The governor of New Jersey on Saturday issued a stay-at-home order for nearly all of the state’s 9 million residents in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
And yet there is still confusion as to the Executive Order’s scope.
What the executive order does:
Prohibits certain activities where people traditionally gather together such as: Parties, celebrations, or social events;
Closes certain “Brick-and-mortar” premises of all non-essential retail businesses.
Non-retail businesses appear to have latitude to continue operating if telework is not feasible. The Order recognizes that certain businesses and non-profit institutions will need to have employees at the work site in order to maintain essential business operations. There are examples given that are not exhaustive but illustrative, among them, “information technology maintenance workers.”
But all businesses, both retail and non-retail, must use “best efforts” to reduce staff.
All businesses, “must accommodate their workforce, wherever practicable” for telework and work-from-home, and use “best efforts” to reduce staff to the minimal necessary to ensure essential operations continue.
The Order does allow people to travel to and from their places of business and recommends that employers provide “a letter indicating that the employee works in an industry permitted to continue operations.”
Although the Order doesn’t directly reference federal government guidelines recently issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) with respect to critical infrastructure industries, it appears to be safe to conclude that those businesses that fall within those categories are permitted to continue operating if telework is not feasible.
State Director of Emergency Management:
If you are a retail business or operation and believe that by your “uniqueness ” you should be included as “essential,” you may submit it 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.