Governor Murphy Announces New COVID-19 Mitigation Measures
Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 194, which includes new COVID-19 mitigation measures. The measures include restrictions on seating and hours for restaurants, bars, clubs, and lounges, and prohibition of interstate indoor K-12 and youth sports.
“As cases of COVID-19 increase across the country and in our state, we must take all measures necessary to stop the spread,” said Governor Murphy. “In the interest of public health, we are requiring modifications in operations for businesses that serve food and drinks, and temporarily prohibiting interstate games and tournaments for indoor K-12 sports. We must come together as a state to once again beat back this deadly virus and to save lives.”
The measures include:
Restrictions on Hours for Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Lounges, and Casinos –
- Restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and other businesses that serve food or drinks will not be able to operate their indoor premises between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Outdoor dining can continue after 10:00 p.m., as can takeout and delivery services.
- Casinos will not be able to serve food or drinks between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., with the exception of room service delivered to guest rooms and takeout. Other casino operations would be unaffected.
Restrictions on Bar Seating, Increased Flexibility for Restaurants –
- Seating at the physical bar in the indoor areas of bars and restaurants will be prohibited during all operating hours.
- Due to the impact this may have on restaurants with small seating areas, restaurants will be allowed to have groups at tables indoors that are closer than six feet together, if they are separated by barriers that comply with guidance from the Department of Health.
- Restaurants will be allowed to set up plastic domes outdoors, limited to one group each, as additional outdoor dining space.
Restrictions on Interstate Indoor Sports Competitions –
All interstate games and tournaments involving indoor sports, up to and including the high school level, will be prohibited.
Collegiate and professional sports will be unaffected.
Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Permitting Municipalities and Counties to Impose Additional Restrictions on the Hours of Operation of Non-Essential Businesses after 8:00 p.m.
Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 195, which permits municipalities and counties to impose additional restrictions on the hours of operation of non-essential retail businesses, food and beverage establishments, and recreation and entertainment businesses after 8:00 p.m. The Order prohibits municipalities and counties from imposing restrictions that prevent dining establishments from arranging for the pickup or delivery of goods or otherwise limiting their scope of operations. The Order will take effect immediately.
“I’ve been clear that our approach to the second wave is to act surgically within hotspot areas,” said Governor Murphy. “Today’s action maintains overall consistency across the state while also empowering local elected officials with the discretion to address situations where restricting the operating hours of certain businesses in the evening will help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
: Governor Murphy Announces Additional $60 Million to Fulfill Pipeline of Small Business Grant Applications
Governor Phil Murphy announced a commitment of at least $60 million in additional Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to fulfillment of grants under Phase 3 of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. This funding is in addition to $70 million in federal funds already allocated for the current phase of the program and will enable the NJEDA to fulfill grants for the entire pipeline of eligible businesses that applied for Phase 3 funding prior to the application deadline. Without this supplemental funding, approximately 13,000 of the nearly 22,000 businesses that applied for Phase 3 grants would have been declined based on the program being oversubscribed.
“COVID-19 is above all else a severe health crisis, but its economic impact has been incredibly difficult for New Jersey’s small business community,” said Governor Murphy. “Small business owners have been diligent in their efforts to protect the health of their employees and customers, and they deserve our support. This new round of funding will help ensure that many more businesses emerge from the pandemic stronger than before.
The NJEDA’s suite of COVID-19 relief programs provides a variety of resources for businesses of all sizes, including grants for small businesses, zero-interest loans, support for private-sector lenders and CDFIs, and funding for entrepreneurs. Its largest COVID-19 relief program is the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, which provides grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. To ensure equitable distribution of funds, the NJEDA set aside one-third of the funding for this program to support qualified businesses located in one of the 715 Census tracts that were eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone. This targeting has helped to ensure minority- and women-owned businesses that were hardest hit by the pandemic’s economic impact were able to get the support they need.
To date, more than 22,000 small businesses have been approved for grants worth a total of more than $64.9 million through Phases 1 and 2 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. The average grant award has been roughly $3,000, which indicates the average approved business has three full-time equivalent employees.
Governor Murphy Announces Computer Science for All Grant
Building on the State’s commitment to establish high-quality computer science programs in New Jersey schools, Governor Phil Murphy announced an $800,000 grant to generate training hubs for educators involved with computer science education in K-12 schools.
The “Expanding Access to Computer Science: Professional Learning” grant will fund learning hubs in three New Jersey colleges and universities, which will work with K-12 school districts to help them implement effective learning strategies in computer science. The learning hubs established in each of the three institutions of higher education will provide professional development to teachers, administrators, and others who are instrumental in computer science education in the K-12 school setting. The programs will focus on schools with students who have traditionally had limited access to high-quality computer science instruction.
“In order for New Jersey to be a leader in the innovation economy, we must invest in our educators who do so much to shape our children’s futures,” said Governor Murphy. “Through this grant opportunity, our educators will develop the skills they need to provide top-quality computer science education to prepare our students for jobs of the future.”
“When schools have the resources to provide high-quality technology and computer science programs, students benefit in many ways,” said Acting Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan, Ed.D. “These programs improve the computational thinking and problem-solving skills that are essential for success in all subjects and in all 21st-Century jobs. In short, this helps teachers give students the edge they need for success in school – and after graduation.”
Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Clarifying Eligibility of Employees of Education Institutions to Receive Unemployment Benefits
Governor Phil Murphy and Congressman Donald Norcross announced $14 million in additional Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to develop workforce development programs. The programs are designed to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 replenish their workforce and help jobless residents learn new skills that lead to successful reemployment.
“As this pandemic continues to threaten our public health, we must work to ensure that a stronger, fairer, and more resilient New Jersey emerges on the other side of COVID-19,” said Governor Murphy. “With today’s announcement, we are investing in opportunities for job training in our workforce that will reignite and grow our economy.”
“The Coronavirus pandemic has upended our economy, but we will recover by working together,” said Congressman Norcross. “Using federal CARES Act funding, New Jersey is helping workers and businesses get back on their feet. These workforce programs will help employers provide skill-building opportunities and on the job training, connecting New Jerseyans with the services they need to get the job they deserve.”
“The need is everywhere,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “We all know of businesses that are struggling or have closed, and workers who have been laid off or have had their hours drastically reduced as a result of the pandemic. We are grateful for the opportunity to use these funds to turn lives around and help our state recover economically.”