b'ANJC NewsANJC Leadership ANJC News!State of Emergency:LEGAL EASEWhat Does This Mean UnderNew Jersey State Law? By Jeffrey RandolphANJC Legal Counsel In the midst of the coronavirus outbreakA declaration of a state of emergencyThe governors declaration does not at the time of this writing, many statedoes not, in an of itself, compel citizensnormally restrict citizen movements or governors have declared a state ofto take any particular action. Rather, theactivities. The state may limit access to emergency and it is anticipated thedeclaration empowers the New Jerseyaffected areas due to concerns for public federal government may follow suit. Office of Emergency Managementsafety but will notify the public of these This raises questions as to what such(NJOEM) to act on behalf of therestrictions. If it is necessary to impose a declaration actually means. Thegovernor to employ the resources andvehicular or personal movement restric-tions, the NJOEM will alert the public LEGAL Q&Ausing all available means, including, Executive Directors Update but not limited to: the Emergency Alert System, urgent press releases, DOT highway signs, law enforcement teletypes, etc. The governors declaration does not mandate that private businesses must close or curtail operations in most cases. Legislative UpdateBusinesses must address hours of oper-INSURANCE Update ation and compensation on an individual basis. There are benefits available to employers and employees depending upon the particular emergency and employees specific situation, including but not limited to: i) unemployment benefits if the employee is told not to come to work or is let go due to a reduction in force; ii) partial unemploy-MedicareQ&AMedicare Update ment benefits if the employees normal work hours are reduced by 20% or following is a summary of the implica- assets of state, local and private agen- more; iii) short term disability benefits tions of a declaration of a state cies to provide immediate assistance toif the employee is diagnosed with an of emergency and why this is done.localities. Typically, the New Jersey Stateillness related to the emergency that Police, National Guard, and departmentsprevents them from working; iv) workers A state governor is empowered by stateof Environmental Protection, Trans- compensation benefits if the employee law to declare a state of emergencyportation and Health are called uponis exposed to illness at work; and v) when he/she believes a disaster,rather quickly to respond to the event,Family Medical Leave Act benefits if the outbreak, or other severe situation hasand other departments are added asemployee must care for a relative that occurred or may be imminent that isneeded. was struck ill related to the emergency. severe enough to require state aid toThe state of emergency lasts until the supplement local resources in preventingAfter the Governor issues the declara- governor officially rescinds the decla-or alleviating damages, loss, hardshiption, NJOEM puts the State Emergencyration when it is no longer needed to or suffering. This declaration authorizesOperations Plan into effect. It mayprovide necessary support to localities the Governor to speed state agencyalso activate the State Emergencyor until the threat of impending danger assistance to communities in need. ItOperations Center to full 24-hourfrom the event has passed.enables him or her to make resourcesstaffing to coordinate and direct State immediately available to rescue, evac- response and recovery operations. InThis article is a general summary of uate, shelter, provide essential goodsaddition, NJOEM may call on a numberemergency powers of the state and what (i.e., heating fuel, food etc.) and quellof private agencies such as the Americanthey mean. For more detailed informa-disturbances in affected localities. It mayRed Cross, The Salvation Army, andtion on New Jersey specific states of also position the state to seek federalthe Voluntary Organizations Active inemergency, visit the New Jersey Office assistance when the scope of the eventDisaster (VOAD) network to fulfill criticalof Emergency Management website at: exceeds the states resources.missions.http://ready.nj.gov/.8 I Spring 2020 www.anjc.info'