Following a hint from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who suggested during a press conference earlier this week that Connecticut and New Jersey might follow suit with lockdowns of their own, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy on Saturday signed an executive order barring citizens from leaving their homes unless they're part of the "essential" workforce.
The stay-at-home order covers all of the state's 9 million residents, and follows similar mandates that have been handed down in California, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania.
Murphy insisted that residents practice social distancing when they leave the house to buy food or pick up medicine, or go to perform 'nonessential' jobs.
"We must flatten the curve and ensure residents are practicing social distancing," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in announcing the new restrictions. But, he added, "Even with this order in effect...life in New Jersey does not have to come to a complete standstill."
He told residents not to panic, but added "we are at war."
Starting at 9 p.m. Saturday, New Jersey residents must stay home and all nonessential businesses have to close indefinitely. All gatherings including weddings, in-person services and parties, are canceled until further notice, Murphy said. He added that the rules he laid out supersede all those set by towns or cities or counties in his state, The governor made the announcement during his Saturday press conference. "We need you to just stay home," he said, adding that, as of 12:30 pm, the state had counted 1,327 positive tests and 16 deaths.
Including New Jersey's 9 million people, 86 million Americans are under a China- or Italy-style lockdown, or something closely approximating that.
Making a major announcement on our fight against COVID-19. WATCH: https://t.co/9ERzeFMFT5— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 21, 2020
Here's a breakdown of cases by county as of 12:30 pm.
• Mercer: 30— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 21, 2020
• Middlesex: 116
• Monmouth: 92
• Morris: 64
• Ocean: 62
• Passaic: 67
• Somerset: 34
• Sussex: 6
• Union: 81
• Warren: 5
• Under Investigation: 140
We suspect CT Governor Ned Lamont will soon follow up with a similar order of his own, perhaps staggered by a day or so to not provoke more panic.
Read the full order below: