News Flash

Emergency Management & Public Health

Posted on: August 9, 2020

Week of August 2: COVID-19 Update

Today Governor Murphy announced that there were 384 new positive cases and an additional 12 confirmed deaths resulting from COVID-19. To date, there have been 184,061 confirmed cases, and 14,007 confirmed deaths. There are also 1,853 probable deaths associated with the virus. The rate of transmission is at 1.15.

In addition, Lt. Governor Oliver announced the creation of a Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program using $25 million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) funds. The emergency grant will be available to landlords of 3 to10 rental units. The landlords must pass the benefit to their tenants by forgiving any outstanding balances and/or fees for April through July rent payments.

With somewhat of a surprise, the number of New Jersey unemployment claims filed the week ending August 1 dropped 41%. The 16, 573 applications is the lowest since March. There is no apparent explanation for the significant decrease. Meanwhile, the US Department Labor reported today that the unemployment rate dropped to 10.2%. That is down from a peak of 14.7% in April.

The New Jersey Supreme Court heard the challenge to the state borrowing proposal this past week. If you recall, the Administration and the State Legislature advanced a proposal that would authorize the borrowing of up to $9.9 billion between the current fiscal year (FY 2020, extended to September 30) and FY 2021. The State Republicans, represented by State Senator Michael Testa before Court, is challenging the constitutionality of the provision. It is not known when the Court will rule.

Since our last update, Governor Murphy issued four new COVID-19 related executive orders:

Executive Order 170 (EO 170), signed July 31, 2020 and took effect immediately, extends certain statutory deadlines across state government. The statutory deadlines extended through EO 170 are limited to those specifically identified in an Appendix to the executive order. Of particular concern to municipal governments is the extension of multiple statutory deadlines found in: N.J.S.A. 4:1C-21(c), 4:1C-21(d), 4:1C-21(i), all of which deal with review and approvals related to farmland preservation programs; N.J.S.A. 56:8-96(c), which deals with the revocation by local health authorities of pet shops’ licenses; and N.J.S.A. App.A:9-40.1 which requires municipal emergency management coordinators to complete approved course work. EO 170 and its appendix should be reviewed carefully with all levels of your municipal government to ensure the new deadlines are taken into consideration.

Executive Order 171 (EO 171) extends the Public Health Emergency that was initially declared on March 9, 2020. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed. EO 171 extends the Public Health Emergency for an additional 30 days.

Executive Order 172 (EO 172), signed August 3, 2020 and took effect immediately, directs that, for the duration of the Public Health Emergency, any new or returning State or municipal employee who is hired on or after March 9, 2020, may immediately enroll in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP). EO 172 supersedes waiting periods otherwise required by law and supersedes requirements in Executive Order 115 which allowed immediate enrollment in the SHBP but only if the person was hired for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive Order 173 (EO 173) decreases the capacity limits of indoor gatherings. EO 173 was signed August 3, 2020 and took effect at 6:00 a.m. on August 4, 2020. EO 173 limits indoor gatherings to 25% of the room’s capacity, but regardless of the room’s capacity, the maximum limit is 25 persons down from 100 persons. For purposes of determining this limit, private residences or residential units are to be treated as a single room.

The change in EO 173 does not apply to weddings, funerals, memorial services, religious services or celebrations, and political activities. These events may continue under previous rules that limited events to 25% of a room’s capacity, but with a limit of 100 people.

See the League’s COVID-19 page for all our resources and communications.

Contact: Michael F. Cerra, Executive Director,, 609-695-3481 x120.

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