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COVID-19 Checklist for NJ to Help Keep Residents Informed


This story was written and produced by NJ Spotlight. It is being republished under a special NJ News Commons content-sharing agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. To read more, visit

The COVID-19 pandemic is moving almost too quickly to track. An updated look at many of the closures and the exceptions statewide

The closures have been ordered, or voluntarily undertaken, to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on March 16 that limits all recreational and social gatherings in New Jersey to 50 people or fewer. It also closed restaurants — except for takeout and delivery service — and other locations. On March 17, he announced additional restrictions that close malls and indoor entertainment facilities. The public is also strongly discouraged from venturing out between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless it is absolutely necessary.

The following is a guide to keep New Jerseyans updated on what’s happening across the state, including what has been ordered closed and what remains open (at least for now). It also includes some local restrictions. This is not an exhaustive list, so check with other sources if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

As of March 19:

The state Department of Labor has closed all New Jersey One-Stop Career Center offices. They are expected to reopen Monday, March 30. Customers needing to file for unemployment insurance or other benefits are urged to apply online at or

NJ 211 is now handling COVID-19 related calls from New Jersey residents. Residents with questions or concerns about COVID-19 and resources available to them can call 2-1-1. Residents can also text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive text information; and for live text assistance, residents can text their zip code to 898-211.

The state Department of Human Services commissioner is modifying the Child Care Subsidy Program to implement temporary flexible enrollment policies and amendments to the payment policy. These changes include waiving parents’ child care subsidy copayments on request, providing child care providers who remain open an additional $100 per child, and giving grants to centers to support cleaning.

DHS is also automatically offering a 60-day extension on cash assistance to those whose cases come up for renewal in March or April, extending all emergency assistance through April 30 and exempting the work requirements for WorkFirst New Jersey and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The state announced it is covering COVID-19 testing, visits for testing, and testing-related services at no cost for those in NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid and waiving those costs for those in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); covering 90-day supplies of prescriptions and early refills for CHIP and Medicaid recipients; and directing hospitals to waive cost-sharing for uninsured individuals who are eligible for charity care for services for the COVID-19 virus.

DHS is also allowing senior citizens covered by PAAD and Senior Gold plans to refill their prescriptions early and get a 90-day supply of maintenance medications.

NJ TRANSIT has enhanced its cleaning efforts to include disinfecting vehicles every 24 hours. The cleaning regimen in stations includes additional disinfecting of frequent customer touchpoints such as ticket vending machines, handrails and door handles. For more information on procedures, visit NJ Transit’s COVID-19 page.

Many Rutgers University library locations remain open with limited hours. Check Rutgers’ library website for more information on library hours.

Camden County’s freeholders have declared a local state of emergency. All branches of the Camden County Library System will be closed until April 13.

The Hunterdon County Library System, which includes both county facilities and most municipal libraries, will be closed through at least April 1.

High Bridge issued an emergency proclamation that covers social distancing measures. The golf course and parks and playgrounds are closed. Call borough hall for further information at 908-638-6455.

As of March 18:

Essential retail businesses, including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, as well as medical offices, remain open until 8 p.m. or later, if necessary. All nonessential retail, recreational and entertainment facilities must cease daily operations from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

All public, private and parochial preschool programs and all elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, are closed as of March 18. They will remain closed as long as the emergency order is in effect.

Institutions of higher education will cease all in-person instruction beginning March 18; in-person instruction will be suspended as long as the emergency order remains in effect. College facilities, including residence halls and food venues, can remain open, so check with individual schools. Montclair State University, for instance, is conducting all instruction online, but student housing and dining halls will remain open. (Students may eat in the dining halls or take food back to their rooms.)

Indoor portions of retail shopping malls and all indoor and outdoor amusement centers will remain closed as long as the emergency order is in effect. This includes amusement rides, water parks, aquariums, zoos, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys and family and children attractions. It does not cover outdoor parks and open-space recreation. Stores and restaurants located at a mall that have exits to the outdoors can remain open if they follow other restrictions.

Casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters and performing arts centers will remain closed until further notice.

Campgrounds, visitor centers, nature centers, restrooms and similar facilities at state parks, forests, recreation areas, Wildlife Management Areas and historic sites are closed until further notice. That said, state parks, forests, recreation areas and Wildlife Management Areas, including roads, parking areas, trails, lakes and other open spaces will remain open.

Capital One Bank temporarily closed 17 branches in the New York region and all Capital One Cafés. Fourteen branches in the New York region remain open and Capital One ATMs are available 24/7.

The state Department of Labor has suspended in-person unemployment insurance services at all New Jersey One-Stop Career Center offices. They anticipate reopening on Monday, March 30. Customers needing to file for unemployment insurance are urged to apply online at

The New Jersey Civil Service Commission is suspending civil service examinations and training offered by its Center for Learning and Improving Performance (CLIP) until further notice. Its 21-county One-Stop Job Tours are also postponed until further notice.

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission agency and road-testing facilities are closed, with plans to reopen in two weeks, on Monday, March 30. All driver’s licenses, non-driver IDs, vehicle registrations and inspection stickers expiring before May 31 have been extended by two months. Most renewals, replacements, changes of address and other transactions can be processed online at

Some in-person Superior Court proceedings, including most landlord-tenant matters, have been postponed through March 27. For the full list by county, visit the court’s website.

Municipal courts statewide are generally closed through March 30, with some exceptions. The full list is available online.

The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) suspended visits for 30 days, through April 14. The JJC is increasing access to other forms of communication with families, including providing additional phone calls free of charge, and expanding access to video visits.

The New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) suspended visits for 30 days through April 13. NJDOC is increasing access to other forms of communication with families, including expanding inmate and resident access to additional phone calls, free of charge; increasing inmate and resident access to additional JPay kiosk usage; and providing the inmate and Residential Community Release Program population free postage.

The Camden County Board of Social Services is cutting back its staff. All face-to-face requirements are waived and interviews can be done over the phone. Work-activity requirements for TANF/GA/SNAP are waived. Cash assistance recipients due for recertification in March and April will get a 60-day extension. Clients can apply for all programs offered at the board by visiting

The Essex County Sheriff’s Office will not execute evictions and will suspend foreclosure sales indefinitely.

Trenton Water Works is suspending some of its operations for two weeks, with the expectation of resuming hydrant inspections, seasonal meter installations and other services on March 30. In-person service at TWW’s Cortland Street operations center is also suspended and the facility is temporarily closed to the public.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities announced that the state’s public electric and gas utilities have universally agreed to suspend service shutoffs.

Access to the interior of the State Capitol complex is limited to members of government, government employees and contractors; credentialed members of the press; and invited participants with business in the complex. Tours, field trips and large gatherings are canceled. The public is encouraged to submit written testimony electronically for committees.

Belleville has declared a local state of emergency. Daycare centers will close beginning Thursday, March 19. Public access to the town hall is prohibited unless residents have an appointment. The public library is closed until further notice. Check the township website for more information, including about upcoming public meetings.

Hoboken has imposed a citywide curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. until further notice for all but emergency situations and those who need to work.