New Jersey to End Mask Mandates and Social Distancing: What This Means for Your Business

May 27, 2021Alerts

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will lift many of the state’s most prevalent COVID-19 safety restrictions, including mask mandates, social distancing requirements and capacity limitations. These changes will allow many companies to return to business as usual for the first time in over a year, but may also require employers to implement new policies and procedures in order to comply with Executive Orders 242 and 243.

What Requirements Are Lifted, for Whom, and When

Public Spaces

Effective May 28, 2021, the public mask mandate for indoor and outdoor public spaces will end. At the same time, the six foot social distancing requirement will be lifted for stores, personal care services, gyms, recreational and entertainment businesses, and casinos; as well as indoor gatherings, including religious services, political activities, weddings, funerals, memorial services, commercial gatherings, catered events, sports competitions and performances. While there is no vaccination requirement in these situations, the executive orders state that individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing in accordance with CDC recommendations. Businesses have no obligation to the public to enforce the CDC’s recommendations.

Private Spaces

Effective June 4, 2021, employers of businesses not open to the public can end their mask and social distancing requirements for employees who prove they have been fully vaccinated. With the end of mask mandates and social distancing for most employers, Gov. Murphy also has rescinded the requirement that employers accommodate working from home and limit on-site staffing.

Both Public and Private Spaces

Businesses will still be able to require masks for employees, customers or guests if they desire. No business is permitted to prohibit masks.

Effective June 4, 2021, limits on the size of indoor gatherings will be lifted as will the 30% capacity limitations for indoor venues with fixed seating over 1,000.

What Businesses Still Have Mask and Social Distancing Requirements

The following places/businesses are not subject to these executive orders and must still abide by the applicable COVID-19 requirements: health care settings, including long-term care facilities and office-based settings; correctional facilities; homeless shelters; public transportation, as well as transportation hubs such as airports and stations; child care centers and facilities; youth summer camps; public, private, and parochial preschool program premises and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools; and public-facing state offices, such as Motor Vehicle Commission agencies.

What This Means for Your Business

With these changes, employers that want to return their offices to a restriction-free environment will need to implement a procedure to verify the vaccination status of their employees. For purposes of determining who is able to stop mask wearing and social distancing, a person is fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of either a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

 For assistance in creating and implementing a vaccination verification process, please contact Corinne DeBerry at [email protected] or 609.895.6623or another member of Fox Rothschild’s national Labor & Employment Department.