Starting tonight at 8 p.m., restaurants that have remained open during the statewide lockdown will have to work within new guidelines established by Gov. Phil Murphy on Saturday when he signed Executive Order No. 125.
The order also institutes new rules and guidelines for NJ Transit as well as private transportation providers that do work with or on behalf of NJ Transit, all aimed at limiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and Covid-19, the disease it causes.
Restaurants and other food service providers will be required to limit occupancy to 10% of the state maximum capacity, and ensure 6 feet of distance between workers and customers except during the exchange of payment and good.
The executive order also establishes a formal set of hygiene protocols for staff to follow, including regular hand washing, frequent sanitization of high-touch areas, and arrangement of “contactless” pay, pickup and delivery options wherever feasible. Restaurants will be required to bear the cost of providing sanitary supplies to staff.
Restaurant workers will also be required to wear gloves and cloth face coverings while on the premises, and workers will be required to wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods. Businesses must also provide the face coverings and gloves at their own expense.
Customers age 2 and older that enter the food business will similarly be required to wear cloth face coverings. They will not be required to wear such covering when receiving a delivery or when picking up goods outside of the food business.
The order also imposes new mitigation requirements for NJ Transit and all private carriers to limit the spread of Covid-19.
NJ Transit workers may limit occupancy by passengers at 50% of the stated maximum vehicle capacity on all trains, buses and light rail lines in accordance with any guidelines instituted by NJ Transit operational divisions.
The order requires the arrangement of contactless pay options across all modes of transportation wherever feasible. Such policies shall, wherever possible, consider populations that do not have access to internet service.
Transit providers should arrange for back-door entry on buses wherever feasible, and take seats out of service near bus operators to allow for proper social distancing.
The order also require transnit workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings while on trains, buses and light rail vehicles except where doing so would inhibit an individual’s health or where the individual is under two years of age, and require workers to wear gloves when in contact with customers.
NJ Transit and the other transit service providers must provide, at their expense, such face coverings and gloves for its workers, to the extent that supplies are available.
The order contains hygiene protocol guidelines for transit companies similar to those imposed on restaurants. There are limited exclusions for each industry for people who cannot comply with the requirements for medical reasons, and also guidelines for how to handle workers who refuse to comply.
More information about the governor’s executive order is online here.