New Jersey State Policy Roundup: COVID-19 and Changes to NJ Law

Price Meese, P.C. stands ready to assist our clients in weathering the COVID-19 crisis. In the coming days, weeks and months new legislation will be enacted and executive orders issued to help businesses and individuals affected by this emergency. To help you navigate this raft of policy responses, the firm has put together an overview of recent New Jersey legislative and executive actions taken in response to COVID-19.

Required Business Closures and Limitations on Movement

Executive Order 107 (“EO 107”). Governor Murphy issued EO 107 on March 21, 2020 and is essentially a “shelter in place” order that sets new stricter statewide restrictions in relation to the COVID-19 crisis. The order supersedes EO 104 which itself was issued on March 16, 2020. EO 107 remains effective until further notice.
• The order requires that all non-essential brick-and-mortar retail businesses close.
• The order provides that the following brick-and-mortar retail businesses are considered “essential” and may continue to be open to the public: 1) grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to the public; 2) pharmacies and alternative treatment centers that dispense medical marijuana; 3) medical supply stores; 4) retail functions of gas stations; 5) convenience stores; 6) ancillary stores within healthcare facilities; 7) hardware and home improvement stores; 8) retail functions of laundromats and dry-cleaning services; 9) stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years old; 10) pet stores; 11) liquor stores; 12) maintenance areas of car dealerships; 13) retail functions of printing and office shops; and 14) retail functions of mail and delivery stores.
• The order requires that New Jersey residents remain at home unless they are: 1) obtaining goods from an essential retail business; 2) obtaining takeout food or beverages from restaurants; food establishments; etc.; 3) seeking medical attention, essential social services, or law enforcement or emergency assistance; 4) visiting family, close personal friends and romantic partners; 5) reporting to, or performing a job; 6) walking running, operating a wheelchair, or engaging in other outdoor activities with immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners while following best social distancing practices; 7) leaving home for an educational, religious, or political reason; 8) leaving because of a reasonable fear for his or her health or safety; or 9) leaving at the direction of law enforcement or other government agency.
• The order bans all parties, celebrations or other social events.
• The order requires that all brick-and-mortar premises of all non-essential retail business close to the public.
• Like EO 104, this order states that restaurants, food establishments and bars may operate during normal business hours but are limited to offering take out and alcohol in its original containers. The on premises consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
• Like EO 104, this order provides that all business and non-profits in the state, whether closed or open to the public, must accommodate their workforce wherever practicable for telework or work from home arrangements.
• Like EO 104, this order provides that a number of recreational and entertainment businesses (such as racetracks and casinos); places of public amusement (such as water parks); and personal care facilities (such as massage establishments, barbers, salons, etc.) are to remain closed.
• Like EO 104, this order provides that all public and parochial schools are to be closed and that institutions of higher education shall cease to continue offering in-person instruction.
Executive Order 108 (“EO 108”). Governor Murphy issued EO 108 on March 21, 2020 and is meant to clarify that all county and municipal restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 crisis that in any way will or might conflict with EO 107, or which might interfere or impede its achievements, are invalidated.

Relief to Businesses and Business Operations

P.L. 2020, c. 8. This legislation gives the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”) the ability to offer grants for the planning, designing, acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, improving, equipping, and furnishing of a project, including, but not limited to, grants for working capital and meeting payroll requirements for small and medium sized businesses, upon such terms and conditions as the NJEDA deems reasonable, during periods of emergency declared by the Governor.
P.L. 2020, c. 15. This legislation permits corporations to hold shareholders’ meeting in part or solely by means of remote communications during a state of emergency.

Foreclosure and Eviction

P.L. 2020, c. 1. This legislation provides that, whenever a public health emergency or a state of emergency is declared by the Governor and is in effect, the Governor may issue an executive order to declare that a lessee, tenant, homeowner, or any other person shall not be removed from a residential property as a result of an eviction or foreclosure proceeding. The executive order would remain in effect for no longer than two months following the end of the public health emergency or state of emergency.
This legislation was put into effect through the Governor’s issuance of EO 106 on March 19, 2020. The Order also clarifies that while eviction and foreclosure proceeding may be initiated or continued during the time the Order is in effect, enforcement of all judgements for possession, warrants of removal, and writs of possession shall be stayed unless “the court determined on its own motion or motion of the parties that enforcement is necessary in the interest of justice.” EO 106 also states that all schedules of rent due are not impacted by the order and remain due.


P.L. 2020, c. 7. This legislation requires that health insurance carriers, as well as the State and School Employees’ Health Benefits Programs and State Medicaid programs provide coverage for testing services related to COVID-19 and the delivery of health care services through telemedicine or telehealth services.

P.L. 2020, c.4. This legislation permits professional and occupational licensing board to expedite licensure of certain individuals during a state of emergency or public health emergency. The purpose of this legislation is to expedite the use of out-of-state medical personnel in the state of New Jersey. More specifically, the law directs the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety (the “Division”) to expedite the professional and occupational license process for out-of-state individuals when the Governor has declared a state of emergency where the individuals have a corresponding license, certificate of registration or certificate of good standing from another jurisdiction. The law also empowers the director of the Division, and applicable state boards, with the ability to waive certain requirements normally required in the licensure process.

Government Operations

P.L. 2020, c. 11. This legislation amends the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”) by permitting public bodies to conduct their meetings electronically during a state of emergency or public health emergency. It also amends OPMA by providing that, during such emergencies, electronic notice of said meetings can be used in lieu of what otherwise would be required as “adequate notice.”
P.L. 2020, c.10. This legislation amends the state’s Open Public Records Act (“OPRA) by relaxing the deadlines under which a records custodian must respond to an OPRA request during a state of emergency or public health emergency.

Legislation Awaiting the Governor’s Consideration

A-3864. This bill would permit notaries public to perform certain notarial acts remotely under certain circumstances when certain communications technology is used.
A-3841. This bill would automatically extend the time to file a gross income tax or corporation business tax return or payment due date if the federal government extends the filing or payment due date for federal returns. It should be noted that the Internal Revenue Service has extended the individual tax filing deadline and payment deadline until July 15. Thus, if enacted, this legislation would change New Jersey tax deadlines immediately.
A-3846. This bill would appropriate $20,000,000.00 to a new “temporary lost wage unemployment program.” The bill directs the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (the “Department”) to use $10,000,000.00 of the fund to assist employers who pay wages to workers who are ordered under quarantine by a licensed healthcare practitioner as a result of COVID-19. The bill also directs the Department to use the other half of the fund, i.e. $10,000,000.00, to fully compensate individuals for lost wages suffered as a result of an absence of work due to a need to care for family members, a personal illness, or because of a school or childcare facility closure.

Ed Purcell is an associate with the firm who practices mainly in the area of land use. To contact the author with questions please call the office (201) 391-3737 or via email at