Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in New Jersey, US, extend orders requiring residents to stay at home, nonessential businesses to close, until at least May 8.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • Trenton, New Jersey
  • Bridgewater, New Jersey
  • East Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Morristown, New Jersey
  • Parsippany, New Jersey
  • Paterson, New Jersey
  • Plainfield, New Jersey
  • West Windsor, New Jersey
  • Teterboro

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 12:37 GMT and is scheduled to expire 08 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): New Jersey (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 8
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy extended emergency orders requiring residents to stay at home and nonessential businesses to close until at least May 8, as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Residents are only allowed to leave their homes to perform essential tasks, such as obtain basic goods, attend to a medical issue, care for a person in need, perform outdoor recreational activities while maintaining proper distance from other persons, or go to work at an essential business or service. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations may continue to provide in-person services, while companies in agriculture, manufacturing, security, transport, and media services can remain open. Other businesses may operate only with their employees working from home. All gatherings are banned.

Authorities also ordered the closure, until at least May 8, of all state and county parks, to avoid residents crowding in public spaces. Municipalities in New Jersey still have the authority to keep municipal parks open if they choose to. US authorities have asked residents of New Jersey, as well as those in nearby New York and Connecticut, to refrain from nonessential travel to other areas in the country.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the order on short notice, depending on the evolution of disease activity in the coming days and weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the New Jersey authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization COVID-19 Knowledge Base: https://www.who.int

Government of New Jersey - COVID-19 Information: https://covid19.nj.gov/

Government of New Jersey - Stay at Home Order: https://nj.gov/

Government of New Jersey - Public Health Emergency Extension: https://nj.gov/