3/21/20 By DAN ULLOA
Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey has issued an Executive Order that included Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) among the establishments exempted from the order closing all non-essential businesses due to Coronavirus.
In Executive Order 107, all non-essential businesses have been ordered to close indefinitely, beginning tonight at 9 pm. A list of businesses that must be closed has been made available. Exemptions besides ATCs include:
- Grocery stores
- Restaurants (only for takeout and delivery)
- Gas Stations
- Convenience Stores
- Liquor Stores
- Ancillary medical businesses
- Hardware Stores
- Laundromats and Dry Cleaners
- Pet Stores
- Car dealerships (only to provide maintenance)
- Delivery stores
- Print and Office Supply Stores
- Food banks
Furthermore, all New Jersey residents are being urged to stay home, except for a few essential duties.
“I don’t take this action lightly, but my goal is to make sure you can gather safely,” Murphy said. “Essential public health, safety, and social services will remain accessible.”
Grim Times at ATCs
The situation at Alternative Treatment Centers has only worsened as the strain of Coronavirus has increased. Patients have reported waiting in line for more than three hours outside. What worse is that the bathrooms are not available to patients who are there getting treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s and cannot wait so long for the bathroom.
Patients received an email from Breakwater ATC saying the wait could be up to four hours. Patients are being told to wait in their cars. While waiting in their car, their medical card will be checked and their order will be taken. Only existing patients are allowed to be helped right now. In addition, the ATM is not available for use. They plan to close at 5 pm on a regular basis, regardless if more patients are still waiting.
Many patients need their medical marijuana (or clinical cannabis) to function properly on a daily basis.
This is going to hurt many small CBD and head shops harder than it already has. The U.S. economy is already said to be near recession levels as many individuals across the country are being forced to file for unemployment.
Murphy had already issued an Executive Order declaring that gatherings of 50 or more people should be canceled. This has led to the cancellation or postponement of many cannabis gatherings in New Jersey.
The virus is said to spread through personal contact which is why “Social Distancing” keeping near six feet apart and avoiding social gatherings altogether is being encouraging.
Cannabis smokers have been repeatedly discouraged from sharing when getting high.
Thankfully, through the power of technology, some semblance of society and commerce is able to continue. Many white-collar professionals are companies and non-profits are able to work from home utilizing the internet, video conferences, and phones. Small businesses might seek to utilize those options as well.
Some religious services are being held now through video conference as well.
Currently, 1,327 cases of Coronavirus have been diagnosed. There have only been 16 deaths thus far though.
Hopefully this will be over soon and in the history books.