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New Jersey Eases COVID-19 Restrictions for Private Indoor Workplaces

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (A5820/S3866) and Executive Order (EO) No. 244 on June 4, 2021, ending the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (but not the overall state of emergency) first declared on March 9, 2020, in EO 103. As a result of this action, most of the executive orders issued during the COVID-19 pandemic expired on July 4, 2021.

EO 192 (signed on October 28, 2020), which established certain health and safety protocols (including face-covering requirements, social distancing practices, daily health screenings, and sanitization directives) for worksites, has now expired for most employers. As such, employers are no longer required to conduct daily screenings or adhere to the other mitigation measures set forth in EO 192 (though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that employers continue to do so). However, certain state-regulated employers (e.g., childcare facilities, camps, elementary and secondary schools, long-term care facilities, and healthcare facilities) must continue to adhere to the health and safety requirements set forth by the state.

It is unclear whether unvaccinated employees working in indoor private worksites, such as offices, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities, are still required to socially distance and wear face coverings. EO 243 (signed on May 26, 2021) lifted the masking and social distancing requirements for employees who provide proof that they are fully vaccinated, but it mandated that employees who failed to show proof that they were fully vaccinated would have to continue to wear face coverings and socially distance in common areas. EO 243 is not contained in the list from the June 4, 2021, press release of 14 executive orders that remain in effect until January 1, 2022, and it is unclear whether it expired on July 4, 2021. Governor Murphy indicated that EO 243 had expired, stating in his July 2, 2021, press release that “masking, social distancing, and other health and safety protocols … will no longer be mandatory across businesses and facilities, regardless if they are open to the public or not.” While it may no longer be a requirement, the state and the CDC recommends unvaccinated employees or employees who refuse to provide proof of vaccination to continue to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing practices in indoor workplaces.

In sum, New Jersey employers operating indoor private worksites are no longer required to conduct daily screenings of workers or adhere to the other mitigation measures originally set forth in EO 192. Also, it appears that employees in indoor private worksites are no longer required to wear face coverings and social distance regardless of whether they show proof that they are fully vaccinated. Although New Jersey has lifted daily screening, masking, and social distancing requirements, the state still recommends that employers adhere to them.

© 2021, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 194
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About this Author

Mark Diana, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Morristown, Labor and Employment Litigation Law Attorney
Shareholder

Mark has a diverse litigation and counseling practice representing both private and public sector employers.  For more than 25 years he has been defending employers in discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation, breach of contract, wage and hour, and other employment-related cases before state and federal courts, administrative agencies and arbitration tribunals.  Mark also provides counseling and compliance advice to employers with respect to  the full spectrum of employment laws (including the ADA, Title VII, FMLA, FLSA, FCRA, WARN, NJLAD, CEPA,...

973-656-1600
Jennifer Rygiel-Boyd Employment Law, Litigation, Unfair Competition and Trade Secrets Attorney Ogletree Deakins
Of Counsel

Jennifer Rygiel-Boyd is Of Counsel to the firm where her practice focuses on the defense of cases involving allegations of wrongful discharge, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, breach of contract and other statutory and common law claims.  Ms. Rygiel-Boyd also prosecutes cases involving breach of restrictive covenants, breach of loyalty and misappropriation of confidential information and trade secrets.  She regularly litigates in both state and federal courts, as well as before the various governmental administrative agencies.

In addition to her litigation...

973-656-1600
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