On May 24, 2021, New Jersey’s Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 242 (“EO-242”) which lifts the indoor mask mandate, with some exceptions, effective May 28, 2021.
At first glance, it appears as though the mask mandate was being lifted entirely, but that is not necessarily the case. Businesses and entities “overseeing indoor spaces may continue to require face masks for employees, customers, and/or guests.” Further, EO-242 also makes some distinctions for workplace settings, which were previously subject to Executive Order No. 192, “Executive Order to Protect New Jersey’s Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” As such, employers should pay close attention to the following:
- Effective Friday, May 28, 2021, individuals in indoor public spaces are not required to wear masks, regardless of their ability to maintain six feet of distance from other individuals or groups.
- In accordance with CDC recommendations, individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing, although it is no longer mandated.
- However, employers and entities overseeing public spaces in settings where masking is no longer required are still permitted to impose stricter requirements regarding mask-wearing in indoor settings for employees, customers, guests, and other individuals, where otherwise consistent with federal and state law.
- Where an indoor gathering occurs in a workplace that is not a public space (i.e., a warehouse that is closed to the public), the facility must continue to follow the requirements of Executive Order No. 192 (“EO-192”) regarding masking and social distancing. EO-192, requires individuals to wear face coverings in indoor workplaces that are not “indoor public spaces,” subject only to exceptions that have previously existed, i.e., when employees are at distanced workstations or in their own offices, and employees should continue to maintain six feet of distance from others to the maximum extent possible.
The following upcoming changes may also be of interest:
- Indoor mask mandated will be lifted EXCEPT for the following settings:
- Healthcare settings
- LTC facilities
- Correctional facilities
- Homeless shelters
- Other forms of public transportation
- Transportation stations
- Public-facing State offices, i.e., the Motor Vehicle Commission
- Worksites that are closed to the public, i.e., warehouses and manufacturing facilities
- Childcare centers/facilities
- Youth summer camps
- Public, private, parochial preschool premises
- Elementary and secondary schools including charter and renaissance schools
- Social distancing requirements will be lifted EXCEPT for the following settings:
- Transportation hubs
- Health care facilities
- The following prohibitions are lifted:
- Dance floors at bars and restaurants
- Ordering and eating/drinking while standing at bars and restaurants
- Limits on Gathering:
- The general indoor gathering limit of 50 people will be removed.
- The indoor gathering limit of 250 people for events including political gatherings, weddings, funerals, memorial services, performances, and other catered and commercial events will be removed.
- The 30% capacity limit on large indoor venues with a fixed seating capacity of 1,000 or greater will be removed.
Contact Andrew Kinsey or Colleen Degnan if you have any questions about the New Jersey mask mandate in the workplace, or if you have other employment law concerns.