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Are golf courses, arcades, batting cages, shooting ranges, arts and crafts studios, dance studios, music lessons, and other art and recreational facilities open? What rules or safety guidance must they follow?

Last Updated: 12/30/2020

All recreational businesses may reopen their entire premises, whether indoor or outdoor. Indoor spaces must be limited to 25 percent of their capacity. These businesses include, but are not limited to:

  • Arcades
  • Archery ranges
  • Arts and crafts studios (e.g., painting, ceramics)
  • Batting cages
  • Bowling alleys
  • Dance studios
  • Golf courses
  • Golf driving ranges
  • Gymnastics
  • Martial arts studios
  • Mini golf
  • Music lessons
  • Shooting ranges
  • Tennis clubs and indoor tennis
  • Theater programs
  • Yoga studios

Recreational businesses that open indoor and outdoor spaces must follow the mitigation requirements detailed in sections 7 of page 13 of Executive Order No. 157, Executive Order No. 192, and the Health Department's Guidance for Sports, which are summarized below.

On January 2, indoor practices and competitions for organized sports may resume in accordance with health and safety protocols -- however, indoor interstate youth sports competitions continue to be prohibited in New Jersey. This does not prohibit classes, lessons, trainings, or individual activities at gyms or recreational businesses, including dance, martial arts, or gymnastics studios.

Recreational businesses that offer indoor fitness classes and activities must also follow the Department of Health's Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers and abide by the limit on indoor gatherings, currently limited to 10 people.

Any establishments that serve food or alcohol must comply with the health and safety protocols for indoor and outdoor dining, including prohibiting consumption of food or beverages indoors between 10 pm and 5 am.

In addition, facilities hosting professional and collegiate athletic competitions must follow health and safety guidelines found in Executive Order No. 157, Executive Order No. 183, and Administrative Order No. 2020-22. For more details, refer to this article.

Locations providing remote-learning supervision services for children during the school day must be licensed as child-care centers. To continue operating, existing facilities were required to submit an application for licensure to the Department of Children and Families by October 23, 2020. For more information, refer to DCF's FAQ or contact DCF's Office of Licensing at 1-877-667-9845 or dcf_ool@dcf.nj.gov.

NOTE: Arcades must adhere to additional safety requirements as outlined in the Department of Health's Executive Directive 20-023 including screening all guests, visitors, and employees for illness upon entry. Refer to the Executive Directive for a full list of required safety measures.

Mask Requirement

Under Executive Order No. 192, all employees, customers, and visitors must wear a face covering while on the premises (both indoors and outdoors), except when an individual is under two years of age or where it is impractical like when eating, drinking, or receiving a service that cannot be completed while wearing a mask.

Employees, customers, and visitors who refuse to wear a face covering may be declined entry, except when doing so would violate State or federal law and provided the employer complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination where applicable.

Employers may permit employees to remove their face covering when they are at their workstation at least six feet from others or alone in a walled space such as an office. Employers must provide face coverings to their employees.

For more details and exemptions, refer to page 4 of Executive Order No. 192.

What To Expect

The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in EO 157, EO 192, and DOH's Guidance for Sports. However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with the terms of EO 157, EO 192, and DOH's Guidance for Sports, and businesses should read the full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.

Businesses must institute the following policies for indoor and outdoor spaces:

  • Limit total capacity of any outdoor area to a number that ensures that all individuals can remain six feet apart.
  • Limit the number of patrons in any indoor premises to 25 percent capacity – excluding employees.
  • 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.
  • Limit the use of equipment rented or otherwise provided by the business to one person at a time.
  • Provide sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, to customers
  • Require reservations, cancellations and prepayments be made via electronic or telephone reservation systems to limit physical interactions.
  • Per Executive Order No. 183, smoking, including vaping, is permitted indoors only when otherwise permitted by State law.

Additional Guidance For Indoor Fitness Classes and Activities

The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in the Department of Health's guidance for health clubs/gyms/fitness centers.

However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with the terms of the Department of Health's guidance for health clubs/gyms/fitness centers, and businesses should read the full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.

Establishments that offer indoor fitness classes and activities must institute the following policies:

  • Limit occupancy of any indoor premises to 25 percent of the stated maximum capacity, if applicable, at one time, excluding staff.
  • In addition to capacity restrictions, indoor group activities (e.g., classes) can occur but must abide by the limit on indoor gatherings, currently limited to 10 people, must limit to no more 1 individual per 200 square feet of accessible space or less, AND all individuals must be able to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance from other individuals during the entire class.
  • Conduct a temperature screening and questionnaire of staff and clients upon entrance to the facility.
  • If individuals attending outdoor classes enter the center premises, whether to use a restroom or otherwise, they must be included in the capacity limit indicated above.
  • Require workers and customers to wear face coverings while in the indoor portion of the premises, except where doing so would inhibit that individual's health or where the individual is under two years of age.
  • If a customer refuses to wear a face covering for non-medical reasons and if such covering cannot be provided to the individual by the business at the point of entry, then the business must decline the individual entry into the indoor premises.
  • One-on-one personal training can occur assuming 6 feet of distance can be maintained for the majority of the training session.
  • Individual or pair activities which do not involve contact (e.g., racket ball, handball) can also occur.
  • Keep doors and windows open where possible and utilize fans to improve ventilation.
  • Inspect and evaluate the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit to ensure that the system is operating within its design specifications
  • Shared saunas and steam rooms are not permitted.

Requirements to Protect Employees and Others

Employers must comply with the following requirements:

  • Require workers and customers to maintain at least six feet of distance from one another, to the maximum extent possible;
  • Provide approved sanitization materials for employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals;
  • Ensure that employees practice hand hygiene and provide employees with sufficient break time for that purpose;
  • Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines;
  • Prior to each shift, conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance;
  • Do not allow sick employees to enter workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws;
  • Promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite; and
  • Clean and disinfect the worksite in accordance with CDC guidelines when an employee at the site has been diagnosed with COVID-19 illness.

Detailed requirements and exemptions for certain employers can be found in the full text of Executive Order No. 192.

Source: Executive Order No. 153; Executive Order No. 156; Executive Order No. 157; Executive Directive 20-023; DOH Guidance for Sports; DOH Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers; Executive Order No. 181; Executive Order No. 192