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New State Executive Order Permits Municipalities and Counties to Impose Additional Restrictions on the Hours of Operation of Non-Essential Businesses

TRENTON (November 12, 2020) – Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 195, which permits municipalities and counties to impose additional restrictions on the hours of operation of non-essential retail businesses, food and beverage establishments, and recreation and entertainment businesses after 8:00 p.m. The Order prohibits municipalities and counties from imposing restrictions that prevent dining establishments from arranging for the pickup or delivery of goods or otherwise limiting their scope of operations. The Order will take effect immediately.

“I’ve been clear that our approach to the second wave is to act surgically within hotspot areas,” said Governor Murphy. “Today’s action maintains overall consistency across the state while also empowering local elected officials with the discretion to address situations where restricting the operating hours of certain businesses in the evening will help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Governor Murphy’s Executive Order states that any county or municipal restriction that in any way conflicts with any provision of statewide rules will be invalidated. Examples of such restrictions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Any additions to or deletions from the list of retail businesses deemed essential or that have been identified as essential through Administrative Orders authorized by the Governor’s Executive Orders;
  2. Any limitations imposed on any business’s scope of service;
  3. Any density or social distancing requirements;
  4. Any orders relating to the gathering of individuals; and
  5. General restrictions on the freedom of movement within that county or municipality, including but not limited to the imposition of curfews.

Nothing in the Order shall supersede the provisions of Executive Order No. 108 that currently remain in effect, which includes the ability of municipalities and counties to impose additional restrictions on online marketplaces for arranging or offering lodging and on municipal parks, or the provisions of any other order that explicitly permits municipalities and counties to impose additional restrictions.

A copy of Executive Order No. 195 can be found here.