New Jersey, a state of roughly nine million people, has become the latest to be put under a stay-at-home order as the coronavirus pandemic spreads throughout the United States.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy on Saturday announced that New Jersey would be put under a stay-at-home order. Beginning at 9 p.m., every resident in the state will be required to stay inside their homes and all “nonessential” businesses would have to be temporarily suspended.
“We must flatten the curve and ensure residents are practicing social distancing,” Murphy said during a press briefing on Saturday. However, the governor urged the public not to panic and that “life in New Jersey does not have to come to a complete standstill.”
All gatherings — including in-person services, parties, and even weddings — would be indefinitely canceled, the governor declared.
“Our singular goal is to make sure we make it through this emergency so you can enjoy many more weddings and birthdays in the years to come,” Murphy continued, telling the public that “we’re at war.”
Certain industries will remain open in New Jersey. These essential businesses include grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, banks and other financial institutions.
The latest update by the governor, posted on Saturday afternoon, says that 1,327 individuals in New Jersey have tested positive for COVID-19, and there have been 16 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the state.
Murphy’s decision to put New Jersey under a stay-at-home order follows similar orders made in New York, Pennsylvania, and California.
“To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said in a Thursday statement. “This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. We need to act with the strength we use against any other severe threat.”
As of Saturday, there were more than 21,300 individuals across the country that have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 266 people in the U.S. have died from the virus.
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Image: American Dream mall is pictured after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy closed indoor shopping malls, to avoid the spreading of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S., March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz