TRENTON - (March 9, 2020) - Gov. Phil Murphy Monday declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency on Monday as the number of coronavirus cases in the state grow, effective immediately, to "contain the spread of COVID-19."
“The State of New Jersey is committed to deploying every available resource, across all levels of government, to help respond to the spread of COVID-19 and keep our residents informed,” Murphy said in a statement. “My administration will continue to work closely with our federal partners to ensure that local health agencies on the front lines of the state’s response are equipped with the resources needed to further prepare our health care system for a broader spread of COVID-19."
By declaring a state of emergency and a public health emergency, Murphy gives the state more flexibility to waive or suspend rules "which would be detrimental to the public welfare during this emergency," according to the order. It also helps increase access to resources such as health care and allows towns and counties to be reimbursed by the federal government for certain related costs.
It's the first time that a governor has declared a public health emergency under current state law, said Murphy's communications director, Mahen Gunaratna. That order lasts for 30 days and would have to be extended after that, if needed, he said.
New Jersey becomes the ninth state to declare an emergency because of coronavirus, which has affected more than 500 people in 34 states and the District of Columbia.
A general state of emergency order, which is often used for extreme weather situtations, does not have to be extended.