In a continuing battle to limit the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state, on Sunday, April 12, Governor Murphy issued another order, Executive Order 125, available here, implementing additional requirements for restaurants, bars, cafeterias and similar food service businesses, and for mass transit operators. This new Order went into effect on Monday, April 13, at 8:00 pm. This follows on the heels of last week’s Executive Order 122, which, as we previously reported here, strengthened mitigation requirements on essential retail, manufacturing, and warehousing businesses, and certain other New Jersey employers.

The enhanced restrictions which the new Executive Order imposes on restaurants, bars, cafeterias, and similar food service businesses, include:

  • Limit occupancy to 10 percent of maximum capacity wherever feasible;
  • Ensure six feet of social distancing between workers and customers, except at the moment of payment and/or exchange of goods;
  • Require infection control practices (coughing and sneezing etiquette, tissue use, and disposal);
  • Provide employees break time for repeated handwashing;
  • Arrange for contactless pay and pickup/delivery options wherever feasible;
  • Provide sanitization materials, like wipes and hand sanitizer, to staff;
  • Require frequent sanitization of high touch areas (e.g., credit card machines, keypads, and counters);
  • Place conspicuous signage at the entrance and throughout the premises alerting staff and customers of the required six feet of social distancing; and
  • Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings (except for health-related reasons) and require workers who come into contact with customers to wear gloves.

Affected employers must provide cloth face coverings and gloves to their employees. Customers are not required to wear face coverings when picking up food outside of the establishment. However, if a customer (or a worker) seeks to enter the establishment, but declines to wear a face covering (other than for a medical reason), the business must refuse entry.

Further, under Executive Order 125, New Jersey Transit and private mass transit carriers must implement new policies to combat COVID-19, including the following:

  • Limit occupancy to 50 percent on all transportation (e.g., buses, light rail, and trains);
  • Require infection control practices (coughing and sneezing etiquette, proper tissue use and disposal);
  • Arrange for contactless payment options;
  • Arrange for back-door entry where feasible and remove seats near the operator to allow for proper social distancing;
  • Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas in stations, such as restrooms, waiting areas, keypads, and credit card machines;
  • Place conspicuous signage alerting workers and customers of required six feet of social distancing; and
  • Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings (except for medical reasons) and require workers who come into contact with customers to wear gloves.

Like restaurant and other food service employers, NJ Transit and other carriers must provide cloth face coverings and gloves to their workers. If a customer refuses to wear a cloth face covering, the carrier may refuse transportation to that individual.

A violation of this Order is punishable as a disorderly person’s offense, which provides up to six months imprisonment, up to a $1,000 fine, or both.

Ballard Spahr’s Labor and Employment Group is following closely these and other developments related to COVID-19 as they impact the workforce. If you have questions, please contact any member of the Labor and Employment Group for advice about your situation.


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