New Jersey COVID-19 Business Information

Up-to-date information for businesses on reopening after COVID, including rules and guidelines to follow, financial assistance programs, and other resources.

What workplace health and safety standards must my business follow to be open?

Updated:
June 8, 2021

Worksites open to the public can open at full capacity indoors and outdoors. Establishments do not need to limit occupancy to a number that ensures all individuals or groups can remain six feet apart. There are a few exceptions including in healthcare settings, child-care centers, schools, camps, which may be subject to specific guidance, and  all forms of public transportation and other transportation hubs, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.

Indoor worksites that are not open to the public will be able to allow employees who can verify that they are fully vaccinated the ability to forego wearing a mask and social distancing. Employers must abide by additional health and safety protocols outlined in Executive Order (EO) 192 and listed below in Health & Safety Standards for All Employers.

Businesses have the right to require stricter mask policies. Businesses are not permitted to restrict the use of face masks by their staff, customers, or visitors.

Municipalities and counties are also permitted to impose stricter requirements on masking in businesses open to the public.

Health & Safety Standards for All Employers

Every business, non-profit, governmental, and educational entity that requires or permits its workforce to be physically present at a worksite must abide by the following requirements, at minimum, to protect employees, customers, and others who come into contact with its operations:

  • Social distancing is not required for most workplaces that are open to the public, however businesses are encouraged to follow CDC safety guidelines and social distancing to save lives and prevent the spread of COVID-19;
  • If masks or gloves are required by employers, they must be provided to employees;
  • Provide approved sanitization materials for employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals;
  • Ensure that employees practice hand hygiene and provide ​employees with sufficient break time for that purpose;
  • Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines;
  • Prior to each shift, conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance;
  • Do not allow sick employees to enter workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws;
  • Promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite;

The following are additional requirements of indoor worksites:

Under federal OSHA law, employers must protect workers from workplace hazards that can cause illness or injury, provide required personal protective equipment (PPE), and ensure its use. It's also against New Jersey Wage and Hour law for an employer to deduct the cost of protective equipment from an employee’s pay. Employees who believe that their employer is not following the protocols articulated in EO 192 can file workplace safety complaints.

Employers can check with the NJDOL about their health and safety questions. The department can be reached by email at SafetyTraining@dol.nj.gov or at 609-633-2587. NJDOL also offers free health and safety trainings and consultations. For more information on consultations visit www.nj.gov/labor/consultation and for trainings visit www.nj.gov/labor/training.

Detailed requirements and exemptions can be found in EO 192. Many sectors face additional requirements summarized in the articles below.

Industry-Specific Guidelines

Retail businesses and food or beverage establishments may return to full capacity. Indoor bar seating and buffets at bars and restaurants may resume. Dance floors at bars and restaurants may reopen. Indoor portions of malls may be open, and valet parking, communal play areas, and communal seating are now permitted to open. There are additional considerations described below:

Licensed personal care businesses may return to full capacity. Saunas, steam rooms, and shared bathing facilities are now allowed to operate. There are additional considerations described below:

All recreational and entertainment businesses may return to full capacity. There are additional considerations described below:

Gyms and fitness centers may return to full capacity. There are additional requirements described in the Department of Health's Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers

Casinos  may return to full capacity. Other restrictions to consider:

Microbreweries and brewpubs may be open for home delivery. Depending on the type of license they hold, food service may be allowed; business owners should consult the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control's ruling to determine if they qualify.

Child care centers must follow the Department of Children and Families' Child Care Safety Requirements.

Hotels, motor hotels, motels, and other established guesthouses must follow written policies as defined in Department of Health Protocols for Hotel Sanitization and Executive Order No. 192.

Career and training schools must follow protocols in Paragraph 10 of Executive Order 155.

Transportation Carriers must comply with restrictions in Paragraph 1 of Executive Order 125 and Executive Order No. 192.

Residential and overnight camps will be allowed to reopen this summer. The Department of Health's 2021 COVID-19 Youth Summer Camp Standards shares more guidance. On June 8th, 2021 these guidleines are expected to change, masking while outdoors will not be required for either campers or staff, though unvaccinated individuals will still strongly be encouraged to mask up while participating in activities which includes sustained contact with others, or when in a crowded setting.  While indoors, unvaccinated campers will be strongly encouraged to wear a mask, while any unvaccinated staffers will be required to mask up with only limited exception.

Construction projects including nonessential construction, must follow all protocols in Paragraph 2 of Executive Order 142 and Executive Order No. 192.

Medical facilities may continue to operate. Facilities conducting elective services are required to comply with Guidance for Hospitals to Resume Elective Services and Guidance for Ambulatory Surgery Centers to Resume Elective Services. Further NJDOH Legal and Regulatory Compliance documentation is available from the department as well.

Adult Day Care Centers remain closed.

Gathering Limits

Indoor and outdoor gatherings have no gathering limits.

If any business is violating the required guidelines, you can report it to the State at covid19.nj.gov/violation, or to your Local Health Department, which you can identify with the Find Your Local Health Department tool.