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Does my business need to be closed?


Businesses That May Be Open

If your business is not a retail business, you may continue to operate, but you must let your workers work from home whenever possible. For example, professional service firms—like law firms and accounting firms—may continue to operate, but must let employees work from home. The U.S. Department of Labor has guidance on the Fair Labor Standards Act pertaining to your obligations to employees regarding telework. If you have employees that need to be on site, you must keep them to the minimum number needed for critical operations; examples of these include cashiers, store clerks, construction workers working on projects deemed essential, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, custodial staff, and certain administrative staff.

If your business is a retail business, but is considered essential, you may stay open; these types of businesses include:

  • Grocery stores and any stores that sells food;

  • Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries;

  • Medical supply stores;

  • Gas stations;

  • Convenience stores;

  • Stores in healthcare facilities;

  • Hardware and home improvement stores;

  • Banks;

  • Laundromats/dry-cleaning services;

  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five;

  • Liquor stores;

  • Auto mechanics;

  • Self-serve car washes;

  • Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, to deliver online purchases directly to customers, to arrange for curbside pickup, or to test drive a purchased vehicle;

  • Printing and office supply shops;

  • Mail and delivery stores;

  • Mobile phone retail and repair shops;

  • Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair;

  • Pet stores, pet groomers, pet daycare, and pet boarders;

  • Livestock feed stores;

  • Farming equipment stores;

  • Nurseries and garden centers;

  • Landscaping; 

  • Stores that principally sell items for religious worship;

  • Firearms retailers, by appointment only and during limited hours;

  • Realtors, but only to show houses 1-on-1 (open houses are prohibited);

  • Horse boarding may allow owners to visit and exercise their horses; therapeutic riding may continue;

  • Marinas and boatyards for personal use;

  • Bars and restaurants for drive-through, delivery, and takeout only;

  • Microbreweries or brewpubs for home delivery only.

Child care centers may operate only if they certified by Friday, March 27, 2020 that they will only serve children of essential workers starting April 1, 2020.

Golf courses may be open as of sunrise on May 2, 2020, as long as they adopt policies that include, but are not limited to: tee times at least 16 minutes apart; closing all buildings and amenities; limiting golf carts to a single occupant; restricting players' ability to touch the flagstick, hole, and other surfaces; prohibiting equipment rentals and the use of caddies; and requiring face coverings, sanitization, and social distancing. Refer to Executive Order 133 for all requirements. Miniature golf and driving ranges must remain closed.

If your business falls into one of the blanket exemption categories, you may continue to operate; these businesses include:

  • Health care or medical service providers;

  • Essential services for low-income residents, including food banks;

  • The media;

  • Law enforcement;

  • Federal government operations, or the movement of federal officials in their official capacity.

If your business is conducting construction deemed essential, that construction may continue; see what construction projects are deemed essential.

Businesses That Must Be Closed

All retail businesses not considered “essential” must close. If your business is a retail business that operates with a physical storefront, you must close your business to the public. Delivery and online operations may continue.

Non-essential construction projects must cease, effective Friday, April 10, 2020, at 8 p.m.

Recreational and entertainment businesses must close; these types of businesses include:

  • Casino gaming floors, including sports wagering lounges and concert/entertainment venues;

  • Racetracks, including stabling facilities and sports wagering lounges;

  • Gyms and fitness centers, including classes;

  • Miniature golf courses and driving ranges;

  • Golf courses (may reopen at sunrise, May 2, 2020);

  • Camp sites;

  • Entertainment centers, including movie theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, and nightclubs;

  • Indoor parts of shopping malls. Restaurants and other stores in shopping malls that have their own external entrances may continue offering food delivery and/or take-out services;

  • All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, family and children’s attractions;

  • All personal-care businesses that by their very nature result in noncompliance with social distancing must be closed to the public as long as the Order remains in effect. This includes: Barbershops; Hair salons; Spas; Nail and eyelash salons; Tattoo parlors; Massage parlors; Tanning salons; and Public and private social clubs;

  • All municipal, county, and State public libraries, and all libraries and computer labs at public and private colleges and universities.

Other Information

Manufacturing, industrial, logistics, ports, shipping, food production, food delivery, and other commercial operations may continue to operate, but must limit staff on site and adopt social distancing policies and protocols.

Medical facilities may continue to operate. Medical facilities include any facility where a sick or injured person is given care or treatment, such as: doctor’s offices, hospitals, dentist offices, long-term care facilities, and other medical offices.

Employees reporting to work are permitted to travel to and from their place of business. Businesses are encouraged to give each employee a letter indicating that the employee works in an industry permitted to continue operations.

All gatherings, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events, are cancelled unless authorized by Executive Order 107. This includes conferences, large meetings, parties, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and any other type of assembly. Governor Murphy also signed Executive Order 108, which invalidates any county or municipal restrictions that conflict with Executive Order 107. The only exceptions are: 1) short-term rentals and online marketplaces offering lodging; 2) municipal or county parks; 3) beaches and boardwalks.

If you believe your retail business is unique and should be considered an "essential business," you may be inquire with the team (via the chat feature in the corner of this page) about submitting your business to the State Director of Emergency Management. You still need to close your business until you are told you have been deemed essential. If your business falls into a category already exempted, or you are not a retail business, you do not need an exemption and should not pursue this option. If any non-essential business continues to operate when it should be closed, you can report it at

If any business is not following social distancing guidelines, you can use the above form or report the business by contacting your Local Health Department, which you can identify with the Find Your Local Health Department tool.

Updated: April 29, 2020

Source: Executive Order Nos. 107, 108, 110, and 133; Administrative Orders 2020-5, 2020-6, 2020-8, 2020-10; April 18 Press Release on Marinas and Boatyards


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