New Jersey Revises COVID Requirements for Businesses
On May 26, 2021, New Jersey Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 243, which rescinds the requirement in Executive Order No. 107 that businesses and non-profits accommodate telework arrangements for their workforce to the maximum extent practicable and reduce their on-site staff to the minimal number necessary for their operations. Employers bringing employees back to the physical workplace must continue to follow all applicable portions of Executive Order No. 192, including notifying employees of on-site exposure and performing health screenings of employees entering the worksite. See MEA’s prior alert on Executive Order No. 192.
With regard to masking in the workplace, employers in indoor worksites that are closed to the public may allow fully vaccinated employees to forgo masking and social distancing, providing that employees provide proof of vaccination. Employers should remember that “fully vaccinated” means that it has been at least two weeks since the employee received a second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or two weeks since the employee received a single dose of the J&J vaccine. In particular, the latest executive order provides, “in workplaces that are not open to the public . . . [employers] are not mandated to require employees to wear face masks or social distance at the worksite where the employee provides proof that they are fully vaccinated.” However, “[w]here an employer is unable to determine the individual’s vaccination status or the individual is not fully vaccinated, employers must continue to require those employees to wear masks and practice social distancing in indoor spaces.” Of course, “employers are permitted to impose stricter requirements regarding mask-wearing and social distancing in indoor settings for employees, where otherwise consistent with federal and State law.” In addition, employers are not permitted to “restrict individuals from wearing masks . . . and shall not in any way penalize or retaliate against individuals who elect to wear a mask.”
Executive Order No. 243 takes effect on Friday, June 4th.
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Amy G. McAndrew, Esquire
Director of Legal and Compliance Services
MidAtlantic Employers’ Association
*This Alert is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.