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Can construction projects continue? What rules or safety guidelines must they follow?

Last Updated: 11/05/2020

All construction projects may resume.

Construction projects must follow appropriate mitigation requirements detailed inExecutive Order No. 142 and Executive Order No. 192, which are summarized below.

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, or if it would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task. Employers must provide face coverings to their employees.

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

Requirements to Protect Employees and Others

The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in Executive Order No. 142 and Executive Order No. 192. However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with the terms of Executive Order No. 142 and Executive Order No. 192 and businesses should read the full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.

Construction projects must adopt policies that include, at minimum, the following requirements:

  • Prohibit non-essential visitors from entering the worksite;
  • Require individuals at the worksite to maintain at least six feet of distance from one another, to the maximum extent possible;
  • Engage in appropriate social distancing measures when picking up or delivering equipment or materials;
  • Stagger work start and stop times where practicable to limit the number of individuals entering and leaving the worksite concurrently;
  • Identify congested and "high-risk areas," including but not limited to lunchrooms, breakrooms, portable rest rooms, and elevators, and limit the number of individuals at those sites concurrently where practicable;
  • Stagger lunch breaks and work times where practicable to enable operations to safely continue while utilizing the least number of individuals possible at the site;
  • Businesses may adopt policies that require staff to wear gloves, in addition to regular hand hygiene. Where a business requires its staff to wear gloves while at the worksite, the business must provide such gloves to staff.
  • Ensure that employees practice hand hygiene and provide employees with sufficient break time for that purpose;
  • Provide approved sanitization materials for employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals;
  • Where running water is not available, provide portable washing stations with soap and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizers that have greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol;
  • 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;
  • Clean and disinfect the worksite in accordance with CDC guidelines when an employee at the site has been diagnosed with COVID-19 illness;
  • Limit sharing of tools, equipment, and machinery;
  • When the worksite is an occupied residence, require workers to sanitize work areas and keep a distance of at least six feet from the occupants;
  • Place conspicuous signage at entrances and throughout the worksite detailing the above mandates.

During New Jersey's public health emergency, timeframes governing the Department of Environmental Protection's provision of public notice, review and decisions on permits and other approvals have been paused or delayed by Executive Order 136.

In addition, a new law extends certain government permits, approvals, and deadlines for certain construction and real estate projects during the COVID-19 emergency so these projects are not abandoned. For more details, refer to Assembly Bill 3919.

Source: Executive Order 142; Assembly Bill 3919; Executive Order No. 181; Executive Order No. 192