Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Requiring Child Care Centers Close

Governor Phil Murphy holds a coronavirus briefing in Trenton on March 23, 2020. (Edwin J. Torres for Governor’s Office).

Governor Phil Murphy today signed an executive order directing all child care centers in New Jersey to close by Wednesday, April 1, unless they serve only as emergency child care centers for the children of essential workers. Those centers who will exclusively care for these children of essential workers must certify as such by Friday, March 27.

“Essential personnel are a vital part of our response and limiting child care to solely these individuals will assist in flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases, as well as provide our front-line workers with the critical services they need to get through this emergency,” said Governor Murphy. “A lack of child care cannot be a barrier for our essential employees, and while these workers commit themselves to our New Jersey family, we will commit ourselves to protecting their families.”

Among the directives, the Governor’s executive order directs:

The Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, in consultation with the Commissioners of the Departments of Education, Human Services, and Health, shall implement a plan permitting access to emergency child care services for the children of “essential persons.”

Any child care centers that fail to timely certify will be closed to the public as of Wednesday, April 1, 2020, and remain closed through the school closure period.

“Essential persons” include health care workers; law enforcement personnel, fire and emergency services personnel, and staff at correctional facilities; individuals employed at emergency child care centers; staff working for entities that provide essential social services; and essential government employees.