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NJ Essential Businesses Update

March 26, 2020 Posted in Firm News

Governor Murphy announced on March 24, 2020, through an administrative order, which permits additional retail businesses to operate during their normal business hours during the COVID-19 outbreak. In accordance with Executive Order 107, the following businesses are now considered essential:

  • Mobile phone retail and repair shops;
  • Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair;
  • Livestock feed stores;
  • Nurseries and garden centers; and
  • Farming equipment stores.

Businesses that remain operational must comply with social distancing. The order also clarified that municipalities shall have the discretion to impose additional restrictions to local beaches and boardwalks in response to COVID-19.

The new administrative order simply provides an expansion of businesses that can remain open during this trying time. However, this does not impact prior Executive Order 106, in which Governor Murphy enacted a moratorium on removals of individuals due to evictions or foreclosures. Provision number 2 of Executive Order 106 states, “While eviction and foreclosure proceedings may be initiated or continued during the time this Order is in effect, enforcement of all judgments for possession, warrants of removal, and writs of possession shall be stayed while this Order is in effect, unless the court determines on its own motion or motion of the parties that enforcement is necessary in the interest of justice. This Order does not affect any schedule of rent that is due.”

This means that rent that is due and owing must still be paid in accordance with the tenant’s lease agreement, but evictions cannot be carried out for the time being. This order will remain in effect no later than two months following the end of the public heath emergency or state of emergency established by Executive Order 103.

The full list, as of March 25, 2020, of essential retail businesses that may continue operations during normal business hours are:

  • 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 and veterinary service locations;
  • Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics;
  • Printing and office supply shops;
  • Mail and delivery stores;
  • Liquor stores;
  • Mobile phone retail and repair shops (added 3/24/20);
  • Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair (added 3/24/20);
  • Livestock feed stores (added 3/24/20);
  • Nurseries and garden centers (added 3/24/20); and
  • Farming equipment stores (added 3/24/20).

The following essential businesses that cannot work from home are permitted to continue performing services, but must reduce on-site staff to minimal numbers and practice social distancing:

  • Law Enforcement, Fire Fighters, and First Responders
  • Cashiers
  • Construction, utility, and repair workers
  • Warehouse workers
  • Lab researchers and information technology maintenance workers
  • Janitorial and custodial staff
  • Necessary administrative staff

We will continue to provide updates to keep our clients fully informed of new orders and announcements as released from the State.


The information in this Client Alert is provided solely for information purposes. It should not be construed as legal advice on any specific matter and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based upon particular circumstances.  Each legal matter is unique, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


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