NEW JERSEY — Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Wednesday that limits all day care services to only essential workers as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to climb.
Day care facilities will need to certify with the state by Friday, March 27, that they will only provide services to the children of essential workers. Centers that do not comply are mandated to close by Wednesday, April 1.
“Should this process result in any gaps in child care availability, the director of the Office of Emergency Management will direct county OEM offices to identify schools that can serve as emergency child care centers for children of essential workers up through grade eight,” Murphy said.
The governor’s administration has identified six categories of workers who are considered eligible for day care services:
- health care workers;
- law enforcement;
- first responders;
- people employed by day care centers;
- staff who provide essential government services, such as social workers;
- and essential retail workers.
Centers that do remain open will be given new health and safety guidelines to follow.
The order was issued to ensure essential workers can continue to do their jobs while schools are closed statewide, according to the governor.
“We need all of our front line workers on the job helping us get through this emergency. A lack of child care cannot be a barrier for them or our response,” Murphy said. “While these workers commit themselves to our New Jersey family, we will commit to protecting their families.”
The decision comes as state officials struggle to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. There were over 4,000 cases confirmed in the state and 62 deaths on Wednesday.