Gov. Murphy: NJ must take these six steps before reopening

New Jersey. According to the plan announced on Monday, the state must double its capacity to test, institute robust contract tracing, and stockpile gear in preparation for a resurgence. Social distancing and masking requirements are likely to continue for some time to come.

27 Apr 2020 | 05:56

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday announced the six steps that must be taken before the state can reopen.

“Our priority is to use science, data, and facts to put New Jersey on the road to recovery," Murphy said. "In order to restore economic health, we must first promote public health."

The governor's stay-at-home order has been in effect since March 21 and will remain so until further notice. Murphy said New Jersey must meet following six conditions before restrictions can relax:

1. Sustained reductions in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations: Hospitals will no longer have to operate under crisis standards.

2. A doubled capacity to test for the virus: Health care workers, essential personnel, and vulnerable populations will be given first priority. All those who test positive will be guaranteed a health care provider. Expanded testing would be achieved through partnerships with universities, private labs, and the federal government.

3. Robust contact tracing: "An army of personnel" will identify people who have been exposed to others who have tested positive. Tracking technology will also be used. Local and state health officials will coordinate contact tracing by county and region.

4. The provision of safe places where those who test positive can stay in isolation.

5. A methodical return to work based on transmission risk: Social distancing measures and requirements for face coverings may be required, depending on the risk. New Jersey will seek federal funds and programs to support both health care and small business recovery.

6. Preparation for a possible resurgence, by making sure hospitals have sufficient protective gear (face masks, gloves, and gowns) and ventilators. New Jersey will establish its own stockpile.