Many across the State are celebrating Governor Murphy’s Executive Order (EO) No. 242 lifting the mask and social distancing mandates for businesses and workplaces put in place by EO 192 at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, EO 242 states that individuals in “indoor public spaces” are no longer required to comply with these mandates regardless of their vaccination status. Unvaccinated individuals “should” continue to wear mask in indoor public spaces but are not required to do so. EO 242 includes limited exceptions for childcare centers, youth summer camps, schools , health facilities and other facilities.
However, for those business that do not qualify as “indoor public places” the mask and social distancing mandates imposed by EO 192 remain in effect. EO 242 expressly states that “indoor public spaces” do not include indoor workplaces that do not open their indoor spaces to the public for the purpose of selling goods, attending activities, or providing services. According to EO 242, individuals in these indoor workplaces that are not open to the general public must continue to wear face coverings, subject only to the previously recognized exceptions, i.e., when the employee is at distances workstations or offices, and continue six feet social distancing to the maximum extent possible.
While there has been significant media coverage about the Governor’s lifting of restrictions, very few outlets have reported on the continuing requirement to observe COVID-19 protocols in private workplaces. Intuitively, these private places may be safer than those workplaces that invite members of the general public into their premises, but until further relief comes from the Governor’s Office, these requirements remain in effect.