On October 28, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order Number 192, which mandates that every employer that “requires or permits its workforce, whether in part or as a whole, to be physically present at a worksite to perform work” abide certain minimum workplace requirements.
These requirements, which become effective on November 5, 2020 at 6:00 a.m., include that all employers ensure the following:
- Individuals at the worksite must maintain at least six (6) feet of distance from one another in the workplace to the maximum extent possible (including common areas, during office meetings and when employees enter and exit the workplace);
- Employees, customers, visitors and other individuals entering the worksite must wear a cloth or disposable face mask while on the premises. Employees may remove such facemasks when at their desk and more than six (6) feet from other individuals or when alone in a walled office. Employers must provide employees with face masks at no cost to the employee. Employers may deny entry to the workplace to anyone who refuses to wear a face covering, subject to any reasonable accommodation requirement imposed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) or applicable State law;
- Provision of sanitation materials, including hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, as approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), to employees, customers and visitors at no cost;
- Ensuring that employees practice regular hand hygiene;
- Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with the New Jersey Department of Health (“NJDOH”) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) guidelines;
- Prior to each shift conduct daily health checks of employees;
- Immediately separate and send home employees who appear to have symptoms of COVID-19;
- In accordance with legal confidentiality requirements, promptly notify all employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite;
- Clean and disinfect the worksite in accordance with CDC guidelines when an employee at the site tests positive for COVID-19; and
- Continue to follow guidelines issued by the NJDOH, CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”).
Per Executive Order 192, “[a]ny employer that fails to adhere to the protocols outlined in this Order or to any subsequent requirements issued by the Commissioner of the [NJ]DOH is subject to, among other actions, closure by the Commissioner of the [NJ]DOH pursuant to N.J.S.A. 26:13-8.”
Executive Oder 192 does not provide any individual with a private right of action.
New Jersey employers should consult with counsel to enact appropriate workplace safety measures and ensure compliance with Executive Order 192.