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New Jersey Begins To Reopen As Restrictions Eased For Retail And Construction


New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy just issued an executive order lifting some of the existing restrictions that were designated to limit person-to-person contact for the retail and construction sectors. Specifically, the order permits all non-essential construction projects to resume and non-essential retail businesses to reopen for curbside pickup, subject to certain conditions. The order – which also immediately permits certain car gatherings under strict rules – will go into effect at 6:00 A.M. on Monday, May 18. What do employers need to know?

Reopening Of Non-Essential Retail Businesses

The governor’s new order permits the reopening of non-essential retail businesses closed by his March 21 Order for curbside pick-ups. Brick-and-mortar store premises and indoor portions of shopping malls must remain closed. Businesses that reopen must adopt policies that include, at minimum, the following:

Nothing in the policy should prevent workers from wearing a surgical-grade mask or other more protective face covering if the individual is already in possession of such equipment, or if the business is otherwise required to provide such worker with more protective equipment due to the nature of the work involved.

Construction Projects

Governor Murphy’s new order also lifts the restrictions of his April 8, 2020 Order shutting down all non-essential construction projects. However, it mandates that “all businesses engaged in construction projects in the State, whether or not the projects were designated as essential,” need to adopt policies that include certain minimum requirements.  Four of the requirements are new or revised:

The other requirements remain the same:

Car Gatherings Permitted

The governor’s new order also partially amends his March 21 Order to immediately permit people to leave their homes for car gatherings so long as they adhere to a number of strict rules. Among these requirements, attendees must arrive in a vehicle and remain in that same vehicle during the entire gathering. The vehicle must remain entirely closed at all times, meaning that the windows, doors, sunroofs, and tops of the vehicle must be closed at all times, unless it is more than six feet from any other vehicle or individual.

The individuals organizing or maintaining the gathering who are not in closed vehicles must follow all applicable safety orders and must wear cloth face coverings or more protective face coverings in any settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. To the degree that a gathering requires pre-payment, or seeks donations of any kind, contactless options for pre-payment or donation, such as online or by telephone, must be offered wherever feasible.


Fisher Phillips will continue to monitor the rapidly developing COVID-19 situation and provide updates as appropriate. Make sure you are subscribed to Fisher Phillips’ Alert System to get the most up-to-date information. For further information, contact your Fisher Phillips attorney, any attorney in our New Jersey office, or any member of our Post-Pandemic Strategy Group Roster. You can also review our FP BEYOND THE CURVE: Post-Pandemic Back-To-Business FAQs For Employers and our FP Resource Center For Employers.

This Legal Alert provides an overview of a specific developing situation. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.

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