In a much anticipated Executive Order issued yesterday, New Jersey finally addressed what many employers in the state were waiting for: guidance on when and how they can bring their office workers back to the office. A full copy of the Executive Order can be found HERE.
Effective June 4th, New Jersey businesses and non-profits:
- Will no longer be required to accommodate telework arrangements;
- Will no longer be required to keep staff in the office to the minimal number necessary;
- Will have the option of allowing fully vaccinated employees (who submit proof of vaccination in accordance with federal and state law), to not wear masks in the workplace;
- Will no longer be required to direct that fully vaccinated employees maintain social distance; and
Will be permitted to allow customers, visitors, and other authorized individuals to enter the worksite without requiring use of a mask or adherence to social distancing, regardless of their vaccination status.
Employers will still have the flexibility to choose to require all employees as well as customers, visitors and similar individuals to wear masks and/or socially distance. In addition, the Executive Order states that if an employer is unable to determine the vaccination status of an employee, or the individual is not fully vaccinated, it must continue to require those employees to wear masks and practice social distancing in the workplace. As we have previously reported, the EEOC has issued guidance on proof of vaccines found HERE. All local laws on this topic should be reviewed as well.
Importantly, Executive Order 243 makes clear that employers must still follow all other COVID protocols previously set forth in Executive Order 192, which includes daily health checks and cleaning/sanitizing the workplace.
While the Executive Order makes these points clear, there are still questions with which employers are grappling, including questions from clients/customers on the vaccination status of employees and how to manage an office of vaccinated and unvaccinated employees. NFC’s COVID response team continues to provide support to our clients on these difficult questions. Please reach out to us for assistance.
If you have any questions relating to this COVID-19 guidance or would like assistance in developing and implementing a safe return to work plan or other policies, please feel free to reach out to the NFC Attorney with whom you typically work or call us directly.