N.J.: Murphy reopens state; offers guidance to offices, and lifts mandate for mask wearing

May 26, 2021

Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 243 to expand efforts to reopen the state by further reducing mask requirements. Effective Friday, June 4, workplaces not open to the public will no longer need to require employees wear face masks or adhere to social distancing protocols when the employees provide proof of vaccination. The vaccination must comply with CDC definitions. Visitors to these workplaces, including clients, are no longer required to wear face coverings regardless of vaccine status.

Employers still must adhere to other requirements in Executive Order No. 192, including the daily health screening. If an employer does not know—or cannot confirm an employee’s vaccination status—then the employee must still wear a face mask and adhere to social distancing requirements. Employers may impose stricter requirements if they elect to do so and may not discriminate or retaliate against employees who wish to continue wearing a mask.

This follows Executive Order No. 242 that signaled a major step toward fully reopening New Jersey. Effective Friday, May 28, indoor public places no longer need to require individuals to wear face coverings. Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to continue wearing a face covering and businesses may choose to put stricter rules into effect. Social distancing requirements in public facilities, including restaurants and retail establishments, also may be lifted. Indoor public places do not include worksites that do not open their space to the public for the sale of goods; attendance at an event or activity; or provision of services.

For full guidance, see the press release issued by the governor’s office.

Indoor workspaces

Individuals in indoor workplaces that are not public spaces, including offices, will continue to be required to wear face coverings consistent with the existing requirements from Executive Order No. 192. Offices must keep social distancing and other protective measures in place. Schools, youth summer camps, and child-care facilities also must continue to comply with the existing requirements for face coverings and protective measures.

Other public spaces The order lifts the capacity limits for most indoor public places, including retail establishments, recreational facilities, and health clubs. Sports stadiums and concert venues with greater than 1,000-person capacity may increase attendance to 30% of maximum capacity on May 28. The limits on stadiums and concert venues will be fully rescinded on Friday, June 4. On June 4, limits on indoor gatherings also will be lifted. Facility operators and employers may require more than the state minimum requirements. The governor’s office continues to recommend everyone in New Jersey follow the CDC and Department of Health guidelines.

About the author…

Clare Irvine, Esq.

Clare Irvine, Esq., joined the PIA Government & Industry Affairs team in 2018 as government affairs counsel. She serves as in-house counsel, responsible for managing public affairs agendas in multiple states, tracking legislation, regulations, significant case-law developments and drafting position statements and testimony. She graduated from Fordham University School of Law and Arizona State University.

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