In Our Community

Indoor and Outdoor Capacity Limited Increased

TRENTON– Today, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 230, which will increase indoor capacity limits for certain businesses and increase both the general indoor and outdoor gathering limit.

These changes will go into effect on Friday, March 19th at 6:00 a.m., aligned with increases in capacity in Connecticut and New York.
Executive Order No. 230 will effectuate the following changes:

Indoor Businesses

The following businesses may increase indoor capacity limits from 35 percent to 50 percent, excluding the employees of the establishment:

  • Indoor premises of restaurants, cafeterias, and food courts, with or without a liquor license, and bars;
  • Indoor recreation, amusement, and entertainment businesses (including casinos and gyms); and
  • Personal care services (barber shops, nail salons, and other personal care businesses).

These businesses must continue to abide by current health and safety protocols, including face covering and physical distancing requirements.

Indoor Gatherings

  • The general indoor gathering limit will increase from 10 people to 25 people.
  • Indoor gatherings that currently have a higher limit – religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services, or performances – will remain unchanged.

Outdoor Gatherings

  • The general outdoor gathering limit will increase from 25 people to 50 people.
  • Outdoor gatherings that are religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals or memorial services will remain unchanged by the Order.

Committee Advances Mosquera Bill Appropriating Funds to Support NJ Child Care Centers

(TRENTON) – With countless child care centers encountering financial challenges as a result of the ongoing public health emergency, three Assembly Democrats sponsor a bill that would provide support to the child care industry.

Subject to the availability of federal funds, $10 million in funds that New Jersey was given access to because of the COVID-19 pandemic would be made available to the Economic Development Authority (EDA) to support child care centers in need of assistance due to the public health emergency.

Upon the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee advancing the bill (A-5445) on Monday, Assembly sponsors Lisa Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic), Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester) and Adam Taliaferro (D-Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem) issued the following joint statement:

“So many child care centers have already closed while many others are struggling to stay in business because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Necessary yet expensive safety measures such as reduced class sizes, personal protective equipment purchases and building ventilation upgrades have taken a significant toll on the child care industry.

“Over the past year, women in particular have borne the brunt of the consequences of a lack of access to child care services. The parents in our state both require and deserve affordable, accessible child care. Providing financial support to child care centers in need will help ensure these critical services are available to them.” 

Governor Murphy Announced More Groups Eligible for the Vaccine

Who is eligible for vaccination at this time?

Currently, vaccines are available to the following groups:

  • Paid and unpaid healthcare workers
  • Residents and workers of long-term care and high-risk congregate care facilities
  • First responders including sworn law enforcement and fire professionals
  • Individuals aged over 65
  • Individuals aged 16-64 that have certain medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus

Beginning March 15th, the following groups will be eligible to book vaccine appointments:

  • Pre-K to 12 educators and staff
  • Childcare workers
  • Transportation workers
  • Additional public safety workers
  • Additional high-risk individuals

Beginning March 29th, additional frontline essential workers will be eligible to book vaccine appointments.

See below for additional details on who is eligible to receive the vaccine.

Healthcare Personnel (Phase 1A)

Paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials, including, but not limited to:

  • Licensed healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists
  • Staff like receptionists, janitors, mortuary services, laboratory technicians
  • Consultants, per diem, and contractors who are not directly employed by the facility
  • Unpaid workers like health professional students, trainees, volunteers, and essential caregivers
  • Community health workers, doulas, and public health professionals like Medical Reserve Corps
  • Personnel with variable venues like EMS, paramedics, funeral staff, and autopsy workers
  • All workers in acute, pediatric, and behavioral health hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers
  • All workers in health facilities like psychiatric facilities, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and rehabs
  • All workers in clinic-based settings like urgent care clinics, dialysis centers, and family planning sites
  • All workers in long-term care settings like nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and others
  • All workers in occupational-based healthcare settings like health clinics within workplaces, shelters, jails, colleges and universities, and K-12 schools
  • All workers in community-based healthcare settings like PACE and Adult Living Community Nursing
  • All workers in home-based settings like hospice, home care, and visiting nurse services
  • All workers in office-based healthcare settings like physician and dental offices
  • All workers in public health settings like local health departments, LINCS agencies, harm reduction centers, and medicinal marijuana programs
  • All workers in retail, independent, and institutional pharmacies
  • Other paid or unpaid people who work in a healthcare setting, who may have direct or indirect contact with infectious persons or materials, and who cannot work from home.

Long-Term Care Residents and Staff (Phase 1A)

All residents and workers of long-term care and high-risk congregate care facilities, including:

  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Veterans homes
  • Assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and personal care homes
  • Group homes like residential care homes, adult family homes, adult foster homes, and intellectual and developmental disabilities group homes
  • HUD 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program residences
  • Institutional settings like psychiatric hospitals, correctional institutions, county jails, and juvenile detention facilities (for eligible minors, e.g. 16+ years of age may be eligible for Pfizer vaccine under the emergency use authorization)
  • Other vulnerable, congregate, long-term settings

First Responders (Phase 1B)

Sworn law enforcement, firefighters, and other first responders, including:

  • New Jersey State Police troopers
  • Municipal and county police officers
  • Campus police officers
  • Detectives in prosecutors’ offices and state agencies
  • State agency/authority law enforcement officers (e.g. State Park Police and Conservation Officers, Palisades Interstate Parkway Officers, Human Services police, and NJTransit police)
  • Investigator, Parole and Secured Facilities Officers
  • Aeronautical Operations Specialists
  • Sworn Federal Law Enforcement Officers and Special Agents
  • Bi-State law enforcement officers (e.g. Port Authority)
  • Court Security Officers
  • Paid and unpaid members of firefighting services (structural and wildland)
  • Paid and unpaid members of Search and Rescue Units including technical rescue units and HAZMAT teams
  • Paid and unpaid firefighters who provide emergency medical services
  • Paid and unpaid members of Industrial units that perform Fire, Rescue and HAZMAT services
  • Members of State Fire Marshal’s Offices
  • Bi-State Fire Service Personnel (e.g. Port Authority)

Individuals at High Risk (Phase 1B)

Individuals aged 65 and older, and individuals ages 16-64 with medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus. These conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Note: Individuals who are pregnant and those in an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant are also eligible but should follow CDC guidance and first discuss vaccination with their medical provider before receiving the vaccine.

