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4/23/2020 | Articles & Alerts, Events & Seminars, News & Resources

On April 8, 2020 New Jersey Governor Murphy issued an Executive Order which restricts certain construction, manufacturing, and retail activity in New Jersey. The Order became effective on April 10 at 8:00 p.m. and will remain in effect until further notice. Penalties for violations of this Order may be imposed under, among other statutes, N.J.S.A. App. A:9-49 and -50. A copy of the Order may be found here.

As to construction activity in New Jersey not previously restricted, the Order bars all New Jersey construction activity except on Essential Construction Projects”. Essential Construction Projects are specifically defined in the Order. Generally, they include projects at health care and pharmaceutical facilities, schools, road, bridge and transportation projects, utility projects, and residential projects exclusively designated as affordable housing. Included in Essential Construction Projects are federal, state, and local government projects, projects supporting law enforcement and first responder units, single family or apartment projects which are occupied (construction crew limited to 5 or less), a residential unit for which a tenant or buyer has an agreement to occupy by a certain date, buildings housing the manufacturing or servicing of online retail businesses or essential retail businesses, data centers, and projects necessary for the delivery of essential social services. Also included in the definition of “Essential Construction” are projects where construction work is required to ensure the structural integrity of a building, abate hazards, remediate the site, or ensure that the site is appropriately protected and made healthy and safe during any suspension of a project.

As the Order defines many projects where construction activity is allowed, it should be carefully reviewed to determine if a specific project is allowed to continue, as well as the conditions imposed for continuing construction activity on those projects.

For those Essential Construction Projects where activity is permitted to continue, there are strict health and safety conditions imposed. They are summarized below:

The Order Requires that the Following Workplace Safety Policies must be employed on those Projects Allowed to Continue:

  • Non-essential visitors are prohibited from entering any worksite
  • Limit worksite meetings and trade crews to less than 10 in one place (single family residential crews are limited to 5 or less per project);
  • Wherever possible, all workers must maintain six feet of distance between them;
  • Where practicable, stagger crew start and stop times and breaks to limit the number of people who are coming in and out of the work area at the same time;
  • Limit the number of people who can access common areas (break rooms, restrooms, etc.) at one time;
  • Require workers & visitors to wear cloth face masks and gloves while on site unless doing so would cause a medical problem (medical documentation is not required);
  • Companies must provide face masks and gloves for all employees;
  • If a visitor or employee refuses to wear a mask or gloves and does not have a medical excuse, you must deny that person entry to the work site;
  • If the specific job requires more aggressive PPE (e.g., respirators) then comply with the stricter requirement;
  • Require infection control practices such as regular hand washing, coughing & sneezing etiquette, facial tissue use and disposal;
  • Limit sharing of tools, equipment and machinery & provide sanitizing wipes etc. when possible to wipe down touch surfaces of tools, equipment and machinery between uses;
  • Provide hand sanitizer and wipes to workers and encourage their regular use
  • Frequently sanitize high touch areas like restrooms, breakrooms, equipment and machinery.

Company Must have the Following COVID-19 Exposure Policies:

  • Separate and send home workers who appear to have COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Promptly notify all workers of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the work site while maintaining appropriate confidentiality as required by other laws;
  • Clean and disinfect the worksite per CDC guidelines when a worker at the site has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Follow all NJ Dept. of Health, CDC, and OSHA safety rules and guidelines (as updated) for COVID-19 safe work practices;

Questions on the interpretation and application of this NJ Executive Order can be addressed to:

Andrew B. Cohn, Esquire                                           


William D. Auxer, Esquire