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Coronavirus New Jersey: Gov. Murphy Unveils 6-Point Reopening Plan As Stay-At-Home Order Remains In Effect Until Further Notice

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) - New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled a six-point plan to reopening the state amid the coronavirus pandemic as the stay-at-home order remains in effect until further notice. While he wouldn't pin down a date for when the state will reopen, Murphy says his plan is based on data, science, and common sense.

"Because of the work of our New Jersey family, we can announce today a vision to put our state, and our people, on the road to recovery," Murphy said during Monday's press conference. "However, there is still much work to be done. If we let up even one bit with our aggressive social distancing measures too soon – even one day too soon – we can easily see ourselves skidding off this road."

Murphy's plan comes as there are now over 111,000 COVID-19 cases in the state, with the death toll now topping 6,000.

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Murphy's "Road Map" plan has six mile posts that must happen in the following sequence.

First, he wants to see sustained reduction in new cases of COVID-19. That means 14 days with fewer new cases and new hospitalizations.

Second, Murphy wants expanded testing. That means doubling the roughly 10,000 tests happening per day now, and he anticipates meeting that goal by the end of May.

The third step is robust contact tracing. The state needs anywhere from 1,300 to 7,000 people trained to do contact tracing.

Fourth, the state needs to identify free places for COVID-19 patients to isolate.

Step five is actual reopening, that the governor says will start with businesses and activities, which are determined to be most essential and offer the lowest risks.

And the final step is to ensure resiliency by fortifying the health care system for future outbreaks and create a state stockpile of safety equipment.

"This virus is now among us, and our task will be to contain it as best we can. But, with our public-health protocols firmly in place, and with our health care system prepared, you should not fear heading back to work or elsewhere," Murphy said.

Murphy says social distancing will most likely continue as the state starts to reopen.

Murphy says he won't "rush ahead" to reopen New Jersey ahead of other states in the region.

"This isn't just about New Jersey. For us to rush ahead of either Pennsylvania or New York or any of our other four state partners – or vice versa – would risk returning our entire region back into lockdown mode," Murphy said. "Now, to be clear, this doesn't mean that we will, or even can, take every step at the exact same time, or in the exact same way, as our neighbors. But, we will share information and make decisions based on the guidance of our public health and security experts, and with an eye on our north star, which is to protect lives across our seven states and across our nation."


Murphy will announce Tuesday the formation and members of the Governor's Restart and Recovery Commission, which will include economists, business leaders, labor leaders and health care experts.

"This road map is designed with one goal only – to restore the health, strength, and well-being of New Jersey for the long-term," Murphy said. "But, let me repeat a basic truth – until we give the public confidence that they should not be fearful, we cannot take further steps. A plan that is needlessly rushed is a plan that will needlessly fail."

Murphy says he is concerned about stay-at-home and social distancing fatigue, but if people stay committed, he believes it will speed up the timeline for meeting each of the mile posts on the road to recovery.

CBS3's Cleve Bryan contributed to this report.

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