call 856-218-4142.
- Hudson County:
- Hudson Regional Hospital, 55 Meadowlands Parkway, Secaucus. Open by appointment only to county residents and first responders. Call 201-388-1097 to begin the screening process for an appointment.
- Jersey City has walk-up testing at 465 Marin Blvd. Opens at 9 a.m. People must show proof of Jersey City residency and have an appointment. Call 201-547-5535 to make an appointment.
- Jersey City has drive-thru testing at 575 Route 440. Opens at 9:30 a.m. Must show proof of Jersey City residency and make an appointment in advance by calling 201-547-5535.
- Hunterdon and Somerset counties have a joint site at Raritan Valley Community College for symptomatic residents of both counties age 5 and older. Tests will be given by appointment only with a doctor’s prescription. Go online at somerset-hunterdon.adlabscovidtest.com for more information.
- Mercer County — Quakerbridge Mall, 3320 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville. Testing by appointment only. Doctors must fax a prescription to the test site at 609-630-4031 to make an appointment.
- Middlesex County — NJ MVC Kilmer Inspection Center, 33 Kilmer Rd., Edison. Opens at 10 a.m. Must show valid proof of county residency and make an appointment online or by phone at 732-745-3100. Must have either a doctor’s prescription or exhibit symptoms.
- Morris County — County College of Morris, Dover Chester Road, Randolph, parking lot 1. Opens at 9 a.m. Drive-thru testing only. Appointments can be made online. Identification and a medical prescription are required in order to be tested.
- Ocean County — Ocean County College, 1 College Drive, Toms River. Must have a doctor’s prescription and register online or by phone at 800-342-9738. Must provide proof of Ocean County residency.
- Passaic County — William Paterson University, 300 Pompton Road, Wayne. Drive-thru testing only for county residents. Must have a doctor’s prescription. Opens at 9 a.m.
- Union County — Kean University, 1000 Morris Ave., Union. Drive-thru testing of both county residents and first responders from anywhere in New Jersey. Testing is by appointment only registered through a doctor. Call 908-373-5105 to schedule an appointment.
- Warren County has a drive-thru testing site at Warren County Technical School, 1500 Route 57, Washington. Testing is by appointment only. Schedule online or by calling 908-878-3188 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays.
The state PBA has opened several sites for first responders and health care workers by appointment only. The sites are at American Dream in the Meadowlands and in Deptford and Somerset. Go online at njpba.adlabscovidtest.com for more information.
The state has received 15 rapid testing machines that should speed testing for the virus. The portable machines are to be dispersed to health care systems throughout the state and can test for COVID-19 and process results in as little as 13 minutes.
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Information for workers
As of May 8:
The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development has extended the closure of its offices to the public by two weeks. All One-Stop Career Centers and the department’s headquarters are now scheduled to reopen Tuesday, May 26. In the meantime, workers’ compensation hearings continue virtually and the DOL is offering services online at nj.gov/labor.
As of May 5:
Recent graduates of nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy and respiratory care therapy programs who have not yet been able to take and pass their licensing exams will be granted temporary emergency licenses. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs began accepting applications for the emergency graduate licensure program Tuesday.
As of May 1:
State workers’ compensation judges are set to begin hearing cases via telephonic or video conferencing on Monday, May 4.
New Jersey will temporarily give a pay increase to direct support workers who care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in groups homes and supervised apartments. The three-month pay increase of $3 per hour takes effect May 1.
As of April 29:
The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development has started notifying the self-employed, independent contractors and others who are not eligible for unemployment insurance of their eligibility for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The department plans to begin sending out payments on Friday. More information is available on the department’s website.
Low- and moderate-income workers in northern New Jersey who have experienced a loss of income due to the pandemic can apply to the ALICE Recovery Fund. Set up several weeks ago, the fund is assisting residents of Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties, as well as in suburban Essex, who meet income criteria. The maximum award is $500. The fund is still accepting donations, as well, here.
