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New Jersey Allows Re-Opening of Outdoor Tennis and Other Recreational Businesses, with Restrictions, and Loosens Some Prior Restrictions on Golf

On May 18, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued  Executive Order 147, which allows for the resumption of certain outdoor recreational businesses (subject to conditions and restrictions), and loosens some of the restrictions that had been placed on golf courses.   Some of the provisions of Executive Order 147 took effect on May 19, 2020, and others will take effect at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020.

Outdoor Recreational Businesses or Activities that Have Been Closed

Pursuant to Executive Order 147, the following outdoor recreational businesses or activities that were closed by previous Executive Order 107  (which we wrote about here) are permitted to reopen to the public or their members:

  • Archery ranges;

  • Batting cages;

  • Golf driving ranges;

  • Horseback riding;

  • Shooting ranges; and

  • Tennis clubs.

To reopen, these outdoor recreational businesses or activities must adopt policies that include, at minimum, the following requirements:

  • Require that reservations, cancellations and pre-payments be made via electronic or telephone reservation systems to limit physical interactions. Such policies shall, wherever possible, consider populations that do not have access to internet service or credit cards;

  • Limit capacity to no more than 10 people at the same time;

  • Install a physical barrier, such as a shield guard, between visitors and employees wherever feasible or otherwise ensuring six feet of distance between those individuals, except at the moment of payment;

  • Limit the use of equipment rented or otherwise provided by the recreational business to one person, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners;

  • Demarcate and post signs that denote six feet of spacing in all commonly used and other applicable areas or where people may form a line;

  • Require infection control practices, such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal;

  • Provide employees break time for repeated handwashing throughout the workday;

  • Provide sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, to staff and customers;

  • Limit occupancy in restrooms that remain open to avoid over-crowding and maintain social distancing through signage and, where practicable, the utilization of attendants to monitor capacity; and

  • Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas including, at minimum, the following cleaning protocols:

    • Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with the Department of Health (“DOH”) and CDC guidelines, particularly in spaces that are accessible to staff, customers, or members, or other individuals, and ensure cleaning procedures following a known or potential exposure in compliance with CDC recommendations;

    • Clean and disinfect equipment that is rented, including but not limited to, firearms, helmets, bats, mitts, gloves, balls, bows, arrows, clubs, and tennis rackets, in accordance with CDC and DOH guidelines; and

    • Train and equip employees to perform the above protocols effectively and in a manner that promotes the safety of the visitors and staff;

  • Place additional restrictions on areas of the business, as necessary, to limit person-to-person interactions and facilitate appropriate social distancing;

  • Immediately separate and send home workers who appear to have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 illness upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day;

  • Promptly notify workers of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite, consistent with the confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and any other applicable laws;

  • Clean and disinfect the worksite in accordance with CDC guidelines when a worker at the site has been diagnosed with COVID-19 illness; and

  • Continue to follow guidelines and directives issued by the DOH, the CDC and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, as applicable, for maintaining a clean, safe and healthy work environment.

Executive Order 147 states that the following activities and business shall remain closed, even where they are located at outdoor recreational businesses or activities that are permitted to open:

  • Picnic areas;

  • Playgrounds;

  • Pavilions;

  • Fitness centers;

  • Locker rooms; and

  • Other buildings, amenities, or facilities, except for restrooms and facilities providing access to an outdoor facility where no other means of access is available.

In addition, amusement parks, arcades, and other places of public amusement (such as a boardwalk) that are located at outdoor recreational businesses or activities permitted to reopen pursuant to Executive Order 147 (or any other Executive Order issued after March 21, 2020), must remain closed pursuant to prior Executive Order 107.

Executive Order 147 also states that brick-and-mortar premises of all-terrain vehicle and dirt bike rental businesses must remain closed.  Consistent with prior Executive Order 142, however, they are permitted to reopen to the public for “curbside pickup,” provided they abide by the applicable terms of Executive Order 142  (which we wrote about here).  These businesses must also include protocols for cleaning and disinfecting rental equipment, in accordance with CDC and DOH guidelines.

Community Gardens shall be allowed to reopen provided they comply with the applicable recommendations and policies set forth in Executive Order 133, which reopened  state parks and requires policies, such as use of face masks, social distancing, operating at 50% capacity and prohibiting organized sporting and other activities and picnicking (and which we wrote about here).

Executive Order 147 reiterates that “[e]mployees, visitors, members, and other individuals should wear face coverings in any setting at outdoor recreational businesses or activities permitted to reopen . . .  and community gardens where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health, or where the individual is under two years of age.”  It also clarifies that “[n]othing in the terms of any Executive Order issued after March 21, 2020 shall be construed to limit, prohibit, or restrict access to benches and other resting places in parks, beaches, lakes, businesses, and recreational areas open to the public for individuals with medical conditions or mobility impairments.”

The above portions of Executive Order 147 that allow for the reopening of certain outdoor recreational businesses or activities are effective at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020 and expressly supersede certain relevant prior Executive and Administrative Orders.

Loosening of Restrictions on Golf

In Executive Order 133 (which we wrote about here), Gov. Murphy permitted the reopening of golf courses, subject to certain restrictions (including a limit of two players per tee time and a prohibition on use of caddies).  Executive Order 147 loosens some of those restrictions, and now allows:

  • Four players per tee time;

  • Use of “forecaddies” (i.e., a person positioned up ahead on a golf hole whose job is to track golfers’ shots), but not caddies;

  • Club and equipment rentals, provided that such policy requires:

    • Rental equipment be limited to one person, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners; and

    • Protocols for cleaning and disinfecting rental equipment, in accordance with CDC and DOH guidelines.

  • Restrooms to remain open, subject to frequent sanitization pursuant to, at minimum, the following cleaning protocols:

    • Routinely clean and disinfect high-touch areas at appropriate intervals in accordance with CDC and DOH guidelines, particularly in spaces that are accessible to staff, players, or other individuals, including, but not limited to, restroom facilities, counter tops, sinks, door knobs, other common surfaces, and other frequently touched surfaces;

    • Limit occupancy in restrooms that remain open to avoid over-crowding and maintain social distancing through signage and, where practicable, the utilization of attendants to monitor capacity; and

    • Train and equip workers to perform the above protocols effectively and in a manner that promotes the safety of public and staff.

Executive Order 147 states that Paragraph 9 of Executive Order 133 is superseded to the extent it closed golf driving ranges, limited tee times to two players, forecaddies and restrooms, and prohibited club and equipment rentals, but otherwise remains in full force and effect.

©2020 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 142
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Jennifer Barna Employment Lawyer Epstein Becker

JENNIFER STEFANICK BARNA is a Senior Counsel in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management and Litigation practices, in the firm's Newark office. Her practice focuses on civil litigation and corporate counseling in the areas of employment law and complex commercial matters. Ms. Barna represents businesses in a broad spectrum of industries, including commercial real estate, financial services, health care, and retail.

Ms. Barna's experience includes:

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