Murphy extends pandemic health emergency for 6th month
TRENTON — Gov. Phil Murphy on Saturday extended the pandemic public health emergency for the fifth time.
Under law, the emergency declaration has to be extended every 30 days. Murphy first declared the emergency on March 9, weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic crushed hospitals in North Jersey and long-term care facilities across the state.
“New Jersey has made a lot of progress in the fight against COVID-19, but we cannot declare victory yet,” Murphy said in a written statement Saturday. “As we continue to work to save lives and stop a resurgence of this virus, we need access to all resources available to do so.”
Executive Order 171 extends all executive orders under the Emergency Health Powers Act as well as all actions by the administration in response to the outbreak.
New Jersey's death toll on Saturday stood at 13,955 confirmed deaths with another 1,875 probable deaths. Of those, 6,916 were long-term care residents or staff.
Murphy on Friday announced that the state's hospitals on Thursday had reported no new deaths for the first time since March 10, a somber milestone that was tempered by the governor's cautions that rising cases in recent weeks could mean rolling back the loosening of restrictions.
Indoor dining and gyms remain off limits. Schools, meanwhile, are getting ready to reopen in September.
Some Republican lawmakers have proposed amending state law to limit the governor's executive orders and impose more legislative oversight.
Murphy's orders also have been challenged by some residents and businesses in court, although the lawsuits have not been successful in overturning any of the restrictions with the exception of a gun-rights challenge that got the state to consider gun shops an "essential" business.
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