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New Jersey governor issues executive order requiring all businesses to reduce in-office workforce

New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy issued Executive Order  No. 107 today directing all New Jersey businesses to reduce their in-office workforce as much as possible.

The Executive Order requires all businesses or nonprofits in the state to accommodate their workforce, wherever practicable, for telework or work-from-home arrangements. To the extent a business or nonprofit has employees that cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from-home arrangements, the business or nonprofit is required to make its best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue. The Executive Order does include examples of employees who need to be physically present at their work site in order to perform their duties. Most relevant for insurance agencies are information technology maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff.

In addition, the Executive Order requires all nonessential retail businesses to close to the public. All essential retail stores may remain open but are still required to reduce their in-office workforce as much practicable.

Essential retail businesses include:

  • Grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store;
  • Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries;
  • Medical supply stores;
  • Gas stations;
  • Convenience stores;
  • Ancillary stores within health care facilities;
  • Hardware and home-improvement stores;
  • Banks and other financial institutions;
  • Laundromats and dry-cleaning services;
  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years;
  • Pet stores;
  • Liquor stores;
  • Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics;
  • Printing and office supply shops; and
  • Mail and delivery stores.

The Executive Order went into effect March 21, 2020, at 9 p.m.