1/4/21 UPDATE: Workplace Health & Safety Standards That Must Be Followed for Businesses to Be Open

SOURCE: Business.NJ.gov

Every business, non-profit, governmental, and educational entity that requires or permits its workforce to be physically present at a worksite must abide by the standardized operational requirements outlined in Executive Order 192 and listed below in Health & Safety Standards for All Employers.

Businesses must also abide by all additional requirements outlined for their industry listed under Industry-Specific Guidelines.

This article also identifies Businesses that Must Be Closed as well as Gathering Limits in the state of New Jersey.

Health & Safety Standards for All Employers

Every business, non-profit, governmental, and educational entity that requires or permits its workforce to be physically present at a worksite must abide by the following requirements, at minimum, to protect employees, customers, and others who come into contact with its operations:

  • Require workers and customers to maintain at least six feet of distance from one another, to the maximum extent possible;

  • Require everyone to wear face masks, except when an employee is at their workstation at least six feet from others, or is alone in a walled space such as an office—Note that employers may be authorized to prevent individuals who refuse to wear a mask from entering the worksite, where such actions are consistent with state and federal law;

  • Provide face masks for their employees;

  • Provide approved sanitization materials for employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals;

  • Ensure that employees practice hand hygiene and provide ​employees with sufficient break time for that purpose;

  • Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines;

  • Prior to each shift, conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance;

  • Do not allow sick employees to enter workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws; and

  • Promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite.

In addition, under federal OSHA law, employers must protect workers from workplace hazards that can cause illness or injury, provide required personal protective equipment (PPE), and ensure its use.

It's also against New Jersey Wage and Hour law for an employer to deduct the cost of protective equipment from an employee’s pay.

Employees who believe that their employer is not following the protocols articulated in EO 192 can file workplace safety complaints here.

Detailed requirements and exemptions can be found in Executive Order 192. Many sectors face additional requirements summarized in the articles below.

Industry-Specific Guidelines

Under Executive Order 195, municipalities and counties have the option to regulate the operating hours of non-essential businesses after 8 p.m. Municipalities and counties cannot impose other actions that differ from statewide rules, such as restrictions on essential businesses, full business closures, or restrictions on gatherings or capacity.

Retail businesses must follow Department of Health Guidance for Retail Businesses, and Administrative Order 2020-22, including limiting occupancy to 50% of store capacity, and installing a physical barrier where possible. Self-service food, is not permitted at retail businesses, including grocery stores. While indoor portions of malls may be open, valet parking, communal play areas, and communal seating remain closed. Food courts and in-mall entertainment businesses, must follow guidelines for indoor dining and entertainment businesses respectively. Vending machines and stroller rentals may be open. Department of Health Guidance for Winter Holiday and Celebrations discourages indoor Santa visits and recommends that if they do take place they should be touchless experiences. Food or beverage establishments must follow Department of Health Protocols for Outdoor Dining, Health and Safety Standards for Indoor Dining, Executive Order 194, and DCA's guidance for the use of outdoor space during the winter months. Areas with a fixed roof, if two sides are open, comprising over 50% of their total wall space, may operate under rules for outdoor dining under Executive Order 163. Food or beverage establishments may not operate their indoor premises between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery services can continue after 10 p.m. Businesses authorized to be open outdoors after 10 p.m may only do so when the consumption of food or beverage indoors is prohibited between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. This restriction does not apply to indoor dining in New Jersey airports. Seating at the bar in indoor areas of bars and restaurants will be prohibited during all operating hours. Restaurants will be allowed to have groups at tables indoors that are closer than six feet together, if they are separated by barriers that comply with Department of Health guidance.

Restaurants are allowed to set up heated, plastic domes outdoors, limited to one group each, and subject to health and safety protocols outlined in EO 194, and rules for outdoor dining in