The state Division of Consumer Affairs has begun accepting applications from physicians licensed in another country who want to apply for a temporary emergency license to practice in New Jersey during the current public health emergency. Those who practiced medicine for at least five years, have not been out of practice for more than five years and have no disciplinary or criminal histories are eligible. The application is available online.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation (S-2374) expanding protections of the Family Leave Act to employees forced to take time off to care for a family member during the COVID-19 outbreak with up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave in a 24-month period without losing their jobs. Employees will be eligible for leave to care for a family member, including if that is a child whose school or day care closed due to a public health emergency, as a result of an epidemic of a communicable disease or efforts to prevent spread of such a disease. The protections are retroactive to March 25.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has issued new guides to help the self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers learn about and apply for assistance through federal programs. The guides, for those who are ineligible to apply for unemployment benefits, are on the department’s website.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced New Jersey’s July 2020 bar exam has been rescheduled to September for law school graduates whose test was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The exam is now scheduled for Sept. 9-10, but those dates remain tentative, subject to public-health conditions later this year. Candidates should go to the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners’ website for further information regarding their applications and the upcoming exam.
The New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order that will allow 2020 law school graduates to temporarily practice law, despite the postponement of the bar exam. Graduates may practice under the supervision of attorneys in good standing who have been licensed for at least three years. Graduates must apply to take the first exam scheduled after graduation, or qualify for a single extension, and earn certification from the Supreme Court Committee on Character before they can practice law.
Murphy signed an executive order that allows certain retirees to temporarily return to state and local government employment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order states that retirees can return to work in any capacity, including full-time, part-time or as special law enforcement officers, without impacting their retirement pensions.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced a series of measures to help law enforcement replace officers that are sick or quarantined. Agencies can turn to Special Law Enforcement Officers (SLEOs) for support and rehire previously retired officers as SLEO IIs on an hourly basis. Law enforcement agencies can also rehire officers in non-law enforcement positions and recruits can work in administrative roles.
Administration officials with the New Jersey Departments of Children and Families and Human Services launched the Emergency Child Care Assistance Program to help pay child care costs for essential workers. Essential employees who wish to utilize emergency care services must complete an online registration form.
The state Division of Consumer Affairs will temporarily reactivate the licenses of recently retired health care professionals and grant temporary New Jersey licenses to doctors licensed in foreign countries. Advance practice nurses and physician assistants are being given temporary permission to perform care outside their ordinary scope of practice.
All employees except those working in essential fields (medical, public safety, supermarkets) are to work from home. Exceptions are made for those who cannot work from home and work for a business that remains open. These include law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders, 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.
It is illegal for an employer in New Jersey to terminate or refuse to reinstate any worker who requests or takes time off from work, based on the recommendation of a medical professional because he has or is likely to get an infectious disease like COVID-19 during this state of emergency.
The state has an online portal to help connect residents with job openings available in critical industries responding to COVID-19. The jobs portal is available here.
All One-Stop Career Centers, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Trenton headquarters, disability determination services and workers’ compensation courts are closed. Workers’ compensation hearings were set to resume April 6, but using virtual means. Web-based services can be accessed through nj.gov/labor/. The department has received a record number of unemployment claims, so people are encouraged to apply for unemployment benefits during off-peak hours — between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Officials say that claims are being backdated so no one will lose benefits if they are unable to file immediately.
Unemployed New Jerseyans whose claims have been approved by the state department will receive an additional $600 per week through July 31. Payments are expected to arrive next week for those who are already collecting unemployment. Residents who recently filed for unemployment insurance will receive payments later due to the high volume of applications.
The federal coronavirus relief package provides free coronavirus testing and paid emergency leave for certain American workers employed by businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
The New Jersey Civil Service Commission has suspended civil service examinations and training offered by its Center for Learning and Improving Performance (CLIP) until further notice.
The New Jersey Bureau of Securities has taken emergency action to help financial services professionals who typically work in New York to work temporarily with existing customers from their homes or temporary offices in New Jersey by exempting them from licensing and registration requirements through April 30.
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As of May 17:
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Friday allowing charter fishing services and for-hire vessel activities, as well as watercraft rental businesses, to open with required social-distancing measures from Sunday, May 17 at 6 a.m. To reopen, they are required to adopt a range of safety measures that include having no more than 10 people on a vessel at any one time; using electronic or telephone reservation and payment systems; applying social-distancing measures on the vessels as well as in waiting and boarding areas; prohibiting sharing of fishing equipment, bait, and gear; maintaining infection control and hygiene practices. Crew and passengers must wear masks on board, and food and beverage services are not allowed.
