What you need to know about the NJ state of emergency declaration

     (Photo: Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

    (Photo: Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency in advance of a storm that is expected to drop up to eight inches of snow between late tonight and tomorrow afternoon. 

    Christie, who tweeted that the storm “is expected to produce travel hazards and potentially cause power outages throughout the state,” stopped short of issuing a travel ban but asked residents “to please drive carefully and remain off the roads if possible tonight.”

    But what does the declaration actually mean?

    It authorizes the state to activate and coordinate the preparation, response and recovery efforts for the storm with all county and municipal emergency operations and governmental agencies.

    Can I drive?

    NJOEM: “The Governor’s declaration does not normally restrict citizen movements or activities. The State may limit access to affected areas due to concerns for public safety but will notify the public of these restrictions. If it is necessary to impose vehicular or personal movement restrictions, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management will alert the public using all available means, including, but not limited to: the Emergency Alert System, urgent press releases, DOT highway signs, law enforcement teletypes, etc. Every effort will be made by NJOEM to facilitate safe passage for utility, health care and emergency services workers whose presence is necessary for public safety or in response to the emergency.”

    How long will it last?

    NJOEM: “The Governor will rescind the state of emergency when it is no longer needed to provide necessary support to localities or until the threat of impending danger from the event has passed.”

    Does it bar commerce?

    NJOEM: “The Governor’s declaration does not address restrictions on the sale or provision of goods or services. However, your locality may enact restrictions under their local emergency declaration. We recommend that you contact your local government for any specific information.”

    Does my employer still have to pay me?

    NJOEM: “The Governor’s declaration does not mandate administrative policies for individual businesses or address workplace situations in which employees are unable to travel. Businesses must address hours of operation and compensation on an individual basis. Once a federal disaster is declared, employees unable to work may be eligible for unemployment assistance.”

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