Search for COVID-19 and Reopening Information Here

What is guiding New Jersey’s recovery? What is “the Road Back”?

Last Updated: 06/15/2020

On March 9, Governor Murphy declared both a state of emergency and a public health emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to save lives, Governor Murphy issued New Jersey's stay-at-home order, which advised New Jerseyans to stay at home as much as possible from March 21 to June 9.

The Road Back

On April 27, Governor Phil Murphy outlined a vision to guide the process for restarting New Jersey and restoring the State's economic health by ensuring public health. "The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health" identifies six guiding principles and the key metrics that will guide the process for lifting restrictions.

On May 18, Governor Phil Murphy unveiled a multi-stage approach to execute the responsible and strategic economic restart to put New Jersey on the road back to recovery from COVID-19.

On Monday, June 15, New Jersey entered Stage 2 of the economic restart plan.

Multi-Stage Approach to a Strategic Restart

Governor Murphy's approach includes four stages: Maximum Restrictions, Stage One, Stage Two, and Stage Three. For more information on the activities and businesses opening in the different phases, see our reopening timeline. For a summary of the framework, see this one-page document on the reopening stages.

New Jersey will enter new stages based on data that demonstrates improvements in public health and the capacity to safeguard the public. If public health indicators, safeguarding, or compliance worsen on a sustained basis, New Jersey will be prepared to move back to more restrictive stages as well. The restart will be phased-in within each stage, rather than opening all businesses and activities at once within a stage.

New Jersey will move toward subsequent stages based on data that demonstrates improvements in public health and the capacity to safeguard the public, including:

  • Sustained improvements in public health indicators, including new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, individuals in intensive care, and ventilator use.
  • Substantial increase in testing and contact tracing capacity.
  • Sufficient resilience in New Jersey's health care system to include adequate bed capacity, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and workforce.
  • Widespread safeguarding of workplaces.
  • Widespread safeguarding and capacity of child care, schools, and transit.
  • Continued public compliance.

Six Key Principles
Six principles and key metrics will guide the process for lifting restrictions and restoring New Jersey's economic health through public health.

Principle 1: Demonstrate Sustained Reductions in New COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations

  • 14-day trend lines showing appreciable and sustained drop in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and other metrics reflecting decreasing burden of disease;
  • Hospitals stepping down from functioning under crisis standards of care.

Principle 2: Expand Testing Capacity

  • At least double current diagnostic testing capacity;
  • Prioritize testing for health care workers, essential personnel, and vulnerable populations;
  • Create a flexible testing plan accessible to all residents;
  • Expand partnerships with institutions of higher education, private-sector labs, and the federal government;
  • Ensure that those who test positive are linked to a health care provider.

Principle 3: Implement Robust Contact Tracing

  • Recruit and deploy an army of personnel who will identify and follow-up with contacts;
  • Leverage technological data and innovative solutions to increase efficiency;
  • Coordinate the approach of local and state health officials, which will have a coordinated county/regional component.

Principle 4: Secure Safe Places and Resources for Isolation and Quarantine

  • To the greatest extent possible, provide individuals who do test positive in the future with a safe and free place to isolate and protect others from COVID-19;
  • Ensure that quarantined contacts are provided supportive services, if needed.

Principle 5: Execute a Responsible Economic Restart

  • Create the Governor's Restart and Recovery Commission to advise on the process and recommend responsible and equitable decisions;
  • Plan for a methodical and strategic return to work based on level of disease transmission risk and essential classification;
  • Continuation of social distancing measures, requirements for face coverings, and work-from-home directions where feasible and appropriate;
  • Leverage any available federal funds and programs to support health care, individual, and small business recoveries.

Principle 6: Ensure New Jersey's Resiliency

  • Learn from the lessons of COVID-19 and prepare for the possibility of a resurgence;
  • Ensure hospitals, health care systems, and other health delivery facilities have inventories of personal protective equipment and ventilators;
  • Build our own state personal protective equipment and ventilator stockpile;
  • Create a playbook for future administrations for the next pandemic.