COVID-19 Resource Center

May 28, 2020

COVID-19: New Jersey Business Re-Opening Guidance

New Jersey issued a Stay-At-Home order on March 21, 2020 which closed non-essential business.  The order currently remains in place, but New Jersey has provided a plan for the re-opening of the state.  The plan directs that the state will re-open in three stages, as follows: 
 
STAGE 1: Restrictions relaxed on low-risk activities if appropriately safeguarded.  Under this stage, businesses allowed to re-open include:

  • Non-essential, but easiest to safeguard, work activities at physical locations if they meet safeguarding and modification guidelines. For example, non-essential construction with protections.
  • Some non-essential retail may open with significant modifications. For example, curbside pickup.
  • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home even if their industry is reopening. For example, an office manager for a construction company. 

 
STAGE 2: Restrictions are relaxed on additional activities that can be easily safeguarded. Under this stage, businesses may operate according to the following guidance:

  • More work activities are allowed at physical locations only if they adhere to safeguarding and modification guidelines. For example, work activities to be phased-in over the course of Stage 2 may include expanded retail, safeguarded restaurants with outdoor seating, limited personal care, and possibly indoor dining, museums, and libraries, all with significantly reduced capacity.
  • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home. For example, a buying manager for restaurants.
  • Some personal care services may be provided on a limited basis.  

 
STAGE 3: Restrictions are relaxed on most activities with significant safeguarding. Under this stage, businesses may operate according to the following guidance:

  • More work activities, including in-person meetings, are allowed at physical locations only if they can adhere to safeguarding guidelines and modifications. For example, work activities to be phased-in over the course of Stage 3 may include expanded dining, critical in-office work, limited entertainment, expanded personal care, and bars with limited capacity.
  • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home. For example, accounting office workers.
  • Personal care services may be provided on a more extended basis. 

 
New Jersey is currently in Stage 1.  As such, businesses currently meeting the qualifications to re-open under Stage 1 may currently do so, provided they meet the essential safeguarding and modification guidelines.  These specific guidelines vary by business type, and can be found at 
 
https://faq.business.nj.gov/en/articles/3839687-what-mitigation-protocols-are-required-for-businessescontinuing-to-operate
 
There are certain outlined minimum precautions that apply to business across all stages.  First, all work that can be done from home should continue to be done from home.  Second, clinically high-risk individuals who can stay at home should continue to do so.  Third, all residents and businesses should follow state and federal safeguarding guidelines, which include washing hands, wearing masks in public, respect social distancing, minimize gatherings, disinfect workplaces and business, and no mass gatherings.     
 
There does not appear to be any separate state filing required to be completed to allow for re-opening. 
 
There are no specific dates tied to the stages outlined above.  Rather, the state’s progression through the stages will be governed by six “key principles and metrics.”  These are based on 14-day infection and hospitalization trends, expanding testing capacity, being able to robustly contact trace, the ability to provide safe places to isolate for those that do test positive, creating a Commission to advise on the process of economic restart, and preparing for the possibility of a resurgence. 
 
As always, if you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Law Group at 1-888-488-2638.