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Alerts and Updates

New Jersey Announces Required Safety Protocols for Reopening Businesses

June 5, 2020

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The Order specifies the requirements necessary for such businesses to commence operations on June 15.

On June 3, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy unveiled specific safety protocols that certain businesses must follow as they reopen later this month. 

Specifically, Governor Murphy executed Executive Order 20-150, which will allow nonessential retail and outdoor dining to reopen on June 15. The Order specifies the requirements necessary for such businesses to commence operations on June 15, which are discussed in more detail below. Governor Murphy also announced that hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to reopen on June 22.

Requirements for Nonessential Retail

The guidance for nonessential retail will be the same as that currently governing essential retail stores, which have remained open over the past few months, and includes limiting the number of customers inside a store to 50% capacity. You can read more about the requirements for nonessential retail in New Jersey in our previous Alert. Customers and employees will be required to wear face coverings, and stores must erect physical barriers between customers and employees where practicable. Stores must also regularly sanitize areas used by employees, and provide special shopping hours for individuals at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 wherever possible.

Requirements for Outdoor Dining

Restaurants that will be providing outdoor dining must establish numerous protocols for staff and customers.

Per Executive Order 20-014, which establishes the mandatory guidance for restaurants and other establishments offering service at outdoor areas in accordance with Executive Order 20-150, all outdoor dining and beverage establishments are required to implement specific protocols, which include:

  1. Obtain all required municipal approvals and permits before offering food and/or beverage consumption at outdoor areas;
  2. Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 should enter the food or beverage establishment;
  3. Limit seating to a maximum of eight customers per table and arrange seating to achieve a minimum distance of 6 feet between parties;
  4. Rope off or otherwise mark tables, chairs and bar stools that are not to be used;
  5. Demarcate 6 feet of spacing in patron waiting areas;
  6. Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors, sidewalks, and signage on walls to ensure that customers remain at least 6 feet apart in line for the restroom or waiting for seating;
  7. Eliminate self-service food or drink options such as buffets, salad bars and self-service drink stations;
  8. Disinfect all tables, chairs and any other shared items (menus, condiments, pens) after each use;
  9. Install physical barriers and partitions at cash registers, bars, host stands and other area where maintaining physical distance of 6 feet is difficult;
  10. Ensure 6 feet of physical distancing between workers and customers, except at the moment of payment and/or when employees are servicing the table;
  11. Require infection control practices, such as regular handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal;
  12. Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like credit card machines, keypads, and counters to which the public and workers have access;
  13. Place conspicuous signage at entrance alerting staff and customers to the required 6 feet of physical distance; and
  14. Require all food or beverage establishments to have an inclement weather policy that, if triggered, would require the food or beverage establishment to adhere to Executive Order No. 125 (2020) and offer takeout or delivery service only.

Outdoor Dining Employee Guidelines

Establishments offering food and beverage service at outdoor areas are required to implement specific protocols for employees, which include:

  1. Require employees to wash and/or sanitize their hands when entering the food or beverage establishment;
  2. Conduct daily health checks (e.g., temperature screening and/or symptom checking) of employees safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations;
  3. Require employees with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) be sent home;
  4. Require all employees to wear face coverings, except where doing so would inhibit the individual's health, and require employees to wear gloves when in contact with customers and when handing prepared foods or serving food, utensils and other items to customers;
  5. Provide all employees with face coverings and gloves;
  6. Provide employees break time for repeated handwashing throughout the workday; and
  7. Provide sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to staff.

Outdoor Dining Customer Guidelines

Establishments offering food and beverage service at outdoor areas are required to implement specific protocols with respect to customers, which include:

  1. Inform customers that safety measures such as social distancing, wearing face coverings when they are away from their table and unable to social distance or when they are inside the indoor portion of the premises of the food or beverage establishment (unless the customer has a medical reason for not doing so or is a child under two years of age), and hygiene practices must be adhered to while in the food or beverage establishment;
  2. Encourage reservations for greater control of customer traffic/volume;
  3. Require customers to provide a phone number if making a reservation to facilitate contact tracing;
  4. Recommend customers wait in their cars or away from the food or beverage establishment while waiting for a table if outdoor wait area cannot accommodate social distancing;
  5. Alert customers via calls/texts to limit touching and use of shared objects such as pagers/buzzers;
  6. Encourage the use of digital menus;
  7. Decline entry to the indoor portion of the establishment to a customer who is not wearing a face covering, unless the customer has a medical reason for not doing so or is a child under two years of age; and
  8. Provide a hand sanitizer station for customers.

For more information, visit the New Jersey Department of Health website.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Please see our COVID-19 site or contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Paul P. Josephson, Elizabeth Mincer, James Greenberg, any member of our COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.