If you are currently eligible, click here for more information on where to get vaccinated.

Who is eligible for vaccination next?

Beginning Monday, March 15, the following categories are eligible for vaccination:

  • Educators, including support staff, in pre-K through 12th grade settings;
  • Childcare workers in licensed and registered settings;
  • Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, rideshare, and airport employees; NJ TRANSIT workers; and Motor Vehicle Commission staff;
  • Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors;
  • Migrant farm workers;
  • Members of tribal communities;
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters.

Additionally, beginning on Monday, March 29, frontline essential workers in the following categories are also eligible for vaccination:

  • Food production, agriculture, and food distribution;
  • Eldercare and support;
  • Warehousing and logistics;
  • Social services support staff;
  • Elections personnel;
  • Hospitality;
  • Medical supply chain;
  • Postal and shipping services;
  • Clergy; and,
  • Judicial system.

Governor Announced Increase Capacity Limits

Governor Phil Murphy today announced Executive Order No. 225, which increases capacity limits for religious services and large sports and entertainment venues. Additionally, limited spectators will be allowed at collegiate sporting events, mirroring last week’s announcement on youth sporting events.

The changes are as follows:

Religious Services
Effective immediately

Religious services and celebrations, including wedding ceremonies, funerals, and memorial services that involve a religious service,will be able to operate at 50% capacity of the room in which they are held, with no cap on the number of individuals permitted to attend. Services were previously limited to 35% of the room, up to 150 individuals.
Individuals attending services will still be required to wear masks and sit six feet apart from those outside of their household group.
Collegiate Sporting Events
Effective immediately

Operators of indoor and outdoor collegiate sports practices and competitions may allow up to two parents or guardians per each participating athlete.

Even including this limited number of parents and guardians, the total number of individuals at an indoor practice or competition cannot exceed 35% of the capacity of the room, and any outdoor space needs to accommodate all attendees with appropriate room for social distancing.

Collegiate athletic conferences retain the discretion to impose stricter protocols regarding spectators, including for events that take place in large venues.
Large Sports and Entertainment Venues
Effective Monday, March 1 at 6:00 a.m.

Large sports and entertainment venues with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or more will be permitted to host a number of patrons and members of the public equal to 10% of capacity indoors and 15% of capacity outdoors.

Facilities that host such events must ensure that all attendees at the event remain six feet apart from other attendees, except that individuals who purchase or reserve tickets together may be seated together. Attendees will also be required to wear masks within the facility, except when eating or drinking.

MOSQUERA BILL ESTABLISHING REQUIREMENTS REGARDING PROVISION OF POSTPARTUM CARE INFORMATION

To help New Jersey mothers prepare for their post-labor needs, Assemblywomen Gabriela Mosquera, Lisa Swain and Carol Murphy sponsor a bill to require health care professionals to discuss postpartum planning with expecting mothers and require medical facilities to provide new mothers with information on postpartum care.

Under the bill (A-3633), health care professionals such as physicians, nurses and midwives would be required to make certain pregnant patients have the opportunity to develop a comprehensive, personalized postpartum care plan. If the patient does not already have a plan, the provider would offer to consult with them to help develop one.

The measure also requires medical facilities such as hospitals and birthing centers to ensure that new mothers receive postpartum care information before they are discharged after childbirth. The women would be informed about potential health issues that can take place after labor and the risks, warning signs and symptoms of those potential complications.

Upon the Assembly Women and Children Committee advancing the legislation on Monday, Assemblywomen Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester), Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic) and Murphy (D-Burlington) issued the following joint statement:

 

“Childbirth is a complex and challenging process that can continue to impact mothers long after they have brought a new baby into the world.

“Many women don’t realize all that pregnancy can entail, especially if they have never had a child before. Unfortunately, their health care providers don’t always tell them what to expect either – leaving them without the information they need regarding potential complications and what to do if they arise.

“Requiring professionals to discuss postpartum plans with their patients and hospitals to give new mothers information about postpartum care will better prepare women to deal with some of the issues they may face as they enter an exciting but challenging new time in their lives.”

MOSQUERA INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO ALLOW CERTAIN VOTERS RESIDING OVERSEAS TO VOTE IN STATE ELECTIONS

Currently, any citizen of the United States who is overseas with uncertain intent to return to America is permitted to vote in federal elections in New Jersey via overseas ballot.   Assembly Democrats Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) and Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester) introduced legislation Monday to change the definition of “overseas voter”.
Under the bill A-5306, the term would now apply to any citizen of the United States who was born outside of the country and meets voter eligibility requirements.  A citizen would be allowed to vote in federal elections if they have a parent, legal guardian, spouse, partner in a civil union, or domestic partner eligible to register and vote in the U.S. before departure.
The bill would also remove temporary residence abroad from the definition of “overseas voter”.  This would allow any person who meets the criteria and is only overseas temporarily to vote by mail-in ballot in their previous election district and they would be able to vote in any federal, state, or local elections.
People who do not live in the United States due to work or other short-term reasons are still important to the identity of our country and State.  They should have a vote in the communities to which they may return.