Search for COVID-19 and Reopening Information Here

Are libraries open? What precautions or policies must be in place?

Last Updated: 03/19/2021

Indoor portions of libraries may reopen, while following appropriate mitigation requirements.

Reopening plans vary by library. Please check with your local library for more details on hours and procedures.

Libraries opening indoor spaces must institute mitigation requirements detailed in section 7 on page 13 of Executive Order No. 157, Executive Order No. 192, and Executive Order No. 230. In addition, libraries offering curbside pickup services must follow appropriate mitigation requirements detailed in section 2 on page 5 of Administrative Order 2020-15.

Mask Requirement

Under Executive Order No. 192, all employees, customers, and visitors must wear a face covering while on the premises, 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 at Libraries

The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in AO 2020-15, EO 157, EO 192, and EO 230, However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with the terms of AO 2020-15, EO 157, EO 192, and EO 230, and libraries should read the full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.

Libraries opening indoor and outdoor spaces must institute the following policies:

  • 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 50 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.

For full details, see section 2 on page 5 of Administrative Order 2020-15, section 7 on page 13 of Executive Order No. 157, and Executive Order No. 192.

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:Administrative Order 2020-15, Executive Order No. 157; Executive Order No. 192; Executive Order No. 230