In New Jersey, all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear face coverings in indoor spaces open to the public, including retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses, government buildings open to the public, and on public transportation. Businesses have the right to insist on stricter mask policies.
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 (EO) 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.
Health & Safety Standards for All Employers
On Friday, May 28, the State will no longer require face coverings or social distancing in most indoor public spaces. There are exceptions for public transportation, health care facilities, child care facilities, K-12 schools, and other areas of concern. In addition, businesses may continue to require face coverings for employees, customers, and guests. Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to follow CDC guidance and wear masks and social distance in indoor public spaces. For detailed information, refer to the Governor’s announcement. 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 in indoor spaces, 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.
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.
Employers can check with the NJDOL about their health and safety questions. The department can be reached by email at SafetyTraining@dol.nj.gov or at 609-633-2587. NJDOL also offers free health and safety trainings and consultations. For more information on consultations visit www.nj.gov/labor/consultation and for trainings visit www.nj.gov/labor/training.
Detailed requirements and exemptions can be found in EO 192. Many sectors face additional requirements summarized in the articles below.
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 limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain six feet apart. Establishments are not subject to a percentage-based capacity limit.
While indoor portions of malls may be open, valet parking, communal play areas, and communal seating must remain closed.
Related Guidance: Department of Health Guidance for Retail Businesses
Food or beverage establishments must limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain six feet apart, unless separated by a physical barrier. Establishments are not subject to a percentage-based capacity limit.
Indoor bar seating and buffets at bars and restaurants may resume.
Areas with a fixed roof and two sides open (comprising over 50% of total wall space) may operate under outdoor dining rules.
Restaurants may expand outdoor dining premises through November 30, 2022, or whenever indoor dining returns to full capacity—whichever is later—according to the permit process outlined by the ABC.
Related Guidance: DOH Protocols for Outdoor Dining, Safety Standards for Indoor Dining, and DCA's guidance for the use of outdoor space.
Microbreweries and brewpubs may be open for home delivery. Depending on the type of license they hold, food service may be allowed; business owners should consult the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control's ruling to determine if they qualify.
Licensed personal care businesses must limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain six feet apart, unless separated by a physical barrier. Establishments are not subject to a percentage-based capacity limit. ,
Saunas, steam rooms, and shared bathing facilities must remain closed.
Tattoo and tanning facilities must follow Department of Health standards for tanning and body art establishments.
Clients may receive services that require the removal of a face covering, provided that clients wear a face covering at all times before and after the service.
Related Guidance: Licensed businesses must abide by the Division of Consumer Affairs' comprehensive safety standards for Cosmetology, Massage, and Bodywork licensees.
Child care centers must follow the Department of Children and Families' Child Care Safety Requirements.
All recreational and entertainment businesses must limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain 6 feet apart. Establishments are not subject to a percentage-based capacity limit.
Any recreational facility providing child care support must comply with all requirements of child care centers, including being licensed by the Department of Children and Families.
Amusement parks, theme parks and water parks must follow requirements detailed in the Department of Health’s Standards for Outdoor and Indoor High-Touch Amusement and Recreation Activities.
Carnivals and Fairs can operate at the amusement business capacity (currently there is no percentage-based capacity restriction for these businesses but they must limit capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain six feet apart).
Water parks and pools must also adhere to the requirements of Executive Order 153 and the Department of Health’s Standards for Pools and Aquatic Recreation Facilities.
Recreational businesses that offer indoor fitness classes and activities must also follow the Department of Health's Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers and abide by the limit on indoor gatherings.
Entertainment centers where performances are viewed or given must limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain six feet apart. Establishments are not subject to a percentage-based capacity limit. In addition, the limit for indoor performances cannot exceed 250 individuals. There is no outdoor gathering limit.
Large indoor venues should check for additional updates under the Indoor Gatherings section of this page.
Gyms and fitness centers limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain 6 feet apart.
