The New Jersey Department of Health has set up a COVID-19 hotline for the public at 800-962-1253 or 800-222-1222 or visit nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml, where callers can speak with trained medical professionals.
Statewide: The state of New Jersey has created a portal for businesses to get information on responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The website, at cv.business.nj.gov, provides guidance as well as the latest information on restrictions in place due to the coronavirus. As of press time, those restrictions were:
• Bars and restaurants in New Jersey must be closed for on-premise service and may provide take-out and delivery service only. Establishments will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol. Drive-throughs, take-out, and delivery offered by restaurants and other delivery services can continue to operate.
• All gatherings must be limited to 50 persons or fewer, with limited exceptions.
• All casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters, and performing arts centers must close to the public beginning on March 16.
• All other non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.
• All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor or limited brewery license, are limited to offering delivery and/or take out-services only.
For specific guidance for employers on preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, the state advises following the CDC’s temporary guidelines, which are online at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Business owners and employers can also call the New Jersey Business Action Center at 800-JERSEY-7 or chat live with a BAC representative via the business.nj.gov website.
For non-business coronavirus questions, New Jersey residents can call 800-222-1222 or visit nj.gov/health.
The Department of Health advises all sick employees to stay home and use the paid sick leave that is provided by state law as of October, 2018. Employers of all sizes must provide employees with up to 40 hours of earned sick leave per year.
The business community is anticipating that businesses of all kinds are going to be massively impacted by the coronavirus crisis. State agencies are developing plans to support businesses through the crisis, and information about them will be posted at business.nj.gov.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) currently offers programs and loans for small and medium-sized businesses. For more information, call the EDA at 609-858-6767 or visit contactus.njeda.com.
The CDC provides the following recommendations for preventing getting infected with COVID-19
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with the person who is sick should not stay in the same room with them, or they should wear a facemask if they enter a room with the person who is sick.
The CDC provides the following recommendations if you are sick and you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19:
Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Avoid public areas, public transportation and ride-sharing services, and separate yourself from others in your home.
Limit contact with pets and animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
Call ahead: If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, then immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
Monitor your symptoms. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.
The Mental Health Association of New Jersey is also offering mental health support for those dealing with COVID-19-related issues. For emotional support, guidance, and mental health referrals, call 877-294-4357 or visit mhanj.org/covid-a19.
Did we miss something? If you know of a good resource that can help individuals or organizations cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, please email business editor Diccon Hyatt at email@example.com or give us a call at 609-396-1511 ext. 122. U.S. 1 is committed to supporting the Route 1 corridor business community during the outbreak.