New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced today the closure of all nonessential businesses and instructed residents to remain in their homes until further notice in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus in New Jersey.
A variety of businesses, including bars, restaurants, and personal care businesses have previously been shut down or had their operations severely curtailed. The Governor’s latest Executive Order 107
specifically identifies auto dealerships as essential businesses, but limits operations to service ONLY
NJ CAR had advocated for a specific designation allowing dealership sales to operate, at least on a limited basis, and in compliance with CDC social distancing requirements. See the letter NJ CAR sent to Governor Murphy earlier this week HERE
and also read nj.com’s coverage of the Coalition’s efforts HERE
Today’s Executive Order mandates closure of physical locations, but begs the question whether online sales are permissible. NJ CAR will seek clarification from the New Jersey State Police and New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
One positive development, the Governor also signed Executive Order 108
, which prohibits local governments from imposing their own, sometimes contradictory, orders on local businesses. Earlier this week, Bergen County dealers faced an order to close all operations when the county executive there issued an order that went further than the States’ order at that time. The Bergen County Executive subsequently rescinded the order and vowed to follow the Governor’s lead. Executive Order 108 will ensure no other county or local government official will go off half-cocked.
So what do the Governor’s Executive Orders mean for New Jersey’s franchised new car and truck dealerships?
- You must close physical retail/showroom locations effective 9:00 PM this evening (March 21, 2020);
- Service operations may continue to operate as usual
New Jersey’s mandatory lock down follows similar measures announced by the Governors of California, Illinois, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. However, unlike Pennsylvania and a number of other states, Governor Murphy’s current Executive Order did not provide a detailed list of all businesses deemed “essential.” However, the Order DID provide for a process to appeal and/or request clarification from the State.
You can access Governor Murphy’s complete Executive Order 107 HERE.
You can access Governor Murphy’s complete Executive Order 108 HERE.
You can access a summary of what both Executive Orders mean for your businesses HERE.
Read nj.com’s story, Murphy orders N.J. residents to stay home, closes non-essential businesses in state lockdown to fight coronavirus
The State also announced a new website for information and answers on New Jersey’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic: https://covid19.nj.gov.
NJ CAR will continue to keep its dealer members updated on issues related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as information becomes available.