New Jersey Executive Order Tightens Health and Safety Standards for Employers

On October 28, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 192. The Order sets forth health and safety standards for all businesses, non-profits and governmental or education entities. Under the Order, employers must take the following steps:

  • Require individuals to stand six feet apart to the maximum extent possible, or install physical barriers if distancing is not possible, and to wear masks;
  • Require employees, customers and anyone else in the workplace to wear masks while on the premises, except for individuals under two years old or if impracticable (ex: when eating, drinking or providing a service that prevents wearing a mask);
  • Conduct daily health screenings of employees, such as visual employee symptom checks, temperature checks, self-assessment checklists or health questionnaires;
  • Provide masks and sanitization products;
  • Ensure that employees practice regular hand washing and are provided adequate time to do so;
  • Routinely clean and disinfect high-contact surfaces, such as safety equipment, restrooms, doorknobs and handrails; and
  • Send home employees who appear to have symptoms of COVID-19, in compliance with State and federal sick leave laws, and notify employees of any known exposure to the virus.

Employers of health care workers and essential workers are exempted from these requirements to the extent they interfere with the workers’ duties. Notably under the Order, employers can prevent employees or customers who decline to wear a face mask from entering the workplace, unless such denial would violate State or federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Additionally, the Order directs the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (“NJDOL”) to address worker complaints by establishing an online complaint form and developing an investigation and inspection protocol for complaints.

The Order became effective November 5, 2020.

For more information, please contact a Stevens & Lee attorney.