Also on Friday, the governor signed legislation authorizing the sale and delivery of alcoholic beverages by certain license and permit holders for takeout and delivery. It allows the holder of plenary retail consumption licenses, hotel or motel licenses, seasonal retail consumption licenses, or concessionaire permits (generally issued to bars and restaurants), to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages in original containers or in closed and sealed containers, and mixed cocktails in closed and sealed containers for consumption off the licensed premises during the state of emergency. The measure, which also allows craft distillery licensees to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premises, would expire six months following the date on which the state of emergency has ended; or on the date when the coronavirus-related occupancy or customer seating restrictions no longer apply to the licensed premises, whichever occurs later.
As of May 14:
Gov. Murphy signed an executive order Wednesday, permitting the resumption of nonessential construction, curbside pickup at nonessential retail businesses and car gatherings for the purpose of drive-through and drive-in events. The construction and nonessential retail provisions will take effect at 6 a.m. on Monday, May 18, while the provision for car gatherings will take effect immediately. Examples of car gatherings include but are not limited to drive-in movies, religious services or drive-through farms or safaris. Retail businesses operating in shopping malls are permitted to operate by curbside pickup, but staff must bring the goods to customers at the exterior of the mall.
As of April 28:
The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce launched an Emergency Business Relief Fund to help save businesses and families that have experienced coronavirus-related crises. Donations can be made here.
As of April 24:
A new $10 million pot of loans for small businesses in the state is now available through a partnership between Goldman Sachs and Pursuit. The loans provide a new opportunity for businesses and nonprofits unable to submit an application so far through the U.S. Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program. Information on applying is available here.
As of April 22:
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority launched its New Jersey Entrepreneur Support Program to help entrepreneurs with limited funding navigate COVID-19-related cash-flow constraints by giving them access to capital from investors that are already investing in their companies. Participating investors are not required to be New Jersey residents and can include, but are not limited to, individuals, trusts and corporations.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is accepting donations from individuals and companies to support the authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, which provides grants to small businesses in New Jersey that have been impacted by the pandemic. Individuals and companies interested in making a donation should contact email@example.com.
Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order outlining a host of new rules for stores, construction sites and warehouses:
- Stores, including supermarkets, must limit the number of customers to 50% of capacity. Both customers and employees must wear masks or other face coverings. There are also new rules for the placement of barriers between customers and cashiers and baggers and the sanitization of facilities. Stores must also provide hand sanitizing materials to staff and customers, among other rules.
- All non-essential construction is halted until further notice. Construction projects considered essential that can continue include hospitals, schools, transportation, utilities and affordable housing. There are other exceptions.
- Warehouses and manufacturing businesses must stagger work shifts and lunch breaks to limit the number of workers entering and leaving or eating at the same time, provide workers with face masks and gloves and require employees to wear these and limit the sharing of tools, among other rules.
The state has increased the permissible weight limit on certain roads for trucks carrying COVID-19 relief supplies. The increased limit (92,000 pounds) will be allowed for trucks that get a special permit to travel the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway southbound from Exit 105, the Atlantic City Expressway and the interstates with some limited exceptions for I-78 bridges and an I-80 ramp.
The U.S. Small Business Administration opened applications for loans through the new Paycheck Protections Program. Primarily for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, the loans mature in two years and have an interest rate of 1%, but they will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest and utilities, with at least 75% of the amount spent to keep paying workers for eight weeks. Businesses can search for lenders and download an application from the SBA website.
Jersey City is unveiling a program of local grants to support small businesses that are facing financial hardships due to Covid-19. The city will match any state grants awarded to Jersey City applicants of the NJ Economic Development Authority Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced plans to extend the deadline for filing New Jersey corporate-tax returns and paying any amount owed from April 15 to July 15.
