On Monday, April 27, Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled his strategy for lifting COVID-19 restrictions. The plan, titled “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health,” does not specify a timeline, but instead outlines six key principles and benchmarks that will guide decisions on reopening the state.

Executive Order 131, issued April 28, creates a commission charged with advising the administration on the timing and preparation for New Jersey’s recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown.

“In the order to restore economic health, we must first promote public health,” said Murphy. “Restarting New Jersey’s economy and returning people to work will be done methodically, strategically, and responsibly.” The governor’s stay-at-home Executive Order, which has been in effect since March 21, will remain in effect in its entirety until further notice.

No Details on School Reopening The plan does not address the topic of reopening New Jersey’s schools.

On April 16, the governor said schools would remain closed until at least May 15, and he has reiterated his intent to reassess the situation closer to that date.  In a media interview on Monday, he said there was still a chance the state’s students could return to classrooms  before the end of this school year, but that the state would not “rush to reopen schools.”

The governor’s six-point plan involves at least 14 days of declines in new cases and in hospitalizations, increased testing capacity, and the implementation of a “robust” contact tracing system. The plan also involves “safe places and resources for isolation and quarantine;” the development of “responsible economic restart,” which includes creating a commission to advise on the process; and preparations for the possibility of a resurgence.

A one page description of the “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health,” plan can be found here.

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