The following protocols must be followed: logs maintained of when all gym members and staff are in the facility; equipment spaced to allow a minimum of six-feet of distance between all gym-goers; and equipment only made available that can be properly sanitized in-between uses.
Related Guidance: Department of Health's Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness centers
Casinos must limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain 6 feet apart. Establishments are not subject to a percentage-based capacity limit.
Smoking is prohibited indoors
Reopening plans must be submitted to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Related Guidance: The Division of Gaming Enforcement, and reopening protocols from the Casino Association of New Jersey.
Hotels, motor hotels, motels, and other established guesthouses must follow written policies as defined in Department of Health Protocols for Hotel Sanitization and Executive Order No. 192.
Private fitness classes, lessons, and trainings at gyms, studios and similar locations are permitted to continue but must abide by the indoor gathering limit of 250 people, subject to social distancing; there is no outdoor gathering limit.
All outdoor sports practices and competitions must limit the number of attendees who are not athletes, coaches, referees, trainers, and other individuals who are necessary for the practice or competition to a number that ensures the individuals or groups can remain six feet apart.
All indoor sports practices and competitions are currently limited to 250 people. Athletes, coaches, referees, up to two parents or guardians per athlete, and other individuals necessary for professional, collegiate or youth sports competition are not counted towards the 250-person limit. All indoor interstate games and tournaments up to and including the high school level are prohibited. All outdoor interstate youth sports competitions will be permitted.
Large indoor venues should check for additional updates under the Indoor Gatherings section of this page.
Career and training schools must follow protocols in Paragraph 10 of Executive Order 155.
Racetracks must limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain six feet apart. Establishments are not subject to a percentage-based capacity limit.
Residential and overnight camps will be allowed to reopen this summer.
Related Guidance: The Department of Health's 2021 COVID-19 Youth Summer Camp Standards.
Medical facilities may continue to operate.
Facilities conducting elective services are required to comply with Guidance for Hospitals to Resume Elective Services and Guidance for Ambulatory Surgery Centers to Resume Elective Services. Further NJDOH Legal and Regulatory Compliance documentation is available from the department as well.
Adult Day Care Centers remain closed.
Indoor private social gatherings, such as parties at private residences, are limited to 50 people.
Indoor business gatherings and organized gatherings in public settings (e.g. conferences, expositions, meetings of fraternal organizations, job trainings, events hosted by senior centers) will be limited to 250 people. Social distancing must be maintained and the indoor mask requirement will remain in effect to protect workers and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Indoor catered events, wedding receptions, wedding ceremonies, funerals, and memorial services that do not involve a religious element are limited to 250 people per room, excluding venue employees, so long as social distancing can be maintained.
Indoor gatherings for religious services and celebrations including wedding ceremonies, funerals, and memorial services that involve a religious element must limit capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain 6 feet apart.
New Jersey allows dance floors at private catered events to reopen, with masking and social distancing requirements in place, meaning groups would have to stay six feet apart on the dance floor. Dance floors will remain closed at bars and other related businesses, such as night clubs.
Large indoor venues with fixed seating capacity of 1,000 or more may host indoor events at 30% capacity. All attendees including individuals or groups of individuals that purchase tickets together must remain six feet apart.
Outdoor gatherings have no capacity limits, however social distancing must be practiced. If any business is violating the required guidelines, you can report it to the State at covid19.nj.gov/violation, or to your Local Health Department, which you can identify with the Find Your Local Health Department tool.
Source: Executive Order Nos. 107, 108, 110, 133, 142, 147, 149, 150, 152, 153, 154, 155, 157, 161, 163, 181, 192, 194, 195, 204, 220, 225, 228, 230, 232, 234, 235, 237, 238, 239,241; Administrative Orders 2020-5, 2020-6, 2020-8, 2020-10, 2020-11, 2020-13, 2020-15, 2020-22, 2020-24, 2020-25, 2021-01; April 18 Press Release on Marinas and Boatyards