New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Saturday directing all residents to “stay at home,” and “indefinitely” closing all nonessential retail businesses in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Murphy signed the executive order midday Saturday, “directing all residents to stay at home.” New Jersey is home to more than 8 million individuals.
“All gatherings are canceled. This means no weddings, no funerals or birthday parties,” Murphy said in a video posted to Twitter. “I don’t take this action lightly, but my goal is to make sure you can gather safely with family and friends later.”
Murphy also said that “all nonessential retail businesses must indefinitely close their physical stores to the public effective at 9:00pm” Saturday night.
Murphy said “grocery stores, food banks, pharmacies, medical supply stores, gas stations, banks, pet supply stores, restaurants and bars providing takeout and delivery” are among the limited exceptions that will remain open.
The move also orders all retail businesses to close and all businesses to “move to 100 percent work from home, wherever possible.”
Murphy said hospitals and medical facilities will remain open.
“Now, you can still take a walk outside, go buy groceries, or get takeout from the local restaurants you want to support, but if you do, continue to practice social distancing,” he said. “Otherwise, we need you to stay at home.”
He added: “This is no time for business as usual.”
“This is a time for all of us to come together, to flatten the curve, to slow, and eventually halt, the spread of coronavirus,” Murphy said.
Murphy also said Saturday that New Jersey has received "442 new positive COVID-19 test results" since Friday, bringing the state's current total to 1,327.
"We’ve learned of 5 additional COVID-19 related deaths, and we keep all of these families in our prayers," he tweeted.
New Jersey, as of Saturday, had a total of 11 COVID-19 related deaths in the state.
"My singular goal – not to mention my job – is to make sure we get through this emergency. We don’t take today’s measures lightly or easily," Murphy tweeted. "But at a time when new #COVID19 cases continue to be identified, we need to protect our residents. We need you to just stay home."
Murphy’s announcement comes after states like New York, California, and Illinois passed similar laws ordering citizens to stay at home, and closing nonessential businesses.
Late Friday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also issued a "Stay Safe, Stay at Home" order, to prohibit all in-person functions and close businesses across the state.
“At this critical time it is essential that everyone just stay home so we can contain the spread of this virus while keeping essential services running,” Lamont said Friday. “I know that this will be disruptive to many and will bring many daily activities to a halt, but the only way we will be able to mitigate the impacts of this public health emergency is to take measures like this."
He added: "I appreciate everyone’s cooperation, and I especially want to thank the essential workers who are needed to keep critical services running.”
COVID-19 was designated a pandemic by the World Health Organization last week.
As of Saturday midday, the U.S. had more than 22,043 confirmed cases of coronavirus in all 50 states, including Washington, D.C. The U.S., so far, has seen 278 COVID-19-related deaths.