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How can I get food or other essentials if I test positive? Is there any help with food, treatment, or bills while I isolate at home? Will I get fired?

Last Updated: 04/10/2023

If you test positive for COVID-19, stay at home, isolate from others, and wear a high-quality mask if you must be around others both at home or in public. Do not go places where you cannot wear a mask like restaurants.

There are many programs in place to help you and your family including food assistance, unemployment insurance, sick leave, and job protections. Learn more below.

How can I get food or other essentials if I isolate at home?

Many pharmacies and grocery stores offer delivery. Please use these services to the extent possible. A friend or relative may also be able to bring you the supplies you need.

Local food banks may also be able to deliver to your home. Contact a food bank in your area and let them know about your situation. To find a local food bank, refer to this directory.

Seniors unable to prepare their meals and have no family member, friend, neighbor or caregiver should contact their local Area Agencies on Aging for assistance.

In addition, the New Jersey Division of Disability Services provides meals for individuals with permanent disabilities under the age of 60 living alone without support and who have an increased level of risk for serious or life-threatening complications if exposed to COVID-19.

To see if you are eligible or to apply, please call 211.

New Jerseyans enrolled in SNAP may use their Families First EBT card to purchase eligible SNAP food items at participating stores online. For more information about ordering online and to find participating stores in your area, visit the NJ SNAP Using Your Benefits page.

Those in need of food, cash, or other assistance, can learn about what programs are available and how to apply at New Jersey's official COVID-19 website in English and Spanish.

If you are still experiencing difficulties, please call 211, where assistance is free and available in several languages.

Can I use sick leave to isolate?

New Jersey has some of the most comprehensive Earned Sick Leave, Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance laws in the country, which cover all employees -- full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal.

Visit to learn more about the many state and federal laws or benefit programs that could help you.

NOTE: If you take family leave, when you return to work, you are generally entitled to return to the same position you held before leave. Your employer may not retaliate against you because you took or attempted to take leave under the NJFLA. To find out more or to file a complaint, go to or call 973-648-2700.

In addition, your employer may provide you with federal paid sick/childcare leave to care for yourself, a loved one, or to provide childcare. Your employer is not required to provide you with it after December 31, 2020, but may voluntarily do so and receive a tax credit. Learn more at

Note: These tax credits can now be used to take time off related to COVID-19 vaccinations and side effects. Learn more here.

Can I get unemployment assistance if I need to quarantine?

Visit to learn more about the many state and federal laws or benefit programs that could help you.

In addition to New Jersey's unemployment, temporary disability, and family leave benefits, there are several programs available to help you.

For more information, the Department of Labor has created a Frequently Asked Questions During the Coronavirus Emergency for NJ Workers resource guide.

Can my employer fire me if I need to isolate and can't go to work?

On March 20, 2020, Governor Murphy signed a law that prohibited an employer from firing or otherwise punishing an employee who requested time off or took time off from work based on a medical professional's determination that the employee had, or was likely to have, COVID-19. The law has expired and only applies to actions taken during the public health emergency, from March 20, 2020 through June 4, 2021. Learn more here.

If you are currently unable to work due to COVID-19 or must take care of a loved one or a child, you may use earned sick leave.

NJ employers of all sizes must provide full-time, part-time, and temporary employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year so they can care for themselves or a loved one, including for COVID-19 testing, illness, quarantine, or vaccination.

In addition, depending on your situation, you may be eligible for Temporary Disability Insurance or Workers' Compensation. To learn more, refer to the NJ Department of Labor's COVID-19 Worker Benefits and Protections page.

What if I can't safely isolate at home?

Contact your local health department if you require additional social support while in isolation or quarantine.