Following up on E.O. # 149, on Monday, June 1, 2020, the Governor announced through Twitter and the news details of the State’s entry into Phase 2 of “New Jersey’s Road Back Plan”.
This will include reopening of outdoor dining and limited in-person retail on June 15, hair salons and barber shops on June 22, youth summer programs on July 6, and plans for phasing in of other establishments.
Executive Orders can be found here and links to the individual ones listed here found on that page.
News releases generally can be found here.
On June 3, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order # 150, announcing outdoor dining protocols and a process to expand premises for liquor license holders. Specifically, effective June 15, 2020, food or beverage establishments with or without a liquor license are permitted to offer in-person service at outdoor areas, provided that the establishment complies with the requirements including social distancing and prohibition of smoking, and urging municipalities who make shared spaces such as public parking lots available to do so equitably as between establishments. Executive Order. # 150 can be found here.
On June 4, 2020, the Governor, as expected, extended the Public Health Emergency via Executive Order # 151 in order to allow the continued and methodical implementation of “New Jersey’s Road Back Plan”. As States of Emergency may only apply for 30 days at a time, the next deadline will be July 5, 2020. Executive Order # 151 can be found here.
In a significant step in the continuation of New Jersey’s Road Back Plan, Governor Murphy on June 9, 2020 signed Executive Order # 152, lifting limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings. Specifically, indoor gatherings were increased to the smaller of 25% of the capacity of the room or 50 persons, subject to the customary restrictions of face coverings and social distancing; and outdoor gatherings were increased to 100 persons, subject to social distancing with face coverings recommended but not required. Executive Order. # 152 can be found here.
On June 9, the Governor also signed E.O. # 153, opening pools effective June 22, and opening additional outdoor recreational businesses. When announcing the signing of this E.O., the Governor stated that he is “lifting the stay at home order”. Specifically, this was done by rescinding paragraph 2 of Executive Order 107, which had issued that order. Pools must comply with regulations issued by the Department of Health; indoor areas and playgrounds at pools remain closed. Dining establishments at pools must comply with E.O. 150. Also, all recreational and entertainment businesses closed by Paragraph 9 of E.O. 107 may open their outdoor spaces subject to certain restrictions; and amusement parks and arcades
remain closed. Executive Order. # 153 can be found here.
On June 13, 2020, Governor Murphy signed E.O. 154, allowing personal care service facilities to open effective June 22, 2020. E.O. 107 had closed the enterprises of such services. This includes hair and nail salons, tattoo and massage parlors and a variety of others. Compliance with Division of Consumer Affairs and DOH (Dept. of Health) standards is required. The Order can be found here.
On June 18, the Governor signed EO-155, providing that limited in-person instruction at institutions of higher education and trade and training schools may commence beginning July 1, 2020. The Order noted the appropriateness of permitting institutions of higher education to prepare for the 2020-21 academic year, and trade schools to resume instruction live. Thus, the Order permits institutions of higher education to resume in-person instruction of students for curricula that require labs, technical, clinical, or hands-on instruction. The institutions are required to have a restart plan which includes training of teachers and students regarding COVID-19 safety practices. The plan should encompass reopening of research and computer labs, dining operations and athletic activities, among others. Trade schools that reopen must have a similar plan and training in place. The Order can be found here.
On June 22, the Governor signed E.O.-156, increasing indoor and outdoor gathering capacity limits. The Order reiterated that New Jersey is in the second phase of its reopening plan. For indoor gatherings, the new Order superseded E.O. 152 to allow 25% of the capacity of the room but no larger than 100 persons or smaller than 10 persons (E.O. 152 had stated 25% but no larger than 50). For outdoor gatherings, the number was expanded to 250 persons or fewer (E.O. 152 had stated 100 or fewer)… “Outdoor areas” are defined as “open air spaces without a fixed roof, besides a temporary or seasonal awning or cover.” The Order can be found here.
On June 26, the Governor signed E.O. 157, establishing rules for reopening of indoor dining, indoor recreational facilities, and individualized instruction at gyms and fitness centers. However, that was on a Friday and he backtracked in part the following Monday, June 29, with E.O. 158 temporarily pausing the resumption of indoor dining. This was perhaps not surprising as other states where COVID-19 infections numbers, such as Texas, have rolled back their reopening plans as well. E.O. 157 references the reopening of outdoor service by food and beverage establishments in E.O. 150, and by recreational and entertainment businesses in E.O. 153. The Order acknowledged that one cannot wear a mask while eating, and thus instructed that consumption of foods and beverages be by the individual only while seated at one’s table. Pennsylvania has recently permitted the same in its “green” counties. Self-serve food and beverage locations, performance-based indoor venues and indoor gyms were all perceived as too great a risk to reopen at this time.
The Order permits all retail establishments to open provided they limit to 50% of stated capacity excluding employees, ensure six feet social distancing, install physical barriers, and require workers to wear cloth face coverings. Food service establishments were permitted to reopen on July 2 at 25% of capacity, with social distancing and masks at all times except when eating and drinking at one’s table; recreational and entertainment businesses are permitted to do likewise with a 25% capacity restriction indoors, and 50% capacity outdoors with social distancing except at amusement parks, water parks, and pools, with extensive protective provisions required.
Health clubs, entertainment centers where performances are viewed indoors, and indoor amusement or water parks are permitted to open their outdoor spaces only, a puzzling provision as the nature of these businesses is indoors, which is not permitted to open. Health clubs are permitted to open indoors for individual instruction.
Notably, for anyone with children, all playgrounds are permitted to open July 2. Casinos and racetracks are only permitted to reopen subject to the requirements of the Order and the further requirements of the governmental commissions that supervise them. E.O. 157 can be found here.
As noted above, observing what had occurred in Texas and also Florida in terms of spikes in COVID-19 infections, the governors of those states having attributed the spikes to activities in indoor food and beverage establishments, and New York State and City having leaned toward pausing their resumption of indoor dining as a result, Governor Murphy signed E.O. 158. on June 29, temporarily pausing the resumption of indoor dining provided for in E.O. 157, rescinding all elements of E.O. 157 pertaining to indoor food consumption or smoking, including casinos, and outdoor smoking in areas designated for food consumption. E.O. 158 can be found here.
A note to those reading this: Law firms were not ordered to close as many businesses were under Executive Order 107. Nonetheless, consistent with what the Governor required of other enterprises, this firm closed the doors of its brick and mortar business to the public, opting to meet and supervise execution of documents via Zoom, or where clients preferred to meet live, with masks outdoors with safe social distancing and surfaces wiped, use of gloves, etc. The firm continues to adapt to the evolving situation, making these alternatives available and opening its doors only cautiously, mindful of the risks outlined in these Executive Orders and the preventative measures to minimize them.