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Gov. Murphy Announces “Phase 2” Recovery Will Begin June 15, 2020

Jun 02, 2020

Yesterday, Governor Murphy announced that New Jersey will enter “Stage 2” of its planned recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic beginning June 15, 2020. However, no formal Executive Orders or Administrative Orders have been issued yet, so the available details are limited to Governor Murphy’s press release and his comments during yesterday’s press briefing about entering Stage 2.

To date, “Stage 1” restrictions remain in effect, and despite being considered essential retail businesses, car dealerships remain subject to various limitations. Namely, dealers can now conduct in-person sales, but by appointment only. Also, dealers can continue to engage in online and remote retail sales and curbside pickup. Further, solo test drives are permitted but vehicles must be disinfected before being returned to inventory. Finally, service departments and retail sales activities must comply with the strict social distancing and infection control requirements outlined in Executive Order 122 (and recently reiterated in Administrative Order 2020-13).

Generally, “Stage 2” relaxes restrictions on activities that can be easily safeguarded. Non-essential retail will be allowed to operate in-person and indoors, on a limited basis, on June 15, 2020. It has not yet been announced what those limitations will be. However, during his press briefing, Governor Murphy shared that he expected that the guidance for non-essential retail reopening would look substantially like the guidance for essential retail. This suggests that things may not change much for essential retail businesses like car dealerships during Stage 2. In addition to non-essential retail reopening, some in-person government services like the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission (“MVC”) branch offices will resume operation. Again, no specific details about MVC services have been released, beyond some hinting that some in-person MVC services could resume before June 15.

Governor Murphy’s press release announcing Stage 2 and his press briefing about Stage 2 yesterday did not address whether any of the current restrictions on car dealerships (i.e., sales by appointment-only, capacity limits, etc.) will be lifted during Stage 2. However, Governor Murphy stated that more guidance would be issued for Stage 2 in the coming days.

NJ CAR will continue to monitor Stage 2 developments and guidance. As more information becomes available, NJ CAR will keep you informed.