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Murphy signed an executive order that will keep the declaration in place through at least June 6.
“I want to make it absolutely clear that this action does not mean that we are seeing anything in the data which would pause our path forward and it should not be interpreted by anyone to mean we are going to be tightening any of the restrictions currently in place,” Murphy said at a daily briefing.
The order extends all executive orders issued under the governor’s authority through the Emergency Health Powers Act, Murphy’s office said. It also extends all actions taken by any executive branch departments in response to the virus. It expires after 30 days unless renewed.
New Jersey is the second-worst-hit state by the number of coronavirus cases and deaths behind New York. The virus has sickened at least 131,890 people and killed 8,244 as of Wednesday.
He stressed that even though the data is showing positive signs, citizens must continue to take active measures against the virus, specifically with social distancing.
“If this extension signals one thing, it is this – we can’t give up one bit on the one thing that we know is working in this fight: social distancing,” Murphy wrote on Twitter. “Remember, in the absence of a vaccine, or even proven therapeutics for #COVID19, our only cure is social distancing.”
He first declared both a state of emergency and public health emergency on March 9 as COVID-19 infections began erupting throughout the state. He then extended the order April 7.
New Jersey has been in a state of lockdown for seven weeks. Murphy began easing restrictions over the weekend and allowed parks and golf courses to reopen, with limitations, while businesses remained closed.
Murphy has provided no definitive date for when the lockdown will end. He has said that more progress must be made before further restrictions can be lifted.