On March 21, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 107 directing that businesses, including commercial and professional offices, must accommodate their workforce, wherever practical, for telework or work-from-home arrangements. To the extent employees are unable to perform their jobs via work-from-home arrangements, businesses are required to use best efforts to reduce on-site staff to the minimum number necessary to continue essential operations of the business. Examples of employees that can be physically on-site include information technology maintenance workers, janitorial staff and certain administrative staff.
On May 18, 2020, Governor Murphy announced a three-stage plan for reopening New Jersey businesses. Since June 15, 2020, New Jersey has been in Stage 2 of this three-stage plan, whereby commercial and professional offices may be open and operating, but must continue to accommodate their workforce for telework and work-from-home arrangements wherever practical in accordance with Executive Order 107. Further, commercial and professional offices must continue to use best efforts to reduce in-office staff to the minimum number needed to continue essential operations. https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/general-public/what-businesses-are-open-what-rules-or-safety-guidelines-must-they-follow#direct-link As offices reopen, they are required to be compliant with Federal, State and local safeguards for its employees, visitors and operations, and should be guided by requirements and recommendations, as applicable, specified by New Jersey Executive Orders, and by the New Jersey of Office of Emergency Management, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Owners of commercial buildings that house businesses permitted to maintain in-person operations pursuant to Executive Order 107, including commercial and professional offices, are required to implement the following minimum cleaning protocols:
- Conduct routine disinfecting of high-touch areas in accordance with CDC guidelines, including after a known or potential exposure to the coronavirus has occurred;
- Maintain cleaning procedures in all other areas of the facility; and
- Ensure there are sufficient personnel to effectively conduct the necessary cleaning and disinfecting of the facility in a manner that protects the safety of workers and visitors.
It is not clear when New Jersey will enter Stage 3 of its reopening plan. The above relate exclusively to professional and commercial offices operating in New Jersey. There are different restrictions and requirements with respect to those other industries permitted to be open at this time.
The requirements continue to evolve and we will continue to monitor New Jersey’s staged reopening, and provide updated guidance as it becomes available.
As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.