April 10, 2020
Jennifer B. Barr, Esq.

On April 8, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 122.  This Executive Order requires cloth face coverings to be worn by customers and employees in essential retail businesses, and specifies other sanitation measures for essential retail, construction, manufacturing, and warehousing businesses.  In addition, the Order requires notification to workers of potential exposure to COVID-19.  The Executive Order also halts non-essential construction during the coronavirus outbreak.  The order will take effect on Friday, April 10, at 8:00 p.m.

The highlights of EO-122 are as follows.

New Sanitation Policies for Essential Retail Businesses

Where do New Jersians need to wear masks?  Anyone going to the store for groceries, medication, or other essentials – in other words, when going to essential businesses defined in Executive Order 107 and any subsequent Administrative Orders – must wear a mask.  Employees in these essential businesses must also wear masks and, in some cases, gloves.  

Essential businesses that are permitted to maintain in-person operations pursuant to Executive Order 107 and other Administrative Orders must adopt policies that include, at minimum, the following:

  • Masks – employees and customers are required to wear “cloth face coverings” while on the premises, except if mask would “inhibit that individual’s health” or where the individual is under two years of age.  Businesses can refuse entry to a customer who refuses to wear a cloth face covering – unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, in which case the business should provide alternative means of pickup or delivery of such goods.
  • Gloves – businesses must provide employees with gloves to wear when in contact with customers or goods
  • Occupancy – limited to 50% of the stated maximum store capacity at one time
  • Hours of operation – must permit, if possible, access solely to high-risk individuals as defined by the CDC
  • Physical barrier – at check-out, there must be a physical barrier wherever feasible between the cashier and the customer
  • Six Feet Apart – ensure that customers maintain a 6-foot distance except at the moment of payment
  • Check-out lanes – demarcate six-foot spaces for separation
  • Infection control practices – essential business must adopt policies regarding regular hand washing, “coughing and sneezing etiquette,” and proper tissue usage and disposal
  • Employee breaks – to allow for hand washing throughout the work day
  • Payment – arrange for contact-less pay options, such as pick-up or delivery wherever feasible, considering populations that do not have access to the internet
  • Sanitation – provide sanitation material (sanitizer or sanitizing wipes) to employees and customers
  • Signage – place signs a entrance and in store alerting employees and customers of the six-foot social distancing requirement

Non-Essential Construction

EO-122 also halts non-essential construction.  What is non-essential construction? Better asked, what is essential construction?  

Essential construction includes projects as follows:

  • Single-family homes or apartments – projects that are already underway, where an individual already resides, when the construction crew is 5 workers or less, including additions to single-family homes and solar panels
  • Prospective residence – projects already underway for a residence where a buyer or tenant has already entered a contract to occupy the residence by a certain date, and construction is necessary to ensure the unit’s availability by that date
  • Health care service delivery necessary for hospitals, health care facilities, and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities
  • Transportation projects, such as roads, bridges, mass transit facilities, airports, or seaports
  • Utility projects necessary for energy and electricity production and transmission, or decommissioning of facilities for electricity generation
  • Residential projects for affordable housing
  • School projects for K-12 and higher education
  • Retail projects – construction projects involving facilities that manufacture, distribute, store, or service goods sold online or sold by essential retail businesses
  • Data centers or facilities critical to a business’s ability to function
  • Social services such as homeless shelters
  • First responders – projects necessary to support law enforcement agencies and first responders with regard to COVID-19 emergency
  • Federal, State, or municipal government contracts that must be completed to meet a deadline established by the Federal government
  • Securing sites – any project necessary to secure the site or structural integrity
  • Emergency repairs for the health and safety of residents

Essential Construction Related Businesses

Manufacturers, warehouses, and those businesses engaged in essential construction must adopt policies as follows:

  • Prohibit non-essential visitors from entering the worksite
  • Limit meetings and workgroups to 10 individuals
  • Six-feet separation
  • Stagger work start and stop times, limit number of workers entering and leaving worksite at the same time
  • Lunch breaks – stagger where practicable
  • Break rooms, common areas, restrooms – restrict number of individuals
  • Face masks – require workers and visitors to wear cloth face coverings while on premises, with certain exceptions
  • Gloves – require employees to wear gloves while on premises
  • Infection control practice – require hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal
  • Limit sharing of tools, equipment, and machinery
  • Provide hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to workers and visitors
  • Sanitize high-touch areas such as restrooms, breakrooms, equipment, and machinery                     

Sanitation Requirements for All Essential Retail, Construction, Manufacturing, and Warehousing Businesses

All essential retail businesses, warehousing businesses, manufacturing businesses, and businesses performing essential construction projects must also adopt policies that include, at minimum, the following requirements:

  • Sick employees – send home immediately 
  • 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;
  • Continue to follow CDC guidelines for maintaining a clean, safe and healthy work environment

Sanitation Requirements for In-Person Operations

Where a business is authorized to maintain in-person operations, owners of buildings used for commercial, industrial or other enterprises, including but not limited to facilities for warehousing, manufacturing, commercial offices, airports, grocery stores, universities, colleges, government, hotels, and residential buildings with at least 50 units, shall adopt policies that, at minimum, implement the following cleaning protocols in areas where operations are conducted:

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas routinely in accordance with CDC guidelines, particularly in spaces that are accessible to staff, customers, tenants, or other individuals, and ensure cleaning procedures following a known or potential exposure in a facility are in compliance with CDC recommendations;
  • Otherwise maintain cleaning procedures in all other areas of the facility; and
  • Ensure that the facility has a sufficient number of workers to perform the above protocols effectively and in a manner that ensures the safety of occupants, visitors, and workers.

For a copy of Executive Order No. 122, click here.