New Jersey started the reopening process, lifting restrictions on certain business operations the State previously shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As employers in these industries resume operations, there are many legal considerations, including adopting policies and practices to ensure compliance with the State’s required mitigation efforts.
While New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is permitting many outdoor industries to reopen as the summer season approaches, these businesses will remain subject to an array of legal requirements. The specific requirements for each industry are laid out in a series of Executive Orders signed by Governor Murphy, including: EO 142 (non-essential construction, non-essential retail), EO 143 (beaches & boardwalks), EO 146 (charter boats and watercraft rentals), and EO 147 (outdoor recreation). While the exact requirements vary by industry, all of the requirements are aimed at maintaining social distancing, limiting person-to-person contact, and mitigating exposure risks for employees and customers.
For example, employers must require six feet of distance between people whenever possible, provide employees with face coverings and gloves, require customers to wear face coverings, frequently sanitize high-touch areas, limit contact between customers and employees, and provide frequent breaks for handwashing. Employers in the construction industry must also limit the sharing of equipment and provide for staggered start, stop, and break times where possible.
In addition to adjusting policies and practices to adhere to these requirements, employers reopening their businesses also need to prepare for issues related to screening employees, responding to a COVID-19 exposure, and dealing with employees who cannot or will not return to work.
If your business needs help developing compliant mitigation policies or meeting any of the other legal challenges associated with a returning workforce, Reed Smith’s Labor and Employment attorneys are available to assist.