New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan (who also acts as the State Director of Emergency Management) issued orders this week lifting some closures and reiterating or clarifying others, as follows.

Administrative Order 2020-10

On April 27, 2020, in Administrative Order 2020-10 (“A.O. 10”) , Col. Callahan clarified and amended Executive Order 107 (which we wrote about here).  A.O. 10, which became effective immediately, permits the reopening of certain business operations now deemed “essential retail business,” provided they adhere mandated precautions, but reiterates others that certain others must remain closed, as follows:

  • Pet grooming, pet daycare, and pet boarding businesses shall be considered essential retail businesses and be permitted to open, if they adopt in-person operation policies that include, at a minimum, the enhanced social distancing practices detailed in previously-issued Executive Order No. 122 (which we wrote about here), including limiting occupancy, allowing for contactless methods of payment, and requiring workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings while on the premises;
  • Stores that principally sell items necessary for religious observation or worship shall be considered essential retail businesses if they adopt in-person operation policies that include, at a minimum, the enhanced social distancing practices detailed in Executive Order 122;
  • Car dealerships may permit customers that have ordered and/or purchased a vehicle online or by phone to test drive the vehicle at the time of pick-up or prior to delivery, if the dealership adopts in-person operation policies that (a) include, at a minimum, the enhanced social distancing practices detailed in Executive Order 122; (b) permit the individual to access the vehicle alone; and (c) provide that the dealership is to appropriately clean and sanitize the vehicle after such test drive, if the customer does not purchase the vehicle;
  • Licensees, owners, operators, employees, or independent contractors of personal care services facilities (which were ordered to be closed to the public in Executive Order 107), are not permitted to provide personal care services in their own homes, the homes of others, or in any facility or business setting unless the individual personal care service provider is providing the service to their household members, immediate family or other individuals with whom the personal care service provider has a close personal relationship, such as those for whom the personal care service provider is a caretaker or romantic partner. A prior business relationship alone does not qualify as a close personal relationship, for purposes of this paragraph;

Executive Order 133

On April 29, 2020, Gov. Murphy issued Executive Order 133, which allows the reopening of golf courses and state parks, with specific recommendations and policies to enhance social distancing and to protect the public from the spread of COVID-19, as described below.  All prior applicable Executive and Administrative Orders are superseded to the extent inconsistent with the following new rules. Executive Order 133 takes effect at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 2, 2020.

State Parks

Executive Order 133 allows all state parks and forest to open to the public for the following passive recreational activities in which social distancing can be readily achieved:

    • Fishing;
    • Hunting;
    • Boating;
    • Canoeing;
    • Hiking;
    • Walking;
    • Running or jogging;
    • Biking;
    • Birding; and
    • Horseback riding.

The following, however, are to remain closed at all state parks and forests:

    • Picnic areas;
    • Playgrounds;
    • Exercise stations and equipment;
    • Chartered watercraft services and rentals;
    • Swimming;
    • Pavilions;
    • Restrooms; and
    • Other buildings or facilities, including, but not limited to, visitor centers, interpretive centers, and interior historical sites.

The following recommendations and policies shall apply to all state parks and forests:

    • Employees and visitors should wear cloth face coverings while in the park or forest in all settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health or where the individual is under two years of age;
    • Available parking must be limited to 50% of the maximum capacity at one time, and visitors are prohibited from parking in undesignated areas, including in roadways and other undesignated areas;
    • No picnicking is allowed, and no picnic blankets, chairs, coolers, and other such personal property may be carried into any state park or forest;
    • Visitors must practice social distancing and stay six feet apart whenever practicable, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners;
    • No organized or contact activities or sports are allowed; and
    • Gatherings of individuals, including in parks, are prohibited.

In addition, Executive Order 133, mandates that all recreational campgrounds and transient camp sites at campgrounds must remain closed.  Residential campgrounds, which includes mobile home parks, “condo sites,” and existing/renewing 2020 yearly seasonal contract sites, however, may remain open.

Finally, county parks which were closed by Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order No. 118  issued on April 7, 2020 are permitted to be open. Those parks that were closed by county order before April 7, 2020, may be reopened by order of the county of jurisdiction.  All county and municipal parks must adhere to the social distancing restrictions applicable to state parks summarized above, In addition, counties and municipalities may impose additional restrictions at their respective parks in response to COVID-19. Counties and municipalities may also impose additional restrictions on the ability of residential campgrounds, including mobile home parks, to accept new transient guests or seasonal tenants.

Golf Courses

Executive Order 133 allows golf courses to reopen, but such businesses must adopt policies that at minimum:

    • Require that reservations, cancellations and pre-payments be made via electronic or telephone reservation systems to limit physical interactions. Such policies shall, wherever possible, consider populations that do not have access to internet service or credit cards;
    • Stagger tee times so that they are 16 minutes apart, and limit tee times to two players, except for immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners;
    • Limit use of golf carts to single occupant only, excluding an individual’s immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners;
    • Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas, following CDC guidelines;
    • Ensure cleaning procedures following a known or potential exposure at the golf course in compliance with CDC recommendations;
    • Ensure that the golf course is sufficiently staffed to perform the above protocols effectively and in a manner that ensures the safety of players and staff;
    • Restrict players’ ability to touch common surfaces when retrieving golf balls by installing pins, placing cups upside down or partly above ground, or utilizing a shallow cup;
    • Close all golf center buildings, pro shops, and other buildings and amenities to the public;
    • Remove bunker rakes and other on-course furniture like benches, water coolers, and ball washers;
    • Ensure that the flagstick remains in the golf hole at all times, and instruct players to avoid touching the flagstick or hole;
    • Discontinue club and equipment rentals;
    • Prohibit the use of caddies;
    • Place additional restrictions on areas of the golf course, as necessary, to limit person-to-person interactions and facilitate appropriate social distancing, including but not limited to, specific holes, putting greens, FootGolf courses, and short game areas;
    • Employees, players, and other individuals should wear cloth face coverings in all settings on the golf course where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health, or where the individual is under two years of age; and
    • Require players to always maintain appropriate social distancing by remaining six feet apart from each other.

Executive Order 133 makes clear that miniature golf courses and driving ranges, as well as other places of public amusement, remain closed pursuant to Executive Order 107.

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