Murphy has closed a number of businesses. These include retail malls, dine-in bars and restaurants (except for takeout or delivery services), sports and entertainment facilities, child care facilities (unless they are serving the children of health care and other essential workers), gyms, such personal care businesses as hair salons.
These are the businesses allowed to open, sometimes with restricted operations: Grocery stores, farmers markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied foods; pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries; medical supply stores; gas stations; convenience stores; ancillary stores within health care facilities; hardware and home improvement stores; banks and other financial institutions; laundromats and dry-cleaning services; stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years; pet stores; liquor stores; auto mechanics; printing and office supply shops; mail and delivery stores.
Auto dealers can sell cars remotely and either deliver a vehicle to a customer or allow for curbside pickup at the dealership.
Real estate agents may continue to show houses for sale, but only by appointment; open houses are not allowed.
Restaurants, breweries and brew pubs are open for takeout or delivery to homes.
Mobile phone retail and repair shops, livestock feed stores, nurseries and garden centers and farming equipment stores are all considered essential and may remain open during normal business hours if they adhere to six-foot social distancing guidelines.
Bicycle shops may remain open, but only to provide service and repairs.
Gun stores can open by appointment and with limited hours.
Day care centers can remain open that are serving the children of essential workers, including health care providers and first responders.
Employers in critical industries can submit information about job openings with urgent hiring needs by filling out a hiring intake form on the state’s COVID-19 jobs portal.
It is illegal for stores to accept returns of most grocery items to prevent the spread of the virus. Exceptions can be made for items returned due to a manufacturing defect.
The NJ Economic Development Authority (EDA) board has approved several new programs to provide grants and loans to support businesses of all sizes facing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These include a grant program for small businesses, a zero-interest loan program for mid-size companies and funding for entrepreneurs. More information and an eligibility wizard is available here. Philanthropic partners interested in donating to support the NJEDA’s small-business grant program should reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small Business Administration loans are available for north Jersey business owners, allowing them to apply for resources to help pay employees and other expenses.
The EDA is partnering with four organizations to offer support services to businesses seeking federal financial assistance through Small Business Administration (SBA) programs. The organizations will help owners file applications to receive working capital loans to help survive during the COVID-19 emergency. The organizations are: African American Chamber of Commerce; New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce; Rising Tide Capital and the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.
UCEDC announced its Crisis Relief Loan Program to offer low-interest, quick-response loans to help impacted businesses. Small businesses can borrow up to $15,000 at 2% for up to five years with no collateral. The application is available online or call 908-527-1166.
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How to help
As of April 10:
Jersey City has created the Jersey City COVID-19 Community Relief Program, with a goal of raising $3 million to help individuals, small businesses and nonprofits in need. Visit this website for more information or to donate.
The United Way of Delaware along with several partner groups has set up the Salem County Does More: COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund to meet the demand for food, shelter and other assistance in Salem County due to the pandemic. For more information about donating, visit this website, email email@example.com or text “salemnow” to 41444.
Murphy and Superintendent of State Police Col. Patrick Callahan announced an Administrative Order permitting blood donation drives to continue in order to meet the medical needs of New Jersey residents. Under the order, blood drives must incorporate social distancing and are exempt from the terms and conditions regarding gatherings.
Healthy people are being urged to donate blood, with the American Red Cross saying the coronavirus outbreak threaten the nation’s supply. Those who have visited mainland China, South Korea, Iran and Italy within 28 days, who have had a COVID-19 infection, or who have been exposed to someone suspected of having a COVID-19 infection should not donate now. Vitalant, which operates blood centers in New Jersey and nationwide, asks people to make an appointment by calling 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825) or going online to vitalant.org.
The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund is a nonprofit that will provide resources to vulnerable communities. Donations can be made online and information about applications for relief will be posted on the organization’s website.
United Way of Northern New Jersey has created the ALICE Recovery Fund, a crisis recovery fund to address emerging needs due to COVID-19’s impact on the five-county region the organization serves. The fund will aid households in poverty and those who live paycheck to paycheck. Donations can be made online.
Anyone with personal protective equipment to donate can do so via the state COVID-19 website.
New Jersey is seeking health professionals to volunteer to help out during the state of emergency. The state has set up an online portal where volunteers can register.