Governor Phil Murphy

This Week In New Jersey: August 7, 2020


Governor Murphy Declares State of Emergency Ahead Of Tropical Storm Isaias

Governor Phil Murphy declared a State of Emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Isaias. Executive Order No. 174 declared a State of Emergency across all 21 counties in New Jersey, allowing resources to be deployed throughout the state during the duration of the storm. Additionally, all state offices were closed on August 4th.

Following the storm, Governor Murphy assessed damage in Jackson, Ocean County.


Governor Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Oliver Announce Emergency Grant Funding Program to Assist Small Landlords and Tenants

As part of the Administration’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver announced the creation of the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program. The program, administered by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, will provide emergency grant funding to small property owners for COVID-19 related decreases in rent revenue for a four-month period between April and July 2020.

Funded through the CARES Act, grant amounts will be generated based on the total amount of missed rental payments and the number of COVID-impacted rental units that serve low- and moderate-income tenants. Landlords who receive assistance will be required to pass along benefits to their tenants by forgiving back rent and late fees accumulated by COVID-19 impacted units.

“To emerge stronger from this crisis, we need to make direct investments in our hardest hit neighborhoods and communities,” said Governor Murphy. “Ensuring that responsible landlords can continue to maintain their properties and provide quality housing to our tenants is essential to our recovery. Through this program, we can also provide direct support to COVID-impacted renters by forgiving back-rent.”

“We know that many of New Jersey’s landlords are not companies or corporations. Rather, they are families and individuals. And like the families they rent to, they are struggling because they are often locked out of access to capital and federal resources,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves at Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and Chair of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) Board. “The number one priority of this program is to offer much-needed relief to small landlords, who will in turn pass along the benefits to their tenants who are also fighting to stay afloat in the midst of this ongoing public health and economic crisis.”


New Jersey Department of Health Launches Contact Tracing Dashboard

Urging people to answer critical calls from contact tracers, the New Jersey Department of Health unveiled an online dashboard highlighting New Jersey’s contact tracing efforts throughout the state.

“Our new Contact Tracing Dashboard will allow the public to monitor progress of our contact tracing efforts,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “It is critical for all New Jerseyans to answer contact tracing calls in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. This dashboard will join several other public-facing platforms that we have created for the purposes of transparency and public awareness.”

The Contact Tracing Dashboard, which will be updated on Fridays, provides information such as: the percentage of cases successfully interviewed, those who provided contacts, contacts notified, and more. According to current data, 61 percent of cases were successfully followed up, and nearly half of all contacts were notified of their exposure. 


Governor Murphy Announces Decreased Indoor Gathering Capacity Limit

Governor Phil Murphy announced the decrease of indoor gathering capacity limit in response to the increase of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey. Indoor gatherings are now limited to 25 percent of a room's capacity, but regardless of the room’s capacity, the maximum limit shall be 25 persons, down from 100 persons. For purposes of determining this limit, any private residence or residential unit shall be treated as a single room. However, the change will not be applicable to the following events: weddings, funerals, memorial services, religious services or celebrations, and political activities. These events may continue under the previous rules that limited these events to 25 percent of a room's capacity, but with a limit of 100 persons.

“In order to protect public health, we are retightening the restriction on indoor gatherings due to uptick of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “We cannot stress enough that large and crowded indoor gatherings, where social distancing isn’t being practiced and face masks aren’t being worn, are not safe. Until there is a significant decrease of COVID-19 cases, these restrictions will continue to be in place.” 


Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Allowing Public Employees to Immediately Enroll in State Health Benefits Program

Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 172, allowing any public employee eligible for enrollment into the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) to immediately enroll upon hire, rather than waiting two months. Previously, under Executive Order No. 115, the two-month waiting period was waived only for public employees hired specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s Order, which will last for the duration of the Public Health Emergency, applies to any public employee eligible for enrollment into the SHBP who is hired on or after March 9, 2020.

“New Jersey’s skilled workforce is essential to the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and the lack of health benefits coverage for newly hired personnel may be a deterrent to attracting and hiring the key staff necessary to continue our work during the pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “We must ensure that our workforce has seamless access to health care, including preventive services and medical care relating to COVID-19, throughout this once-in-a-century pandemic.”