On June 9, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy announced he would lift Executive Order 107 signed on March 21, 2020, which placed unprecedented restrictions on non-essential businesses in New Jersey because of the COVID 19 pandemic. In lifting the stay-at-home restrictions, Governor Murphy cited fewer numbers of new infections and deaths in recent weeks as the primary reasons. Limitations, however, remain in place as Governor Murphy stressed that “[j]ust because we’re lifting the stay at home order does not mean we’re making you go back to the office,” businesses should permit employees to continue to work remotely if they can, and masks must continue to be worn and social distancing requirements followed.
The Governor increased the limit for outdoor gatherings: 100 people now, and anticipated 250 on June 22, and 500 on July 3rd. However, a spike in COVID-19 infections or deaths may claw back these increases. If infections and deaths continue on their downward trajectory, expect the Governor to allow more social gatherings to occur. Exceptions to these gathering restrictions may be granted for events protected under the First Amendment like religious activities and civil rights marches.
Indoor occupancy has swelled to 25 percent of the building’s capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower. This includes churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship. Indoor dining does not fit within this exception. Further, Governor Murphy has not clarified how these new requirements might apply to offices.
As restrictions are lifted on non-essential businesses and employees return to work, businesses must continue to consult with OSHA and CDC guidelines to ensure employee safety and protect the workforce from infections. The attorneys at Porzio, Bromberg & Newman stand ready to consult businesses on their policies and procedures and to ensure they abide by state and federal safety and health guidelines.