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Are there safety guidelines for businesses? Are any businesses closed?

Last Updated: 07/02/2021

All businesses, offices, and worksites may open in New Jersey.

Social distancing and masking is not required in most indoor or outdoor spaces, and there are no capacity limits for businesses or worksites open to the public.

However, to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19, businesses should encourage unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask and social distance - particularly indoors.

Businesses have the right to require stricter mask policies, but businesses are not allowed to restrict the use of face masks by their staff, customers, or visitors. Municipalities and counties are also permitted to impose stricter requirements on masking in businesses open to the public.

Social distancing, masking, and other safety measures are still required in high-risk areas such as healthcare settings, public transportation, child care centers, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.

In addition, the majority of State offices open to the public, including New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission locations, continue to require masking of staff and visitors. Individuals should review setting-specific requirements in advance of arrival.

Requirements At Worksites

Under legislation signed by Governor Murphy on June 4, 2021, the majority of Executive Orders issued pursuant to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency expired on July 4, 2021. This included Executive Order 192, which provided many COVID-19 worker rights and protections.

However, certain federal COVID-19 worker rights and protections are in place for specific occupations and industries, such as healthcare workers and medical facilities. Learn more and stay up to date by visiting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 website: osha.gov/coronavirus.

Under federal OSHA law, employers must protect workers from workplace hazards that can cause illness or injury, provide required personal protective equipment (PPE), and ensure its use. It's also againstNew Jersey Wage and Hour law for an employer to deduct the cost of protective equipment from an employee's pay.

Health & Safety Recommendations For Businesses

The NJ Department of Health has issued industry-specific health and safety recommendations for:

General public health and safety recommendations to help businesses protect employees and customers:

  • Businesses are encouraged to follow CDC safety guidelines and social distancing to save lives and prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Masks are not required for most indoor workplaces, however businesses should encourage unvaccinated employees, customers, and guests to wear masks.
  • If masks or gloves are required by employers, businesses are encouraged to provide them to employees
  • Businesses are encouraged to provide approved sanitization materials for employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals
  • Employees should practice hand hygiene and employers should provide employees with sufficient break time for that purpose
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch areas is encouraged in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines
  • Prior to each shift, employers are encouraged to conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance
  • Employers are encouraged to keep sick employees from entering the workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Employers should promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite

For more safety tips, refer to the CDC's COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

Reporting Safety Violations

If you believe your employer has violated a health and/or safety law at work, you can file a complaint.

If you work for a private business or nonprofit organization, you can file a complaint with the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

If you are a public employee (state or municipal worker), you can file a complaint with the NJ Department of Health (DOH) or with the NJ Department of Labor (DOL).

Employers can check with the NJDOL about their health and safety questions. The department can be reached by email at SafetyTraining@dol.nj.gov or at 609-633-2587. NJDOL also offers free health and safety trainings and consultations. For more information on consultations visit nj.gov/labor/consultation and for trainings visit nj.gov/labor/training.

Source:https://www.nj.gov/labor/worker-protections/covid_returntowork.shtml; https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html#anchor_1609683607445