COVID-19: NJ Announces 6-Point Plan and Methodology for ReOpening the State – “The Road Back”

Gov. Murphy announces NJ’s 6-point reopening plan called “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health.”

The Governor also reiterated that his “Stay-at-Home” executive order will remain in effect until further notice.” The plan also calls for a measurable drop in cases over a 14-day period before a reopen happens.

Murphy’s press conference focused on:

The Shore – hoping “we have some semblance of norm” at the Jersey Shore this summer, beginning on Memorial Day weekend, but “I just don’t envision being in tight spaces without real restrictions on capacity and social distancing.”

Workplaces – the first workplaces and venues to reopen will be the ones where the state has a “high confidence” that social distancing can take place.
• Bigger Gatherings – concerts, he said, are not going to happen “anytime soon.”

Parks – he hopes “sooner or later” that parks can reopen, saying he may agree with the argument that they’re essential “for mental health and other reasons.”

Schools – he indicated that NJ is “still a number of weeks away” from a full reopening, but that there is “a chance” schools could reopen by May 15.

The 6 key principles (based in science and facts) will guide “the process for lifting restrictions and restoring New Jersey’s economic health through public health.”

“Restarting New Jersey’s economy and returning people to work will be done methodically, strategically, and responsibly,” he said.

Principle 1: Demonstrate Sustained Reductions in New COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations:

• The state must show a 14-day trend lines showing appreciable and sustained drop in cases, hospitalizations, and other metrics; and
• Hospitals must step down from functioning under crisis standards of care.

Principle 2: Expand Testing Capacity:

• The state must at least double current diagnostic testing capacity;
• The state must prioritize testing for health care workers, essential personnel, and vulnerable populations;
• The state must provide a flexible testing plan accessible to all residents;
• The state must expand partnerships with institutions of higher education, private-sector labs, and the federal government; and
• The state must ensure that those who test positive are linked to a health care provider.

Principle 3: Implement Robust Contact Tracing:

• The state must recruit and deploy an army of personnel who will identify and follow-up with contacts. The state Health Department has said it’s going to need to hire anywhere from 15 to 81 contact tracers per 100,000 people, or 1,500 to 7,000 people statewide;
• The state must leverage technological data and innovative solutions to increase efficiency; and
• The state must coordinate the approach of local and state health officials, which will have a coordinated county/regional component.

Principle 4: Secure Safe Places and Resources for Isolation and Quarantine:

• To the greatest extent possible, the state must provide individuals who do test positive in the future with a safe and free place to isolate and protect others from COVID-19; and
• The state must ensure that quarantined contacts are provided supportive services, if needed.

Principle 5: Execute a Responsible Economic Restart:

• The state must create the “Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission” to advise on the process and recommend responsible and equitable decisions;
• The state must plan for a methodical and strategic return to work based on level of disease transmission risk and essential classification;
• The state must continue social distancing measures where feasible and appropriate; and
• The state must leverage any available federal funds and programs to support health care, individual, and small business recoveries.

Principle 6: Ensure New Jersey’s Resiliency:

• The state must learn from the lessons of COVID-19 and prepare for the possibility of a resurgence;
• The state must ensure hospitals, health care systems, and other health delivery facilities have inventories of personal protective equipment and ventilators;
• The state must build its own state personal protective equipment and ventilator stockpile; and
• The state must create a playbook for future administrations for the next pandemic.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Paul Josephson, Elizabeth Mincer, James Greenberg or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!