Pennacchio: Important COVID-19 Update

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Senator Joseph Pennacchio. File Photo

MORRIS COUNTY — People around the world are facing an unprecedented challenge due to the emergence of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), a highly infectious pathogen that can result in serious complications or even death to some people.

You can be assured that the State of New Jersey, the federal government, and our neighbors in the Tri-State Region are working together to keep all of our families safe.

We know this is an extremely difficult time, so we’re providing this update to let you know what we know and to share important information and links to helpful resources.

As always, our district office is available by phone and email to answer your questions and to help address any needs.

** Guidance from the State of New Jersey **

Governor Phil Murphy has declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency to address the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey. That declaration tasks certain officials in State government with managing the response, allows for faster action by State departments and agencies, and triggers consumer safeguards, including prohibiting price gouging by retailers.

Yesterday, the Governor signed Executive Order No. 104, which calls for aggressive social distancing measures to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus in the state.

Governor Murphy’s Executive Order:

  • All gatherings of persons in the State of New Jersey shall be limited to 50 persons or fewer, with limited exceptions;
  • All public, private, and parochial preschool programs, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, will be closed beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and remain closed as long as the Order remains in effect;
  • Institutions of higher education will cease all in-person instruction beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and shall cease such in-person instruction as long as the Order remains in effect;
  • The Commissioner of Education shall continue working with each public, private, and parochial school to ensure students are able to continue their education through appropriate home instruction
  • The Secretary of Agriculture and the Commissioner of Education shall take all necessary actions to ensure all students eligible for free or reduced meals will continue to receive the services necessary to meet nutritional needs during closures;
  • All casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters, and performing arts centers will be closed to the public beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. and remain closed as long as this Order remains in effect;
  • All other non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.; and
  • All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor or limited brewery license, are limited to offering delivery and/or take out-services only.

Information from the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH)

The NJDOH maintains a COVID-19 homepage to address the impact of the disease on New Jersey.

Additionally, the NJDOH maintains a New Jersey COVID-19 Dashboard that shows the current number and geographical distribution of cases in the state.

Information from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission

The NJMVC has extended the expiration dates of driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, and inspections stickers by two months.

Additionally, all NJMVC agencies and road testing facilities are closed for two weeks. Online services remain available at NJMVC.gov.

Resources for Workers/Employers Impacted by COVID-19

Many workers and employers will be impacted as a result of this unprecedented crisis and have questions about benefits that may be available due to sickness, quarantine, or disruptions to business operations or employment status.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has a dedicated COVID-19 page for workers and employers to answer questions and offer guidance.

They have also produced the following chart of COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits Available to show what benefits are available in a variety of situations:

** CDC Advice If You Are Sick or Showing Symptoms **

Detailed information on each of the follow items is available on this page on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

Stay home except to get medical care:

Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.

Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.

Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Additional steps you should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick:

    Separate yourself from other people in your home, this is known as home isolation.

  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily.
  • Monitor your symptoms.