Gov. Phil Murphy speaks recently during a daily briefing on the state’s response to COVID-19 — Photo by Edwin J. Torres/Governor’s Office
By Joshua Burd
New Jersey will allow non-essential construction to resume starting Monday morning, Gov. Phil Murphy said, while also permitting non-essential retail stores to reopen for curbside pickup.
Murphy announced both steps on Wednesday as the state looks to reopen segments of the economy while protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both changes, which will come under a new executive order, are effective starting 6 a.m. Monday.
With the health crisis escalating, Murphy on April 8 ordered the halting of all non-essential construction in New Jersey. Many projects statewide were allowed to continue under a series of exemptions, but the executive order tightened restrictions on project sites after the administration had initially allowed all construction to continue.
Today, I will sign an Executive Order, effective 6:00 AM Monday, May 18, 2020:
☑️Allow the restart of non-essential construction
☑️Allow non-essential retail stores to reopen for curbside pickup only
☑️Permit drive-through and drive-in events under social distancing guidelines pic.twitter.com/M6IWXpnLl4
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 13, 2020
During his daily briefing on the pandemic, Murphy said Wednesday that work may resume at non-essential construction sites with what he described as “sensible safeguards” in place, including:
- Preventing overcrowding
- Requiring face coverings
- Prohibiting nonessential visitors
- Staggering work hours and breaks
- Ensuring proper sanitation
“All safety protocols must be clearly posted at the job site so workers will know that their health and safety is priority No. 1,” Murphy said Thursday.
Non-essential retailers, which were ordered closed in late March, will be allowed to open Monday for curbside pickup only.