Non-Essential Construction, Retail Stores in New Jersey to Reopen on Monday

May 14, 2020 –After more than a month, New Jersey non-essential construction businesses are set to resume operations on Monday, May 18, 2020.

Non-essential retail stores will also reopen for pickup starting 6 A.M. on Monday after having been ordered to stay at home since March 21, 2020.

“I’ve been clear that data will determine dates, and what we are seeing gives us confidence that we can begin the careful restart of our economy,” said Governor Phil Murphy.

It has been over eight weeks since Governor Murphy ordered New Jerseyans to stay at home as a measure to help flatten the curve of new COVID-19 cases.

“The steps we are taking allow for important standards of social distancing to continue with the return of safe, responsible business operations,” he continued.

Strict enforcement of safety requirements

Governor Murphy ordered non-essential construction projects to cease operations and imposed additional mitigation requirements on essential retail businesses and industries on April 8, 2020.

With the resumption of work, however, companies must still comply with the social distancing, safety, and sanitation requirements. According to Executive No. 142, these requirements include:

  • prohibiting non-essential visitors from entering the worksite;
  • practicing social distancing of at least six feet between individuals as well as when picking up or delivering equipment;
  • limiting worksite meetings, inductions and workgroups to 10 or fewer participants;
  • staggering work start and stop times, as well as lunch breaks, where practicable;
  • identifying congested and “high-risk areas”;
  • requiring infection control practices such as regular handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette and proper tissue use and disposal;
  • providing potable water when running water is not available;
  • limiting the sharing of tools and equipment;
  • requiring sanitization of high-touch areas;
  • placing conspicuous signage at entrances and throughout the worksite detailing these mandates, and;
  • requiring workers and visitors to wear cloth face coverings while on the coverings.

EO No. 142 also gives non-essential construction businesses to refuse entry to a visitor who refuses to wear a cloth face covering without medical reasons.

Curbside pickup only at non-essential retail businesses

Picking up items from your favorite non-essential retail stores will be permitted, but subject to the following policies:

  • goods that have been already ordered may only be picked up outside the establishment
  • in-store operations shall be limited to employees responsible for the curbside pickup, wherever feasible
  • customer transactions shall be handled in advance by phone, email, fax, or other means, wherever feasible
  • customers shall notify the store by text message when they arrive or inform them of their time of arrival
  • designated employees shall bring the goods outside and place them directly in a customer’s vehicle, wherever feasible
  • retail stores in shopping malls shall bring the goods at the exterior of the mall

Indoor portions of shopping malls shall remain closed to the public

Employers shall make sure to follow the guidelines set by the government in terms of infection control practices, sanitization and requiring workers to wear cloth face coverings at the business’s expense.

There is yet to be a new policy regarding essential businesses. As you might recall, essential businesses have remained open, although at 50% maximum store capacity, to provide for the needs of the people amidst the Coronavirus health emergency.